Most have seen the yellow buses rolling down the road. Some may have even waved goodbye to their brothers and sisters as they stepped on the bus for school, but Wednesday was the first day the new kindergarten students rode on the buses themselves.
Joined by their parents, the youngest riders across the Cobb County School District took a dry run on the yellow buses ahead of the first day of school on August 1.
The annual kindergarten and first-grade ride-along, which is coordinated by the Cobb Schools Transportation Department, gives the five and six-year-old students a chance to take a trial bus ride and learn important safety tips like how to properly exit the bus. It also gives parents an opportunity to see why the school bus is the safest way to get students to and from school.
“I’ve just finished the Welcome to the Bus trial ride with my new kindergartener and had to take a second to thank you and your team for making that experience possible. Our bus driver, Mr. Rick for the white bus for Dowell [Elementary School], set my mind at ease and made my daughter comfortable. Having the chance to ride together and see the route to/from school and meet the driver was fantastic and helped get us comfortable and ready. Thank you for thinking of new kids/parents and planning that opportunity,” one parent told the Transportation Department.
Although the excitement of finally getting to ride the famous yellow buses was enough to put smiles on the faces of the young riders, a welcome celebration awaited the kindergartners who rolled into Pickett’s Mill Elementary School.
Members of the Allatoona High School band serenaded the new students with music. Cheerleaders, the Transportation Department mascot Hawkeye, and teachers also greeted the students as they stepped off the buses with their parents. Although some were shy, others laughed, danced, and high-fived the Pickett’s Mill educators.
For the principal of Pickett’s Mill, Dr. Benji Morrell, the ride-along celebration was a preview for the parents of what they can expect.
“Our number one job before lessons are taught is safety, and it starts at the curb when the students get on the bus in the morning and it continues until we get them home safely in the afternoon,” Dr. Morrell told the parents and students. “Our Transportation Department does a fantastic job. They are heroes in the district.”
During a safety brief, members of Cobb’s Transportation Department walked the students through the ways to be responsible and safe bus riders. It’s the department’s focus on safety that earned them the state’s highest transportation safety award.
After the Pickett’s Mill bus and safety event wrapped up, the students boarded the buses with their parents to return home and get ready for their first day of school August 1.
Although the parents cannot ride the bus again with their young riders on day one of school, they can keep track of where child’s bus is in real-time thanks to the new Here Comes the Bus app.