Waterloo teachers hoping to improve bus safety - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo teachers hoping to improve bus safety

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EVANSDALE (KWWL)-- In recent weeks, we've reported on multiple mishaps with Waterloo school buses, operated under a contract the district has with First Student Bus Company.  Last month, First Student talked with KWWL about how it's changing some policies to avoid future problems.  Now, Waterloo schools are also taking extra steps to keep students safe.

At the beginning of the 2010-11 school year, the Waterloo Community Schools adopted a new character education initiative called "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports."  And teachers are taking time to emphasize how good student behavior not only helps in the classroom, but also in keeping kids safe on the bus.

Making smart decisions in school, and on school buses, is just one thing teachers at Poyner Elementary School in Evansdale want to drive home with students.

"We talked about what it looks like and sounds like to be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, and caring on the bus, and that is to follow the bus driver's instructions at all times.  They also need to be sitting with their seat on the seat and their back on the back.  And they really need to be thinking about making smart choices," said Barbie Bass, Poyner lead teacher.

After some recent problems in the Waterloo district, First Student Bus Company says it's been making an effort to improve its service to keep or gain your trust.  But recently, there have been a few new problems with students doing their part to keep bus travel safe.  That's why teachers took a few minutes Monday to review good bus behavior practices.

"It's just for peace of mind for all the parents out there; that they know the kids are getting on the bus when they're supposed to be getting on the bus, they're having an enjoyable, safe ride with their friends, and the bus driver's in the best possible condition to get them to their destination," Bass said.

There's even a posted on the buses to remind students how their actions can affect the bus driver's ability to do his or her job.  So educators hope that the refresher course gets kids to cooperate, helping to make each trip they take on board a bus safe.

Students can even be rewarded with "points" for good behavior on the bus.  Teachers hope it's a little added incentive that will help prevent future problems.  But if problems start to happen on the buses again, teachers may hold additional refresher courses for students.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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