District Administration October 2017 - 27

SPONSORED CASE STUDY

Better behavior on school buses
has positive carryover effect
First Student and Wisconsin school district collaborate to
improve student behavior and reduce discipline referrals

I

mproving student behavior and reducing discipline
referrals is important to Andrew Place, the principal
of Riverview Elementary School in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Place estimates that for every student behavioral incident
and discipline referral he investigates, 15 minutes of
instructional time is lost.
Place says school buses represent the third-highest
location for behavior incidents and discipline referrals in
the Wausau School District. During the 2013-14 school
year, the district and its school bus provider, First Student,
began working to implement a PBIS training program. First
Student brought in a regional PBIS instructor to train its
drivers and staff. Wausau would provide ongoing training
at future safety meetings, and First Student helped Wausau
form a transportation committee made up of school
administrators, PBIS building coaches and teachers, First
Student's location manager, a driver, and a bus monitor
to foster better communication. Both Wausau and First
Student quickly noticed the similarities between First
Student's positive behavior reinforcement program, "I Care,
We Care" and PBIS.
The transportation committee also came up with a vision
statement, which makes "a commitment to excellence
in safely transporting students, encouraging respectful
and caring behavior while supporting District Shared Key
Interests." It also encourages "collaboration between First
Student and Wausau in order to proactively communicate
with mutual respect." Place says communication is better
because "there's a direct line of communication" between
all parties through the committee meetings.
"Drivers really started buying into it, and they started
sharing stories about how things were going much more
positively on the bus," Place says. "It almost seemed like it
was contagious."
High-tech tools
First Student also offers FirstACTS (Active Conduct Tracking
System), a web-based communication tool that helps
manage the process of tracking student conduct on school
buses. FirstACTS emails notifications and reminders to
parents, school staff and First Student officials, and tracks
student histories and resolutions. The program closes the

"The bottom line is that an improved
bus ride experience equals more
instructional time for students."
loop on any incident, and the analysis pulled from the
program can be used constructively to inform policies and
procedures that help prevent future incidents on-board
and in the classroom.
Measurable changes
The return on investment is encouraging and quantifiable.
Place says the number of behavior incidents on district
buses has been decreasing, from 860 during the 201516 school year down to 584 in 2016-17, a reduction of 32
percent. At his elementary school, Place says the number of
behavior incidents dropped from 31 in December 2015 to
just one in December 2016, a positive carryover effect from
improving school bus behavior.
"The bottom line is that an improved bus ride experience
equals more instructional time for students," Place says.

For more information, visit firststudentinc.com
View, comment, share this story online at DAmag.me/FirstStudent


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration October 2017

District Administration October 2017 - Cover1
District Administration October 2017 - Cover2
District Administration October 2017 - 1
District Administration October 2017 - 2
District Administration October 2017 - 3
District Administration October 2017 - 4
District Administration October 2017 - 5
District Administration October 2017 - 6
District Administration October 2017 - 7
District Administration October 2017 - 8
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District Administration October 2017 - Cover3
District Administration October 2017 - Cover4
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