by JACQUIE FASE Director of Transportation Rockford Public Schools “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” —Dr. Seuss As the scholarly Dr. Seuss once said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!” I see this mantra embedded in the “Rockford Ram Culture” through its inspiring teachers, motivational administrators, and through all the great staff members, parents, coaches and volunteers. The transportation department believes in obtaining this level of positivity and enthusiasm as well, because each department is an essential aspect of the greater Rockford Public Schools (RPS) family. As we prepare for yet another school year, I can’t help but reflect on how quickly technology changes to enable us to share correct information. Over the years we have traversed various avenues on our quest to inform district families of their bussing schedules. The one roadblock we encounter each year is publishing information that will remain current beyond the printing deadline. This year the student population will be able to access their bussing information through the RPS family access website. We will not be sending out the yearly transportation postcards. Through trial and error we have learned that from the time these cards are printed and sent, to the first day of school, our routes will change daily. These changes could be very minor to a complete rewrite of entire routes. The changes might be due to students moving in or out of a neighborhood (or district) to simply a change in the bus number. Unexpected changes can cause major stress among parents and district staff on the first day of school. By logging into your family access account and viewing the live data, you will be well informed of any change to your students’ bussing schedule. As always, if there is ever a question or concern, I would encourage you to call the transportation department at (616) 863-6328. We are currently in the process of updating the routes for the 2012-2013 school year. All students are routed to and from their home address unless we have information concerning daycare or non-custodial parent […]
SCHOOL BEAT New school year brings bussing changes by JACQUIE FASE Director of Transportation Rockford Public Schools It’s been quite a busy summer down at the bus garage. I was given the challenge to think “outside the bus” to contain rising costs and to keep our level of service acceptable. As a perpetual positive thinker, I did not back down from the challenge. Change is inevitable if we want to succeed. I learned that fact years ago as a seamstress. Each bride who contracted a custom gown had her own idea; I had to make changes to fit the dream, but the end result was always the same: Provide a service, stay within the budget and keep the customer happy. Faith Baldwin said, “Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.” As time goes on and expectations change, so must we: With the Early Childhood Center now at Meadow Ridge, we will be providing shuttles to all the developmental kindergarten (DK) students. The shuttle buses will come from each elementary school and back again in the afternoon. We will be providing color-coded tags for each group of students to help save confusion. These tags will correspond to the bus they ride. The ECSE students will have their own routes. It is our goal to keep as much consistency as possible for these tiny tots. They, too, will have their own color-coded tag. There will be additional shuttles for students attending special education programs within our district as we mainstream these students onto general education transportation. We will also be bringing back midday kindergarten routes every Friday. With all these additional transportation expectations, we quickly came to realize that there is limited time to complete these routes. To make all of these changes work with in the time frame allowed, we will be requiring many secondary (6-12) students to walk to a common bus stop. This will allow our many routes to remain on time throughout their morning schedule. Woodrow Wilson said, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” I understand that many parents will have concerns about common bus stops. It is certainly not our goal to upset the apple cart. However, if we can work together, we can continue to serve all […]
SCHOOL BEAT Transportation changes on horizon by JACQUIE FASE Director of Transportation Rockford Public Schools Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction,” and as a transportation department we are keen on good directions. As you’ve read, Governor Synder and the state of Michigan are significantly limiting educational budgets for the year of 2011-2012. Because of these budget cuts, the transportation department is also formulating ways to save funds despite the increasing fuel prices and student population. While many school districts are considering shutting down school bus transportation for the general student population, we have done extensive brainstorming and multi-cultural research on other various ways to get students to school. Some ideas include utilizing sled dogs, gondolas, rickshaws, camel caravans, and, of course, moon boots. Unfortunately, the infrastructure required of these projects, as well as the general safety and efficiency of these ideas, has placed such modes of transportation on the back burner and we’ve decided to stick with traditional yellow school busses for now. Changes in transportation require flexibility and understanding in order to service all students effectively. For example, next year Rockford will have an Early Childhood Center where all the developmental kindergarten classes and ECSE students will be at Meadowridge Elementary School, requiring additional transportation services. This program is a positive addition to Rockford education, but will also impact how transportation is run for all other grade levels. As a Rockford community, it is essential for everyone to be flexible and understanding, so that we can provide students with the best education and a safe ride to school during hard economic times. As we break for summer, please submit any daycare or address change information to your school’s office as soon as possible, so that we may better prepare for next year. More bussing information will be sent in August. If you have any questions regarding your child’s transportation, please call the bus garage at (616) 863-6328.
Look for the silver lining by JACQUIE FASE Director of Transportation “How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” —Dr. Seuss. Generally speaking, I’m a fairly positive person. I look for the silver lining, sport my rose-colored glasses, and believe that my coffee mug is always half full. As the scholarly Dr. Seuss once said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!” I see this mantra embedded in the “Rockford Ram Culture” through its inspiring teachers, motivational administrators, and through all the great staff members, parents, coaches and volunteers. The transportation department believes in obtaining this level of positivity and enthusiasm as well, because each department is an essential aspect of the greater Rockford Public Schools (RPS) family. We believe that character-building goes far beyond the classroom, so just as the teachers uphold an expectation of behavior and safety, the bus drivers do as well. As the leaves fall and the bus garage prepares for yet another Michigan winter, I can’t help but reflect on how quickly the past 15 years have gone. Just like you, I have climbed several mountains with my children, whether it be the frantic, last-minute poster board presentation, the issue of affordable prom dresses and cool jeans, or the bully on the bus. However, I was never alone with my goal to instill positive character traits within my kids, and I’m thankful for the support of the RPS community. As a member of the transportation department, I want to encourage you to seize the moment, “climb the mountain,” seek out support, and get involved as well. For over a decade I have been a member of the extended Rockford High School family. In 2011 my youngest son will graduate, and my years as a band, choir, theatre, swim, and polo parent will come to an end. I’m not sure what I’ll do with all my spare time! Who will I make cupcakes for? Will I miss the countless hours spent behind the concession stand? Will I not have the opportunity to buy yet another Rams sweatshirt or sell […]