First Day!

What a great first day! We added an additional stop at the Superintendent’s office this morning. There is nothing like the excitement associated with the first day of school when the school bus arrives.

First Stop of the Day

First Stop of the Day

I had the pleasure to ride with a true Burlington celebrity – bus driver Gretchen Bent. I am not sure my ego will recover. At every stop there were cries of GRETCHEN and many tears of joy – and these reactions all from the parents!
Gretch Bent - Celebrity

Gretchen Bent - Celebrity

Bus 12 picked up a Marshall Simonds group followed by runs to Memorial and Fox Hill. All the students seemed as eager to get to school as their parents were to have them attend. Gretchen reminded me that Burlington is one of the few communities remaining that does not charge transportation fees. She also told me that kindergarten students are still dropped off at their individual homes.

Marshall Simonds Run

Marshall Simonds Run

Memorial School Run

Memorial School Run

When we talk about curriculum and instruction, we are talking about more than what happens in the classroom. In other words, if we were fish, curriculum and instruction is the water in which we swim. Every part of a student’s day from the moment they step on the bus until the moment they step off is critical to their success in school. The first relationship associated with school for many parents and students is with our bus drivers. Gretchen has known many of her students since they were in kindergarten. I even heard Gretchen reminding students about their summer reading and other projects.

Thank you to Gretchen and Bob Bent from A&F Busing for helping to make opening day in Burlington such a success.

Day 1

Day 1

One thought on “First Day!

  1. Heidi

    I am absolutely appauled by the bus situation in this district. Having been in Burlington for the past year, I leave early to commute to Boston each morning just hoping that my kids actually make it to the school without incident. I often call my children’s schools to make sure they actually made it to school on the bus. My small children have had to leave our safe apartment community to travel (in the winter- on icy and steep streets) past an active construction site to walk down a steep hill to a turn-around where there is no shelter, safety, or place to seek help even though there are often transients who are sitting nearby and mulling around the construction site. The ONLY road into and out of the community of over 600 residents is the same road that my children must walk along and cross to get to the bus pick up. Still, when the public safety officer investigated this situation last January, he deemed it (and I quote directly) “No less dangerous than any other kid’s trip to the bus.” Save for a moment that other children are catching busses in residential neighborhoods and not commercial construction areas. Still, instead of re-routing at least the elementary school bus into the community where the children could wait in the shelter (and safety) of the main community building, this school district made it clear to us that the standard for safety isn’t a standard at all and that each child is dually unsafe on their way to school. Eventually last year when we could afford it, we ended up paying each month for before school care, but after school care was far too expensive and I had to cross my fingers that my children were not hit on the main road crossing the street and walking past heavy construction equipment daily on their way home from school… so everyone could be “equally” unsafe together in this school district. The last place I feel my children are safe is on their way to and from school. I don’t trust this district with my children’s safety in the least. I feel that until something truly horrific happens, nothing will change in order to save this bus company a buck. Finally, I felt compelled to post my frustrations with this when both my children from now 2 schools in the district brought home fluffy, wordy notices about how the district is concerned about child safety and transportation. In our family’s short time in Burlington, I can say above all else this district has child safety to and from school at the very bottom of it’s list of priorities, and I just hope that the luck this district is betting with doesn’t run out before some child is hurt or worse when small changes to avoid bad situations could have been easily avoided in the first place.


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