Do You Need Online School Transportation Training? Interview with Calcasieu Parish School Board

Online Transportation Training

Calcasieu Parish School Board Shares Life Before and After Online School Transportation Training

Mary Bass Fontenot, Director of Transportation with Calcasieu Parish School Board (CPSB) shared with Infinit-I Workforce Solutions what life was like before and after implementing online school transportation training for the bus drivers in her department.

Mary filled the roles of teacher, assistant principal, and bus driver before becoming the Director of Transportation for CPSB. She now oversees a fleet that logs more than 1.9 million miles annually for their regular bus route.

Mary has used the Infinit-I Workforce system since July 2015. She uses the system to help train both full and part-time drivers. The parish employees 400 drivers and transports 16,000 students a day with 318 buses.

Question 1: What Was Driver In-Service Like Before Online Training?

Back in 2013, when I was a driver, training was being taken care of during in-service. We would have all of the drivers come in for a day before school started. There would easily be 500 people in a room, including drivers, aides, and subs.

The in-service would include different topics presented for the drivers. We would have a sign-in sheet and an agenda with different presenters. We would sit through this for training.

At the end of August, we would have all of those drivers come in again for another four-hour in-service, and we would break them out into smaller sections.

I remember one year it was a chiropractor who came to talk about stress, or an insurance rep, or different things like that. As a driver sitting there, I felt like the information wasn’t always good, helpful information that would help improve the driving experience.

Plus, with the sign-in, you’ve got people talking and not paying attention. Only the first five rows are paying attention, you’ve completely lost the rest of the group.

As I moved into the role of Director of Transportation, I felt like it was very important that we tighten training up a bit. I didn’t feel comfortable that people were really getting good beneficial training.

Question 2: Why Did You Decide to Implement Online School Transportation Training?

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We approached training from a risk management standpoint. We got our loss prevention company involved because it’s really all a liability issue. That’s what all of this comes back to.

We got a lot of feedback from our stakeholders before we ventured out. If this was not something our loss prevention provider was on board with, we would not have done it.

It’s all a liability standpoint. I was terrified as a new director to think “What happens when we have an event? Will someone ask where they received their training?”

I questioned whether the sign-in sheet and a summary of what was covered would be enough to prove training occurred. That was the main motivating factor to move into online school transportation training.

Anytime I can say “I can produce a certificate of completion. I’ve got the data to show when they logged in and how many attempts it took them to complete the learning module. It’s really a no-brainer from the liability standpoint.

Question 3: What Was Corrective Action Training Like Before Infinit-I?

Before online school transportation training, drivers had to sit through the training on how to become a new bus driver. For example, when the next class would roll around, drivers who needed remedial training would come in and sit in the back row. They would be there for the four hours, and that was their remediation.

There were problems with this. What if that particular night they were covering something that had nothing to do with what they needed remedial training on? The training was not meaningful, and the drivers were not getting anything out of it.

The drivers were frustrated and mad. It was a lose-lose for everyone because the whole point of remedial training is to try to remediate what caused the accident and improve the drivers so it wouldn’t happen again.

Question 4: How Has Online Training Changed Your Remedial Training?

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I did away with that method of training and reformatted the procedural part of the accident protocol. On the first preventable accident, we no issue online school transportation training modules.

We see tail swing, backing, not sure of bus spatial awareness, and bumping mirrors over and over and over. That’s the majority of your accidents. So, I wanted to give corrective action on the event of their particular incident.

If their accident was due to tail swing, then I assign a training module to be specifically on tail swing. If it is a backing accident, I assign remediation training on backing. I want it to be meaningful; something that will help you improve as a driver.

Question 5: How Has the Support Team Helped You with Online Training?

I can’t tell you how much of our success is squarely because of the customer service team behind the Infinit-I Workforce system. When we were first initiating this, I could just call.

I felt like I knew my client service representative (CSR). She would say, “Whatever you need us to do, that’s what we’re here for.”

We really don’t do anything as far as the maintaining. I will add a new user, help with a password or reset, and go in to see if they’ve completed all their training. My CSR helps with everything else.

For example, our last remediation, I called our CSR and said, “These people, this is what I need for them to have scheduled, and this is the timeline.”

That was it. She took care of it. That part of it is huge.

For our monthly school transportation training, I’ll call or email the CSR and tell her what modules I need to rollout. She sets it up, and I’m done with it.

Don’t let the possibility that you don’t have enough staff in your office hold you back. Infinit-I is superb at fulfilling the ins and outs of this program. They’re fantastic.

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