TORRANCE, Calif. — STN Media Group, owner and publisher of School Transportation News magazine, and the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) signed an agreement last month to co-produce the Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo held in conjunction with the Transporting Students with Special Needs and Preschoolers National Conference (TSD), which takes place March 8-13 at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel and Convention Center in Frisco, Texas.
The three-day Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo mixes industry training with a hands-on competition. Participants are student transporters from across the nation who won state-qualifying events. They receive scores using set criteria via a written exam as well as during the actual hands-on event held on Saturday, March 9. The hands-on event consists of 11 bus driving and operational events that test five core functions: pre-check; wheelchair loading and securement; car-seat securement; student management; and emergency evacuation.
"NAPT has been working for nearly a decade to make the National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo a practical, hands-on exercise in safety and interpersonal communications," said Alexandra Robinson, president of NAPT and executive director of student transportation for the New York City Department of Education. "We are more excited than ever about this event as a result of our newly formed partnership with STN. We are confident that together, NAPT and STN can make the Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo a bigger and better showcase for people around the nation who work with our most vulnerable students."
"We are excited to work with NAPT to co-present this great industry event," added Tony Corpin, publisher of School Transportation News and president of STN Media Group. "We feel that this partnership between our organizations strengthens the Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo, bringing an increased visibility and professionalism that will elevate the excitement and participation on all levels."
Participants begin the weekend on Friday, March 8 by receiving free wheelchair-securement and evacuation training. Team participants then meet that evening with Roadeo judges in preparation for the hands-on competition. The actual Roadeo starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 9, at Frisco Independent School District and is sponsored by wheelchair-securement equipment manufacturer Q'Straint and Sure-Lok.
Saturday evening, a dinner banquet sponsored by Q'Straint and Sure-Lok honors all teams and awards the top scorers with first-, second- and third-place trophies. The Roadeo weekend concludes Sunday with a morning Roadeo debriefing and explanation of scores with judges and free attendance at the TSD Conference general session "Punished, Protected or Prisoner: Considerations in Law, Operations and Practice."
The 22nd annual TSD Conference provides hands-on training to student transporters who provide care to students with a range of disabilities. Overall, it features three-dozen intense workshops and presentations on the operations and management of transportation services for students with a range of special needs, as well as for preschool and Head Start students. It also includes a four-hour trade show on March 11.
STN Media Group acquired the Conference last March from Edupro Group owner Roseann Schwaderer, who founded the event. In 1998, Schwaderer launched the Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo in Orlando, Fla., the site of the seventh annual TSD Conference. Since 2006, NAPT has worked with Edupro Group to plan and manage the National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo at the TSD Conference.
NAPT and STN have agreed to co-own and co-sponsor the Roadeo event from this point forward. STN Media Group has retained Schwaderer this year to once again serve as TSD Conference chair.