The American School Bus Council confirmed that Anthony Foxx would join the event, scheduled for Friday at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, N.C., where he will speak to a group of elementary students about the importance of the yellow bus and bus drivers.
Foxx (above; photo by Hannah Gaber) will be joined by Congressman Howard Coble; Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of School Improvement Grant’s Carlas McCauley; Guilford County Superintendent Mo Green; and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims. They will speak to first, fourth and fifth graders, including a group of student riders with special needs, on respecting their bus drivers and appreciating the benefits the school bus offers them for their education and safety, as well as how it benefits the community and the environment by reducing traffic congestion around the schools.
He also will share the stage with Oak Hill first graders, who will perform a fun interpretation of the classic children’s book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!”, and a group of fourth and fifth graders will perform a song on their recorders.
On Sept. 11, Foxx joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as part of the Department of Education’s “Strong Start, Bright Future” back-to-school bus tour. They stopped at Tuscon (Ariz.) Unified School District, where they were joined by members of ASBC, which helped put on the event there.
As for this year's 'Love the Bus' event, ASBC said Oak Hill is an ideal host this year because the school is heavily reliant upon the school bus for their students’ transportation to and from school, but also because it transformed itself from consistently rating as one of the lowest-performing Title 1 elementary schools in North Carolina to being the highest-performing Title 1 school in the state for the 2012-2013 school year.
Oak Hill was able to turn itself around thanks to a 2010 Federal School Improvement Grant, and a concerted effort from the community — including Thomas Built Buses, which is also headquartered in High Point — to engage a student body where 99 percent of students are eligible for a free or reduced lunch; a large percentage of students come from single-parent homes; more than 50 percent of students speak a language other than English (18 languages represented); and the enrollment area is classified as a food desert.
Don Carnahan, president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, along with others in the industry, lauded this event. “The yellow school bus provides safe, reliable, energy-efficient transportation that ensures high attendance, which is a lynchpin of higher achievement by students. Everyone who wants kids to succeed should ‘Love the Bus’,” he said.