In a school district with an enrollment of over 105,000, transporting students to and from school can be an overwhelming task. And yet, the Northside ISD Transportation Department does just that each and every day. NISD relies on drivers and assistants to make sure students get to school safely and on time. Their work and efforts are being honored throughout the District for Bus Driver and Assistant Appreciation Week, April 3-7.
Besides driving buses and navigating traffic and road construction, drivers must also learn bus evacuation procedures, basic maintenance, monitor students’ behavior and discipline if necessary. The District’s fleet of almost 900 buses is equipped with video cameras to serve as an extra set of eyes. And, drivers are supported by a corps of mechanics, routers, and office workers.
The District’s Transportation Department is committed to the safety of the children, and to the community at large. In fact, Northside ISD was the first school district to begin buying propane-fueled buses to reduce the amount of pollutants and emissions released into the air. As a testament to the District’s efforts, the national nonprofit Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) recently recognized Northside ISD for leading the path to eco-friendly propane fueled buses at a ceremony with special guest, former first daughter and PERC spokesperson Jenna Bush Hager.
Many of Northside ISD’s bus drivers say they were drawn to the job by the part-time hours and health insurance benefits, and they’ve stuck with it because they discover how much they like working with children. Many drivers are retired from the military or previous careers. While rewarding, driving a school bus is not for everyone. The morning shift starts at 6 a.m. and lasts until 9 a.m. and the afternoon shift is 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Some drivers pick up a mid-day shift to take home pre-k students or take students on field trips. Many use the time in between to run errands, work another job, or socialize with fellow drivers.
Individuals interested in becoming a Northside ISD bus driver or assistant are encouraged to contact Transportation Hiring Specialist Robin Flynn at (210) 397-0878.
“They are the heart and soul of the Transportation Department,” Director of Transportation Rafael Salazar said of the District’s drivers and assistants. “There are one thousand of them and we need every single one of them every single day.” Northside ISD recognizes these special staff members for going above and beyond each and every day.