The Sullivans School trains for Bus Emergencies

By Steve Parker

The Sullivans School Principal Daisy Weddle (center) takes part in school bus safety training provided for all students by the DoDEA Transportation Division Yokosuka.  A DoDEA bus safety employee (R) and 4/5 multiage teacher Janice Smith (L)  offer helping hands. (Photo by Steve Parker)

The Sullivans School Principal Daisy Weddle (center) takes part in school bus safety training provided for all students by the DoDEA Transportation Division Yokosuka. A DoDEA bus safety employee (R) and 4/5 multiage teacher Janice Smith (L) offer helping hands. (Photo by Steve Parker)

Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan – Students at the Sullivans School on board Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka, took time away from a busy day of teaching and learning to receive bus safety training from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Transportation Division, Sept. 24.

The training consisted of separate components including a safety training video, teacher-led classroom discussion, hands on demonstrations, and actual hands on school bus evacuation drill.

Mike Frechette, Certified Director of Pupil Transportation (CDPT) DoDEA Transportation Manager, Yokosuka was on site almost the entire day giving whole group instruction several times ahead of children actually boarding the school buses where they were briefed one final time on CD before opening the emergency doors and climbing out one at a time through the emergency exits.  Kyle Toril, a student in Calvin Grosshuesch’s fourth grade class said, “It was exciting to learn and then climb out the emergency doors.”

Frechette stated, “The familiar sight of yellow school buses on our streets and highways reminds us that school is in session. It is at the beginning of the school year that school districts must teach their students about school bus safety. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade enrolled during the first or second week of school receive school bus safety training by the end of September during each school year. DoDEA Yokosuka school pupils enrolled in kindergarten through grade twelve with age-appropriate school bus safety training of the following concepts:

  • 1) School bus danger zone;
  • 2) School bus safety embarking and disembarking;
  • 3) Appropriate school bus behavior/conduct;
  • 4) School bus emergency evacuations.

The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, DoD schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 48 schools serve nearly 23,000 military-connected children of U.S. Servicemembers and civilian support personnel stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,000 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea. The Sullivans School is the largest school in DoDEA with a student body of approximately 1,200 in grades K-5.

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