Transportation Safety

BE SAFE                BE RESPECTFUL               BE RESPONSIBLE

The following recommendations were compiled by CMS-PBIS Coaches to assist schools with prevention and intervention of problem student behavior on school buses.

Laying the Foundation

To prevent problem student behavior on buses, behavior expectations and rules are taught to all students within the first week of school each year. Teaching may look different at the elementary versus secondary level.  Teaching should include instruction, modeling, practice, reminders, and providing feedback.

  • Teach, not tell, the standard bus behavior expectations and rules at the beginning of the school year with periodic reminders throughout the year. 
  • Implement a system for orienting all drivers to your bus behavior plan.
  • Use an actual bus to role-play appropriate behavior when possible.
  • Conduct practice sessions during an open house and PTA meetings to give parents a live idea of expected student behavior.
  • Assign a teacher to each bus to greet and remind students of positive expectations on a daily basis.
  • Share aggregated bus data with staff to develop solutions when problems occur.
  • Show student-developed videos on closed circuit to model correct bus behavior.

Bus Driver Involvement

It is essential to involve bus drivers in the effective implementation of a school-wide bus behavior plan. Issues can occur in the school transfer to the bus and vice versa. The more information that drivers have about the school plan, the more prepared they are to communicate and support positive student behavior.

  • Communicate your documented bus behavior system to your Area Transportation Supervisor.
  • Orientate drivers to your expectations and reinforcement system prior to student arrival at the beginning of the year. 
  • Review drivers’ seating charts to avoid situations where students may have known conflicts.
  • Give drivers prompt feedback when a bus referral is written.
  • Follow the outlined procedure for sending copies of bus referral to Area Transportation Supervisor.

Reinforcement System

Acknowledging correct behavior is an essential component of a positive transportation experience. Punishment alone will not yield long-term behavioral change. Encouragement of students as well as adults is positive support for all.

  • Include recognition of positive bus behavior in your school-wide incentive plan.
  • Be specific with students as to why they are receiving recognition.
  • Survey drivers regularly to determine the effectiveness of the student recognition system.
  • Use visuals such as bulletin boards to give students feedback as to positive progress. “Bus of the Week”, “Race to the Finish Line” are examples of group rewards.
  • Develop a driver appreciation plan such as “Driver of the Month” or periodic thank you notes from students.

Targeted Group Interventions

Statistically, even with a sound bus behavior system in place, some students may still have difficulties with chronic bus behavior. Repeated behavioral issues by students are evidence of a learning error or something more intense. When patterns of bus behavior occur, it is essential to use positive interventions and strategies to support student growth.

  • For elementary schools, create a bus safety club to teach and practice safe bus behavior.
  • Communicate with parents regularly about their child’s behavior – remembering to celebrate successes.
  • Monitor databases regularly to identify buses or students with patterns of problem behavior.
  • Utilize behavioral data, driver input, and student input to determine the motivation for the problem behavior.
  • Utilize support strategies such as social skills instruction, behavior contracts, self-management, and functional behavior assessments to address chronic problem behavior.
  • Get parents involved by developing a home/school contract or individual bus behavior plan for intense behavior.

BE SAFE                BE RESPECTFUL               BE RESPONSIBLE

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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