In the September 2012 issue of SBF
, I wrote an article titled “Positive Interactions Encourage Peaceful Bus Ride,” where I discussed programs and initiatives that officials said have helped to improve student behavior on the school bus.
In the article
, Antonio Mlynek, transportation supervisor for special education at Washington Elementary School District #6 in Phoenix, discussed his department’s coupon, bus points and “Coffee Talk” programs.
John Nunes, transportation director at Vail (Ariz.) School District, discussed the impact his operation’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program has had on bus riders.
Here, I’ll share with you additional information on student behavior management from these districts that didn’t make it into the article.
Misconduct reports and training resources
Mlynek said that when all other methods to address problematic student behavior have failed and it’s necessary to fill out a bus misconduct report, the form should be quick and easy to fill out. In addition, immediate communication in which the teacher receives the report as soon as the child departs the bus at school is more effective for changing behavior.
Previously, Washington Elementary School District #6 transportation staff was required to describe the incident in the misconduct form. Mlynek said that in most cases, it was not necessary and more opinions were written in the report than facts.
In the new special-education misconduct report form
that Mlynek created, the transportation staff only needs to place a checkmark in the appropriate box to indicate what undesirable behavior the student was exhibiting and to whom it was directed. Unless it absolutely needs an explanation or they check a box that requires one, no comments are documented.
“This form comes in a three-part carbonless format — one copy for the teacher, transportation staff member and the office file,” Mlynek said, and he added that his operation is revising the regular-education bus misconduct form to a similar format.
To increase their knowledge on dealing with troublesome behavior among students, all transportation staff at Washington Elementary School District #6 has been trained in nonviolent crisis intervention training through the Crisis Prevention Institute.
Mlynek said the program instructs on how to defuse challenging and disruptive behavior before an incident escalates to a crisis situation.
Bus drivers should be consistent, reasonable
Carolyn Reynolds of Vail School District said she uses the elements of the transportation department’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program in her training sessions with bus drivers.
She first emphasizes that a good and safe school bus driver does not have an attitude about the students he or she transports. To improve one’s attitude, she has several suggestions, including the following: get a good night’s sleep, try to leave personal problems at home, bring a sense of humor to the job, greet everyone with a smile, ask questions and take an active role in the department — be part of the team.
In dealing with students, Reynolds said that drivers must be leaders and set the stage for what they view as reasonable and unreasonable behavior for their bus.
“It is not reasonable to expect absolute silence on the bus. It is reasonable to allow talking,” she said. “Be consistent. Your state of mind changes from day to day, and your ability to tolerate noise may also change. Students won’t understand if what is acceptable one day is not acceptable the next.”
She noted, however, that drivers should avoid misusing their power as a last resort for control because it can lead to an aggressive response from the student. Nunes said in my article that drivers and aides are instructed to address issues with students by teaching an expectation of better behavior through positive questioning. Reynolds expressed a similar view, saying that drivers should make each situation a lesson for the students to learn from.
She also provided the following advice:
• Make students feel that they have a responsibility in ensuring group safety.
• Give commands that stimulate an action (i.e., “Do this” instead of “Don’t do that.”)
• Have a reason for what students are asked to do, and provide that reason.
Does your operation have effective strategies in place for managing student behavior on the bus? If so, I’d like to read about them. Post a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,
| posted on Monday, August 20, 2012 1:26 PM