We love Transportation Employees to the moon and back -- 2.5 times!
According to PPS Transportation Director Josh Collins, Peoria Public School buses travel 1.5 million miles each year. That’s about the same as driving to the moon and back 2.5 times!
This week Peoria Public Schools are observing School Bus Driver, Monitor and Technician Appreciation Week!
PPS drivers, monitors and technicians care for the district’s most precious cargo from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and sometimes later. They work Monday through Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday.
Often, they are the first smile a student sees in the morning -- even wearing a face mask, our drivers' cheerful dispositions prove they are smiling. PPS drivers, monitors and technicians are teachers, caregivers and role models while simultaneously being responsible for the safety and wellbeing of large groups of students on a moving vehicle.
When COVID-19 shut down schools in March, transportation drivers and monitors assisted with meal distribution to ensure not one student would go without a meal. When Rumberger’s Wings donated a special treat to students, Transportation employees delivered the donated food to each family’s front doors.
When daily food distribution began at the school sites, Peoria Public Schools purchased every large cooler within a 30-mile radius of Peoria to keep food properly chilled during transport. Transportation employees drove from store to store in school buses and box trucks picking up hundreds of coolers.
To make sure every student could continue their education virtually, transportation employees called over 1,000 families to ask whether they need a stream in their homes. They then delivered almost 4,000 streams in just three days, traveling over 1,480 miles in one day alone. Drivers and monitors also answered tech-support calls, picking up and replacing malfunctioning devices. Drivers delivered donated books to Little Free Librairies, delivered equipment used by special needs students to their homes and transported students to and from therapy appointments at their school.
When the time came for students to begin returning to school buildings, Transportation employees assisted school staff preparing buildings. The cleaned and sanitized over 750 lunch trucks, drivers ed cars and school buses during the spring and summer. Also, during the summer, PPS Technicians and Preventative Maintenance staff maintained and prepared vehicles for service, including daily maintenance and fueling for several additional refrigerated trucks required for food storage.
Peoria Public Schools are fortunate to have such a great group of drivers, monitors, mechanics and technicians. The next time you see one of them, give them an elbow bump and let them know they are appreciated – it will mean the world to them.