Classroom Training - Attendants
School Bus Attendants are an important part of our transportation team. They play many roles on our buses; they are required on Head Start routes, they can be a part of a special needs student’s IEP, or be an assistant with student management issues. To be effective, an attendant needs many skills to be a successful partner with the school bus driver. This lesson will discuss Monitor Roles and Responsibilities, Emergency Preparations, Student Load and Unload, Children with Special Needs, and Student Management to use with federal, state and your local school district policies and procedures to help develop a training program for the monitors in your district. It will be important to clearly define what the responsibilities of the bus driver and monitor are and that teamwork is essential on the bus.
Roles and Responsibilities:
It is important in any training to clearly define what the expectations of the job are. When we develop the training program for Bus Attendants, the need of attendants to have much of the same knowledge that the school bus driver has to perform their tasks safely is emphasized.
Four Key Monitor Responsibilities: The following are the four key responsibilities of Bus Attendants:
Bus Driver and Monitor Team Work
• Treat each other with courtesy and respect.
• Discuss differences of opinion privately.
• Never gossip.
• Don’t ask for personal favors or special treatment.
• Communicate to set expectations.
• Safety first.
Physical Demands of the Job
• Stamina and ability needed to go up and down the bus steps
• Manual dexterity to open the passenger door or emergency exit
• Physical strength to assist disabled students with seating, wheelchairs, or help evacuate the bus in an emergency
• Good vision and hearing necessary to escort students on or off the bus in traffic
• An ability to resist illnesses
• Protect yourself from injury when lifting by having good footing, lift with your legs and don’t twist.
Monitor’s Roles in Pre-trip/Post-trip and Child-check Inspections
• Monitors may assist drivers during pre-trip by checking lights or emergency buzzers, but the bus driver is ultimately responsible for inspection.
• Monitor should never sit in the driver’s seat.
• Both the driver and monitor should be responsible for checking the bus for any students at the end of each run.
Just as the school bus driver needs to know what to do in an emergency, the monitor needs to be able to handle an emergency if the bus driver is injured. Teamwork in an emergency situation will help everyone stay calm and secure.
Types of Emergencies
• Electrical lines on the bus
• Disabled driver
Know your Bus
• How to stop and secure the bus
• Operation of the radio
• Activating the 4-way flashers
• Setting out the triangle reflector
• Using the seatbelt cutter
• Using the emergency windows and roof hatches
• Know where the first aid kit, body fluid kit, and fire extinguisher is and how to use them.
Evacuation Procedures and Bus Safety Drills
• Decide when to evacuate
• Determine the best exit
• Sit and slide
• Accounting for the students
• Create an evacuation plan with the driver
• Actual bus safety drills are held on school grounds two times a year
• Wear protective gloves when dealing with any body fluids
• Wash hands with soap and water after any exposure.
Quick response to a Health Emergency
• Severe allergic reactions
• Specific needs of students your bus
• Know when to call 999
Student Boarding and De-boarding
Loading and unloading is the most dangerous time for the student because of the many distractions and hazards. Knowing proper procedures and assisting the bus driver to eliminate some of the distractions will help keep our students safe.
Importance of Loading and Unloading Safely
• Establish safe stops
• Reinforce safe loading and unloading rules with the students.
• Loading and Unloading Procedures for Ambulatory Children
• Wait at the bus stop safely
• Get off the bus and cross the street
• Holding hands of young students
• Double check for students in the danger zone.
Wheelchair Lift Use and Securement
• Learn how to use the wheelchair lift on the bus.
• Learn how to secure wheelchairs properly.
Working Together as a Team
• Communicate to agree on responsibilities.
• Secure or release seatbelts or safety vests.
• Communicate with teacher about student problems or successes.
• Giving directions to the students explaining when to get out of their seats.
Children with Special Needs
Providing the monitor with instruction on special needs will help these students be secure and successful on the school bus. As the monitor is assigned to a student or bus, she can have more training for dealing with SEN student(s). A monitor is required to possess the following:
• Privacy of student’s disabilities
• Privacy of student behavior
• Learn how to communicate with each student’s disability
• Be patient
• Respect a student’s privacy and feelings when securing a seat belt
• Allow the student to do as much as possible
• Use appropriate touching
Child Safety Restraint Systems
• Car seats
• Star seats
• Integrated seats
• Safety vests
• Lap belts
Student management is an important tool for the bus attendant to have. They are able to interact with students closely and can be a significant part in stopping problems before they escalate.
• Preventing behavior problems is better than reacting to them
• Positive approach works best with children.
Negative and Positive Behaviors
• Being confrontational
• Being sarcastic
• Confident and effective
• Creates a positive environment
• Takes pride in personal appearance
• Keeps a clean bus
• Does not take students comments personally.
Managing Student Behaviour
• Learn names
• Greet in the morning and say goodbye in the afternoon
• Be conscious of body language and eye contact
• Give positive feedback
• Be polite
• Give mature commands and eliminate “I” and “Me”
• Explain the consequences of misbehaving
• Give warnings and keep documentation
• Match the consequence to the behavior and be consistent
• Give positive rewards for good behavior
• Apply effective discipline
• Make initial contact by noticing.
• Ask open ended questions.
• Use quick, unthreatening interventions.
• Interrupt behavior that is just beginning.
• Control group behavior.
• Broken record method of halting arguments.
Preventing Bullying, Harassment and Violence in the Bus
• Make your bus a “Bully Free Zone”
• Verbal harassment
• Visual harassment
• Physical harassment
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and/or Neglect
• Know the signs of potential child abuse or neglect
• Document and report it to the appropriate school personnel
• Follow your district procedure.
Developing Positive Relations with Parents and Staff
• Introduce yourself to parents
• Be friendly and professional
• Share good news about their children, not just bad
• Avoid losing your temper. e. Establish a rapport with teachers
• Work as a team to develop tips for dealing with troublesome students
• Notify teachers early to prevent minor problems from becoming serious
• Document problems and consequences.
• Document to communicate with the school continued misbehavior
• Write up exactly what the student said or did
• Avoid write ups for small infractions
• Be consistent. Follow the procedures of Gulf Pinnacle Transport.
The school bus attendant is an important partner with the school bus driver. An effective training program will give the attendant the skills to feel confident in that role. Gulf Pinnacle Transport further customizes the training program as per the needs of the respective schools we serve and build a customized Bus Attendant Training Program.