“Back to Back, Seat to Seat, Feet to Floor”

Last week, I sat in a parent meeting with our transportation coordinator Beth Wyckoff. We were having a great conversation with a parent about our transportation practices. Beth was sharing all the pieces that go into her role and how her department keeps our district rolling.:-) Then she said something that I did not anticipate, “Back to Back, Seat to Seat, Feet to Floor”. Getting caught off guard is not something I like, but I had to hit the pause button and ask, “What did you just say?” Beth responded, “This is our safety motto – ‘Back to Back, Seat to Seat, Feet to Floor’.” She then leaned into the conversation enthusiastically to share how our students learn about safety on our buses. As an employee, community member, and parent I could not have been more proud. 

This week is National Bus Safety Week. We are fortunate in Fairbanks Local Schools to have a transportation team that is committed, caring, and compassionate. Everyday our transportation team goes through routines to ensure the safety and well-being of our students. Beth,our district mechanic, Andy James, and our driver team, prepare our 21-vehicle fleet for daily trips. The safety checks, maintenance, and radio checks are all steps taken to mitigate issues that may arise on the road. Every year they drive 250,000 miles for school, athletic, and field trips. Our driving team members are invested in Fairbanks. Many are alumni, parents of current students, or parents of alumni. Each person takes the highest level of responsibility for their job.  It is amazing to see the work they do everyday across our district!

While the work our transportation team puts into planning and preparing is critical, it is done with one purpose in mind – serving our kids. As our students start their school day, our drivers are usually the first adult our students see in the morning and the last adult they see in the afternoon. This privilege and responsibility is not lost on our drivers. They see when students are having successes and challenges. Over the years they build strong relationships, see their students grow, and become a trusted adult in the lives of our kids. They put in their time and energy because they care deeply for their kids. For this, we are very thankful. 

This week is National School Bus Safety Week. We can all do a few things to support their work this week. Take some time and thank our drivers. If you see them in front of your home, let them know you appreciate all they do. While on the road, we can make sure we always stop when we see the school bus’s flashing lights and stop sign. Finally at home, we can rehearse our school bus safety motto, “Back to Back, Seat to Seat, Feet to Floor.” 

  • Adham Schirg, Fairbanks Local Schools, Superintendent

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