Transporting Students With Special Needs
For the past decade, Iowa has been engaged in improving and increasing access to education for teen mothers with infants, preschool children, and students with severe disabilities. However, providing this increased access to education has included providing transportation for special needs populationsa requirement that has challenged the Department of Education to address the necessity for specialized bus driver training in transporting students with exceptional needs.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The Iowa Department of Education's goal was to build the capacity of the Area Education Agencies (AEAs) and the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) so that these agencies could safely transport Iowa students in kindergarten through grade 12 with special transportation needs, as well as infants, toddlers, and preschool children. To assist them in reaching this goal, the Department of Education established two objectives:
STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES
The Department of Education approached the task by designating a project coordinator to develop collaboration among interest groups and assemble the information generated into a body of knowledge. Collaborators on the project included an AEA special education interdisciplinary team, driver focus groups, area transportation supervisors, special consultants from the department's Special Education and Early Childhood Education offices, and staff from the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau. Information topics were developed, including the following:
The partnership, after careful consideration of the alternatives, made the decision to disseminate the information through the Internet on the state's Web Page. Using this vehicle, the information may be easily updated or expanded by the department. In addition, information links have been provided to other important resources including publications such as School Bus Fleet and School Transportation News, the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Autism Society of America, NHTSA and the National Information Center for Children and Youth.
The new Transporting Students With Special Needs site was added to the Iowa Web Page in the fall of 1997, prior to the start of the new school year.
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