- Wake County Public School System
Student success starts with the ride to school
Nov. 3, 2023
Every employee in our district contributes to our mission of educating young people - whether they work in the classroom or not.
This certainly includes our hard-working, caring, and conscientious bus drivers. We know that if our students can’t get to school, they miss out on the educational opportunities they need to be prepared for the future.
And for tens of thousands of our students, a bus driver is the first and last school district employee they interact with each day.
A smile and kind words from a bus driver can set the tone for a student’s day. Drivers also step in to give students encouragement to persevere when things aren’t going their way.
Those were among the messages I hoped to convey when I had the privilege of meeting with some of our bus drivers earlier this week.
But as soon as I started sharing these sentiments, it was clear that I was “preaching to the choir.” Our drivers know their role is of utmost importance. Several drivers I spoke to shared how their supervisors helped them see the value of their work every day, and made them feel cared for and respected.
A number of drivers also shared that other folks don’t always share these sentiments.
As superintendent, I will do everything I can to make sure every member of our community recognizes the critical role bus drivers play in our students’ lives. These drivers should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
During my visit, some drivers also shared concerns about their working conditions. The bus driver shortage has required many of our current drivers to work long hours and drive additional runs. There is no question these drivers have a tough job, but they show up each day because they genuinely care about their students.
To each one of our drivers: I see you, I hear you, and I’m going to be here for you.
At the conclusion of my first 100 days as superintendent, I will deliver a report to the community that will include recommendations to improve bus driver working conditions and bus safety. I look forward to moving forward in this important work together.
In the meantime, if you are reading this today, take a moment to thank a transportation employee for everything they do to support our students and families. Our students could not be successful without them.
Dr. Robert P. Taylor