Maine School Transportation Safety Conference focuses on safety-efficient operations

The Maine Department of Education sponsored the forty-fifth annual Maine School Transportation Safety Conference in collaboration with the Maine State Police and Maine Association for Pupil Transportation last month.

Over 360 school transportation directors, supervisors, automotive technicians, bus drivers, and computer technicians from all over Maine arrived at Sugarloaf Mountain for intensive professional development sessions presented by nationally known speakers, State agency experts, school district leaders, and technical experts.

The conference focused on transportation operations, technology, security, safety, special needs transportation, leadership, state bus driver and automotive technician competitions and a special lunch honoring Veterans in school transportation. The programs included:

  • Mike Martin, Executive Director, National Association for Pupil Transportation, introduced a national project, Data Driven Decision Making, demonstrating how data is a tool that improves the quality of transportation decisions.
  • Dr. Andrew Dolloff, Superintendent of Yarmouth School District, opening ceremony presentation, Safety and Students Is Our #1 Priority, described how we are all working together for student safety and learning.
  • Lt. Scott Ireland, Maine Information and Analysis Center, and Bruce Fitzgerald, Director, Maine Emergency Management Agency introduced the new federal S4 campaign: If You See Something, Say Something explaining how transportation professionals can work with law enforcement and Homeland Security officials to help protect our homeland.
  • Dr. Phillip Potenziano, Assistant Superintendent of RSU 21, Understanding Autism, explained how understanding a child and their disability can help create an environment on the school bus conducive to learning.
  • Brian Keefer, Senior Applications Specialist, Transfinder Corporation, interactive sessions included Transfinder one-on-one computer sessions and Managing Your District Data that presented a way for transportation directors to share key information and reports with school administrators.
  • The Epilepsy Foundation New England group presentation, Understanding Epilepsy and Seizures, identified types of seizures, treatment, first aid, and resources to help bus drivers respond.
  • Michael Dorn, Executive Director of Safe Havens International, closing keynote, Why We Trust You with the Lives of Our Children, engaged the audience in scenario analysis to understand ways for transportation teams to make decisions that help protect children.

trans director

Professional development for transportation staff is vital to student safety. Transportation has become more complex and is changing at a rapid pace. Operations, technology, laws, security, maintenance, routing, communication, and student care are essential knowledge requirements in the transportation industry to keep students safe. The statewide conference provides a unique venue for school transportation teams to collaborate, learn from each other, and explore the latest in safe and efficient transportation.

After a year of local and regional competitions, the Maine State School Bus Driver Safety Competition and Maine State Automotive Technician Competition are held on the last day of the conference to identify the top drivers and automotive technicians in Maine. This is an important industry event that promotes excellence in transportation safety and provides valuable hands-on learning experience in school bus safety. All winners will go on to represent Maine at the School Bus Driver International Safety Completion.

Maine State School Bus Driver Safety Competition (Conventional Bus Type) Winners:

  • Scott Martell from RSU 38
  • Randy Stevenson from RSU 3
  • Tammy Thoits from RSU 6

Maine State School Bus Driver Safety Competition (Transit Bus Type) Winners:

  • Fred Patterson from RSU 39
  • Bryan Roy from RSU 49
  • Brian Pelletier from RSU 39

Maine State School Bus Automotive Technician Competition Winners:

  • David Foster from RSU 54
  • Brian Pelletier from RSU 39
  • Randy Stevenson from RSU 3

For more information regarding student transportation in Maine  visit  www.maine.gov/doe/transportation/ or contact Transportation and Facilities Administrator Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov.

Security resources are available at www.maine.gov/doe/security/.

Additional school transportation conference information is available at the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation website at www.maptme.org/.

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