Superintendent’s Update: Opening Week and Transportation

August 29, 2014
Dear Community,

In my visits to schools this week I’ve seen nothing but teacher enthusiasm and student excitement. The schools look great and classrooms are welcoming. The first day of school is always a wonderful event and this year has been no different. From this perspective, it’s been a great first week of school.

On the other hand, when it comes to student transportation, it’s been a difficult week for some parents. We continue to work with Student Transportation of America, Inc. (STA) to overcome significant busing issues that have impacted students. There have been some improvements as the week progressed, but problems remain.

A number of buses are still arriving late for morning pickups and afternoon drop-offs. On occasion, stops have been missed and a few students are still unassigned to a route. Certain bus routes are too long and STA is in the process of splitting them to shorten student ride times. The biggest problem has been that the volume of parent phone calls coming in to STA was underestimated; resulting in return calls not being made in a timely manner. To help correct this issue, three additional phone lines were added to STA’s call center earlier this week, a voicemail system has been installed, and more personnel were added to handle parent calls.

I apologize to the families who have encountered transportation issues. We are working with STA around the clock to correct problems, address concerns, and inform parents. I met with STA management this morning to review their overall performance and develop a remedial action plan. They will be working all weekend to make sure all students are scheduled and transported properly on Tuesday and I am counting on STA to respond to each parent who called over the last few days. While not all routing and stop change requests can be honored, each one will be reviewed and a decision communicated back to the parent.

Even though STA is an outside contractor, it is the district’s responsibility, and ultimately my responsibility, to make sure these problems are corrected and we will do so in the quickest way possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,

Michael Schilder, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Important Reminder Regarding the Elementary Schedule

Please note the following important reminder regarding the elementary schedule:

  • Students will follow a 5-day cycle, particularly for specialist classes (Art, Music, Library, Phys. Ed.)
  • It is important to know which day of the cycle we are on versus which day of the week it is
  • Instead of your student having a specialist class on a specific day of the week, such as Wednesday, your child may have that specialist on Day 3
  • The day of the cycle will be included in the morning announcements each day and is posted on each school website; teachers will also continue to remind students of the schedule.

Example:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Aug. 25-DAY 1 Aug. 26-DAY 2 Aug. 27-DAY 3 Aug. 28-DAY 4 Aug. 29-No School
Sept. 1-No School Sept. 2-DAY 5 Sept. 3-DAY 1 Sept. 4-DAY 2 Sept. 5-DAY 3

Welcome Back Jefferson Elementary PTO Pool PartyPool Party!

Come splash around with your family and friends for one last summer Hoorah before school begins!

Class lists have been mailed!! Find out which friends are in your class!!
When: Thursday ~ August 21, 2014
Where: Emmaus Community Pool
Time: 5:00PM to 8:00PM

Special Admission Price: $1.00/per person [Jefferson Elementary Families only]
Refreshment Stand will be open for dinner or snacks throughout the evening or bring your own picnic dinner!!

Please RSVP to brandi@bazellagroup.com by August 13th ~ how many will be attending
We are ready to have fun this school year!! Let’s end the summer with a great time!