From the community

Narraguagus High School to Host Down East School Bus Safety Conference (Road-eo )

Jonathon Markham
Posted March 27, 2014, at 11:58 a.m.
Jonathon Markham
&quotBack to Basics" is the theme for the 2014 School Bus Safety Conferences.
"Back to Basics" is the theme for the 2014 School Bus Safety Conferences.
Jonathon Markham
Jonathon Markham

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: Narraguagus High School, 1611 Main Street (US HWY 1), Harrington, Maine

For more information: 207 483-2734; maptme.org

The annual Down East Regional Safety Conference at Narraguagus High School, sponsored by the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation (MAPT), the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine State Police, will fall on Wednesday June 25th, 2014 this year instead of the usual Friday following. It seems Fort Kent needs to swap dates with Harrington since Fort Kent has had too many snow days and would still be in school on the 25th. (Writer experiences wry look, raising one eyebrow.)

This year, Narraguagus High School in Harrington hosts the Down East Regional where school bus drivers will converge for training and skills competition. Drivers will compete using conventional and transit school buses. During the skills part of the day, school bus operators must demonstrate their abilities in areas such as the pre-trip inspection, stopping on a line, backing up, navigating S-curves and the converging alley. School kitchen staffs serve a continental type breakfast and lunch around noon.

Each year MAPT provides six regional safety conferences throughout the State of Maine. Drivers, supervisors, mechanic/technicians, and special needs providers may attend these essential and critical trainings at no charge, thanks to a grant from the Maine DOE. The annual statewide conference has traditionally occurred at Sugarloaf Resort. Each conference includes a number of training options as well as specialized offerings. There are hands-on trainings such as navigating a smoke-filled bus, burning a school bus, a mock disaster and moulage, operating a robotic school bus called Buster which is a training tool for children and adults, and many others through the years. Participants learn to use a fire extinguisher properly, install child safety restraints, load a wheel chair with occupant, and more.

These are always fun times and everyone goes home enriched. During the day participants have caught up with old friends and traded stories. They have eaten together and met new folks. Sometimes a newbie will take first place and put all the old timers on notice. Come and see drivers from all over the county participate; come and compete!

At the end of the day, MAPT personnel will have calculated the results of the skills competition and they will award winners with trophies at three levels. Winners may compete at the annual at Sugarloaf in July.

Registration and other materials are found on the MAPT website: http://maptme.org/wp/?page_id=64, or for more information, please call Dawn Coffin at 207 483-2734.

The Maine Association for Pupil Transportation is a nonprofit organization of school transportation personnel. Formed in 1971 by a small, dedicated group of transportation supervisors in order to provide training to the school bus driver throughout the state, MAPT has grown to an association consisting of supervisors, directors, administrators, mechanics, trainers, drivers, industry related companies and representatives Department of Education, Maine State Police.

MAPT will display items for sale and information about the school bus safety lending library.

SAD #37 drivers are engaged in several fund raisers in order to purchase a Buster for use in Washington County. Please contact Dawn Coffin at 207 483-2734 for more information. Donations are appropriate.

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