Newport-Mesa Unified School District won Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) for the “Bus in the Classroom” program that utilizes transportation employees to teach school bus safety and life skills to students with disabilities.
The program was designed by Newport-Mesa Director of Transportation Pete Meslin, alongside the district’s special education administrators, teachers and nationally recognized experts in lesson design. Meslin presented the program at the TSD Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this year as well as at the most recent STN EXPO in Reno, Nevada. Meslin is also expected to present Bus in the Classroom at the 2017 TSD Conference in March in Frisco, Texas.
Newport Mesa will receive Golden Bell Awards for Bus in the Classroom as well as for the district’s psychological support services and an education “data dashboard” program on Dec. 3 during the CSBA Annual Conference in San Francisco.
“Winning this CSBA award is a wonderful honor and it is very gratifying. It is also validating of all the hard work our Bus in the Classroom team has put into innovatively developing a curriculum to both improve student safety and help develop independence skills for students with special needs,” Meslin told School Transportation News.
Actual school bus professionals teach the program to the students in conjunction with the classroom teacher. Meslin said this enables student transporters to become true educational partners in the district. Lessons include how to buckle seat belts, approach the bus at the stop, board the bus, ask for help and more.
“If we don’t start learning to act like educators, we are destined to continue to be treated as non-educators,” Meslin wrote last October in School Transportation News. “That means we won’t be paid comparable to other services. We’ll continue to be denied access to necessary student information and, most importantly, we’ll continue to have to fight to do the great things for students we all know we’re capable of.”