Friday, October 28, 2016

School Bus Driver Appreciation Week

by Cindy Pitts Gilbert Buford Weekly Illustrated 10/28/16

School districts across the country observe National School Bus Safety Week throughout the third week of October. The week is designed to teach students how to safely interact with school buses in an effort to minimize danger and accidents. October 17th kicks off the week every year with Bus Driver Appreciation Day. This is a day for students and parents to let their school bus drivers know how important and special they are.
On Bus Driver Appreciation Day, parents who have students who ride the bus are encouraged to find a way to teach their children to let their bus drivers know they’re valued. Nothing means more to a driver than having a student or parent on their route say ‘Thank you.’
All Buford City School System bus drivers received a Buford monogrammed roll cooler as an appreciation gift. If you missed Bus Driver Appreciation Day, it’s not too late! Here are some ways you and your child can appreciate your child’s bus driver:
  • Stand at your bus stop with a ‘Thank You’ poster
  • Have all the children at your stop make and sign a card
  • Give a basket of muffins and a to-go coffee
  • Bake a plate of cookies or brownies
  • Fill a thermos with steaming hot cocoa
  • Fill a gift basket with a mug and coffee or tea goodies
  • Give a gift card that can be used for breakfast or lunch
  • Fill a basket with dollar store snacks and a tumbler cup
  • Review the bus safety rules with your child and ensure he or she understands why they are important
During Bus Driver Appreciation Week the students were also taught about bus safety. “The objective is to make sure all students are aware of the rules, regulations, and possible dangers that can be involved with riding a bus,” according to Gloria Whidby, a staff member of the Buford Elementary School, “we hope that students learn how to be safe to avoid any accidents.”
Tracy Kitchens, Vicki Pinkard, Tammy Bush, Teresa Hughes, and Rick Littlefield are some of the drivers who participated in bus safety last week.
Photo Provided by Buford Elementary School.

Every bus driver on the road is responsible for the safety of our children. Many have been driving their routes for over two decades. They become emotionally invested in their student riders and, for many, their job is a labor of love. Be sure to find a way to express your appreciation for your bus driver!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Proposed Amendment 1, State Privatization of our Public Schools

by Cindy Pitts Gilbert Buford Weekly Illustrated 10/12/16

When I first heard about the proposed Amendment 1 on the November 8 ballot, I thought I had been transported to the magical world of Harry Potter, when the Ministry of Magic took over the school of Hogwarts.
Jokes aside, this is serious business. Last week, the Buford Council Meeting addressed the potential Amendment 1, which is based on similar programs in Tennessee and Louisiana. If passed, the proposed Amendment 1 would allow the state to take over a failing school and run it through a superintendent appointed by the governor’s office.
What this legislation could potentially do is take away the voices of parents, local school boards, teachers, and administrators when it is decided that a school is failing. So, who decides when a school is failing? It appears that this will be up to the governor. Quoting the AJC, “Governor Nathan Deal feels this would be a way to break the cycle of chronically failing schools, especially in low-income or minority communities.”
The probable scenario is that the failing school would be taken over by the state and then made into a state school run by a for-profit educational management company and named an Opportunity School District, or OSD.
Do we really want more state government control? Is privatization of public education really in the best interest of our children? Aren’t our parents and teachers the true voices for our children? Are we prepared to lose our voices? This amendment brings up so many questions.
Where do you stand on highly debated issues such as standardized testing, No Child Left Behind, and Common Core? Many believe these are all failing our children. What if the state decides that arts in education is unnecessary? Our choice will be gone. Right now, a month before the election, we still have one.
I find it ironic that the proposed Amendment 1, that may very well remove our local voices, by name bears a striking resemblance to our First Amendment, which guarantees our right to freedom of speech. Fellow voters, we still have time to do our research. Study, scrutinize, and make the right choice about Amendment 1.