Westerville (Ohio) City School District bus drivers performed a school bus safety musical for 3,700 of the district’s students in kindergarten through third grade.
Pupil transportation officials have often said to me that they’re not just in the business of getting students to and from school safely — a big part of their job also entails educating passengers on bus safety procedures.
One of the things I like about this industry is that many people come together for this effort, sharing ideas and learning from one another.
Such is the case with Westerville (Ohio) City School District, whose transportation employees recently created and performed in a musical to teach students in kindergarten through third grade the rules for waiting for the bus and riding the bus safely.
Chris Winesette, student safety and discipline coordinator for Westerville City School District, tells me that he got the idea from a school district in Washington state
, and that his team volunteered many hours outside of their jobs to take their production “to the next level.”
In Westerville City School District’s musical, one of the main characters, Ms. Debbie, teaches a student, Lee, how to wait for and ride the bus correctly through songs and raps. (All characters are played by bus drivers for the district.)
“I went into a studio and got the beats to do the songs, and we recorded them in a studio,” Winesette explains. “They’re a way to remember the ‘three Bs on the bus’ — bottom on the bottom of the seat, back on the back of the seat and your backpack on your lap.”
(To view a video of the drivers performing "The 3 Bs," click here
The other song in the musical is called “Waiting for the Bus.” In this song, the lyrics cover such topics as the importance of getting to the bus stop early, waiting a safe distance from the bus as it arrives and then sitting down for the entire bus ride.
One of the district’s drivers volunteered 120 hours of his time to create the sets for the musical, which included the front of a school bus with working amber and red lights, a stop arm and a horn, as well as a cutaway that looks like the inside of a school bus, complete with seats.
Winesette says the driver met with staff at a local performing arts college to make sure he was building the sets correctly, and to get their input on the design.
In addition to writing the script for the musical and the lyrics for the songs, Winesette created a logo, and he says T-shirts emblazoned with the logo were donated to the department. “The only thing that cost us money was the set design — I spent about $300,” he adds.
The drivers did seven performances for 3,700 kindergarten through third-grade students. The raps were pre-recorded to make the performances consistent, Winesette says.
In addition, a DVD of the performance is being made to distribute to students who weren’t able to attend the live performances, and a CD is in the works that will be distributed to the bus drivers to play for students throughout the year.
Winesette says that the live performances were very successful and a “blast to do.” In planning the musical for performances in the future, he says he would like to incorporate more production value because kids respond to multi-sensory experiences.
“Our goal next year is to make some more music videos and make more acronyms that cover all 10 of the bus rules,” he says.
Winesette also notes that working on the musical has had benefits outside of teaching students in a fun way about bus safety.
“I’m really proud of the work that the drivers put into it, and we’re excited about the camaraderie that it’s created in the department,” he says. “It’s a good team-building exercise.”
Has your operation implemented any innovative practices to teach students about bus safety? 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 Friday, October 05, 2012 3:27 PM