During our recent transportation client panel discussing how districts are adapting to the COVID-19 school closures, many of you told us your ears perked up at the mention of games, quizzes, and e-training our panelists are distributing to their staff and drivers. We followed up with our three panelists’ offices to hear more about how they are keeping their teams updated and morale high.
Adam Mayo, director of transportation for Maine School Administrative District No. 75, recommends using a free virtual meeting service like Google Meet to hold town hall-style meetings with larger groups, and he finds that once per week has been a good cadence for his team. This voluntary meeting is fairly informal and allows the team to share how they are doing, troubleshoot with one another to solve problems as they arise, and commiserate about eating cereal for the third night in a row. He encourages his team to show off their pets, children, and quarantine partners on camera so everyone can have a few extra social interactions in their day.
Alfred Karam, director of transportation for Shenendehowa Central School District is using quizzes from safeschools.com to test his drivers and staff and keep them engaged. He tells us, “I send out a quiz every other day, followed by answers to the previous quiz”. Melodie Monica, transportation routing specialist for Sarasota Springs City School District, also told us that her office is using these quizzes.
The MSAD 75 transportation department has used Google Forms to create their own testing and quizzes based on Maine Association of Pupil Transportation trainings to keep the staff and drivers up to speed on important information. Adam told us that this solution has worked well to keep his team sharp while they socially distance, and he recommends other districts design their own trainings based on their state’s individual requirements.
Melodie agrees with this approach, noting, “Our training team can focus on areas that need overall assistance, specifically for our district”. She shared that her district’s drivers posed with homemade signs saying how much they miss their students, and her office turned the photos into a video collage for students and parents to view on the district’s website. The other panelists agree that these types of outreach projects can raise spirits and help the community feel more connected.
Finally, as a fun distraction, Adam has been sharing a free online version of a Fisher Price video game with his team. Players in the quick game play the role of bus drivers who must pick up several children on a route and drop them off at school. His drivers time themselves and race to complete the course fastest.
We have been inspired by our clients’ commitment to finding creative solutions to address the new challenges they face during district closures. If your department has found a creative way to deliver training, stay in touch, or share some fun, please be sure to let us know.
Tyler is collecting resources including free and online training links on our COVID-19 resources page for student transportation. Learn more by clicking here.