BLAIRSVILLE, GA – Board of Education Director reports presented several changes in daily transportation operations with new directors at the helm.
Director of Transportation Kody Owenby, who is just two weeks into the role, along with Director Robby Roxbury, presented all the recent updates to the bus barn and initiatives for the future.
Drivers expressed ideas to improve their day to day jobs, and Owenby and Roxbury are working to implement those changes. New mailboxes in the breakroom, built by the maintenance department.
Technology and Transportation are developing service and maintenance tracking software for the bus fleet to keep all the buses on schedule and serviced accurately. Additionally, technology is assisting with updating Powerschool information to give to drivers monthly.
“They also set up a big screen in our breakroom, and we’ve got Google Calendars, and we’re trying to get all our trips on there to help remind all the drivers,” explained Owenby.
Board member Jana Akins asked, “All those new computers in the breakroom and all that stuff is that new stuff?”
Owenby and Superintendent confirmed that yes, the changes have occurred within the last two weeks, since the transition of Department Directors after Stanley Garrett’s retirement in early September.
Transportations also starting monthly safety meetings with drivers.
Roxbury’s been working with teachers, principals, and drivers to cut down on discipline issues on the bus.
“The bus is an extension of the classroom…We want them to be just as good in the bus as they are in the classroom,” said Owenby.
“I’m very excited that we’re partnering with transportation,” said Special Education Director Tiffany Setzer, “To work with drivers to provide professional learning about students with disabilities and behavior management, what some characteristics of different disabilities look like.”
The goal is to give bus drivers the tools to help students on their buses cope in that environment and understand how to make them feel comfortable.
Nutrition Director Cindy Jones expressed trouble finding substitute cafeteria workers for when her staff needed to miss a day. She plans to continue interviewing candidates. She’s also introducing new food items to the cafeteria to keep meals interesting for students and teachers.
Curriculum Director Lisa Vaughn told the board teachers received Second Step program training and have started the emotional sensitivity units with their students. All the teachers enjoy the material and feel it will be beneficial to them and their students. The curriculum calendar for the year is posted online and viewable to parents under the “For Parents” tab of the website.
Special Education Director Tiffany Setzer stated that Individualized Education Program (IEP) numbers are slightly down with 439 IEP students. 13 students are currently under evaluation. The 504 students are also down with 166 students in the program.
Technology Director Bill Driskell said his department has started to slow down, now that everyone has settled in for the year. He did note that they are working out a few kinks with the new security doors that occur during poor weather. He is also helping to prepare the FTE information that is due the first week of October.
UCS Police Chief Chad Deyton discussed two upcoming grants that he is hopeful about – SADD and Homeland Security. However, he won’t know until the next few weeks if UCS receives these grants. He also talked about taking two students to participate in Ford Driving Skills in Atlanta, where SADD officials taught them how to be safe on the road.
Custodial Director Mark Hughes started preparing for flu season with flu guns that mist a specialized anti-bacterial/anti-viral compound that attaches to the surface to kill germs. He’s telling his staff to focus on areas in schools already experiencing sickness.
Facilities Director Chris Crow stated he is reviewing entitlement funding to determine how to best use that money and preparing for the new field house project.