Did you know that school bus drivers are required to attend a two-hour refresher class each year to maintain their license? The content in the course is different each school year. Topics for these courses include driver safety, school code, traffic safety regulations, professional communication, and student management.
Since March 13, several of these refresher classes were canceled throughout the state as a result of the shelter in place order from Governor Pritzker. When the pandemic prevented Regional Offices of Education from providing in person classes for the annual refresher courses, the Kane ROE kicked into high gear to work with the Illinois State Board of Education to create an online course that could be taken by any school bus driver in the state. This required creating the online content, developing a registration system, training other ROE’s on the system, and countless hours of discussions with ISBE to ensure that the course met their standards.
Over the last two weeks, the Kane County Regional Office of Education has been hosting statewide school bus driver refresher courses online. According to Regional Superintendent Pat Dal Santo, “over 2000 bus drivers have taken the online course from May 12-May 21”. She continued, “I feel strongly that we need to be prepared for students to be attending school in person and one way to do that is to have our school bus drivers trained and ready”. The Kane ROE anticipates that nearly 4000 additional drivers will need to take the course before June 30, 2020.
The collaborative project has been a focus of several Kane ROE staff members including Dal Santo, Deanna Oliver, Phil Morris, Katie Algrim, CJ Yoder, Eleanor Morris and Blanca Souders.