On Thursday, the D49 Transportation Department held an annual training in preparation for the first day of school next week.
Director of Transportation Jack Pietraallo said the State of Colorado mandates eight hours of training for bus drivers and bus paraeducators, as well as the completion of a standardized Colorado Department of Education test. “We have multiple trainings throughout the year, every other month,” Pietraallo said. “But we want to meet the minimum requirements before we start the year.”
Drivers and paraeducators were certified in first aid and CPR. “If we have a medical issue on a bus, our drivers and paras can handle it, up to a certain point,” he said.
They participated in a class to help them identify and handle student behavior situations on the bus. “How to deal with behaviors on a bus, that’s a good class to take, especially for our new drivers,” Pietraallo said. “A bunch of middle schoolers getting rowdy, this training teaches you how to cope with that and stay in control of your bus,” he said.
One training session provided insight into transporting students with special needs. “We can serve our kids the way they need to be served,” Pietraallo said. “The more you know, the better you do.”
Joe Mason performs chest compressions on a CPR dummy, the red lights letting him know he is doing it correctly. Mason will begin his second year as a paraeducators this semester.
“I love everything about it,” the retired corporate executive said. “I do this just because I love it.”