High Point, NC (February 14, 2014) – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will speak to a group of elementary school students at the American School Bus Council’s Love the Bus Main Event at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, NC on February 21.
Love the Bus, which began in 2007 and is held every February, is a month-long celebration of the importance of the iconic yellow school bus, and includes events at schools, school bus yards, and other locations around the country. It raises awareness and appreciation for the experience of riding the bus to and from school, as well as the diverse set of individuals whose daily efforts make the yellow school bus what it is today. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have shown that school buses are the safest mode of transportation to and from school for children, and that every school bus takes approximately 36 cars off the road every morning and afternoon.
At the Main Event, first, fourth, and fifth graders, along with a group of special needs students who use the school bus will hear from Secretary Foxx, Congressman Howard Coble, Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of School Improvement Grants Carlas McCauley, Guilford County Superintendent Mo Green, and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims about being respectful to their bus drivers and appreciating the safety, environmental, congestion mitigation, and access-to-education benefits of the yellow school bus.
Secretary Foxx will share the stage with Oak Hill first graders who will perform a fun interpretation of the classic children’s book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, and a group of fourth and fifth graders will perform a song on their recorders.
Oak Hill is an ideal host for Love the Bus, not just because the school’s students are heavily reliant upon the school bus for their transportation to and from school. In addition, Oak Hill is a tremendous success story having transformed itself from consistently rating as one of the lowest performing Title 1 elementary schools in North Carolina to earning the honor of being the highest performing Title 1 school in North Carolina for the 2012-2013 school year. Oak Hill’s turnaround was bolstered by a 2010 Federal School Improvement Grant, as well as a concerted effort from the community (including Thomas Built Buses, which is also headquartered in High Point) to engage the hearts and minds of a student body where 99% of students are eligible for a free or reduced lunch, a large percentage of students come from single-parent homes, more than 50% of students speak a language other than English (18 languages represented), and the enrollment area is classified as a food desert.
The school bus has been woven into lesson plans at Oak Hill throughout February, and the school’s auditorium will feature bright yellow school bus murals created by students in their art classes. Students, teachers, and administrators around the country have access to free downloads of a variety of Love the Bus materials at LoveTheBus.com, including an educator’s toolkit for crafting bus-specific lesson plans, Love the Bus t-shirt templates, and bumper magnets.
Leaders in the pupil transportation industry are excited about Love the Bus. National Association for Pupil Transportation President Don Carnahan said, “The yellow school bus provides safe, reliable, energy-efficient transportation that ensures high attendance, which is a lynchpin of higher achievement by students. Everyone who wants kids to succeed should ‘Love the Bus’.” Dale Wendell, Chief Commercial Officer at Blue Bird added, “The importance of the yellow school bus in a child’s life is tremendous. For many children, school bus drivers are their first point of contact each morning. Love the Bus is the perfect way to show our appreciation and thank school bus drivers for providing children with an access to an education.”
Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, Principal of Oak Hill Elementary School also emphasized the important role school buses play in the lives of American children. She said, “Our promise as a country that all children have the possibility of future success depends on an equitable education system. School buses are an integral part to that promise, ensuring that no matter what neighborhood, you have the ability to board the bus and ride to your better future."
For more information about other Love the Bus events around the country or for assistance with planning additional events or procuring American School Bus Council marketing materials, interested individuals are asked to contact ASBC at 866-955-2722, or visit www.americanschoolbuscouncil.com. ASBC can also be found at Facebook.com/LoveTheBus and Twitter.com/WeLoveTheBus.
ASBC is a coalition of public and private transportation providers, school bus manufacturers and state officials responsible for pupil transportation. The Council’s members include NAPT (National Association for Pupil Transportation), NASDPTS (National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services), NSTA (National School Transportation Association), Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, Ga., IC Corporation of Lisle, Ill., and Thomas Built Buses of High Point, N.C.