As we turned the calendar to 2022 with hope and optimism, the cloud of Covid has lingered. Despite the challenges Covid has posed for students, families, and CJUSD employees, we continue to move forward as a district committed to health, safety, education, and social-emotional wellbeing. We are following guidance from the Center for Disease Control to keep students and staff safe. I am confident our resiliency as a district and as a community will get us through.
We are moving forward with our educational initiatives and providing students with positive, supportive classroom environments that foster a love of learning. Classroom teachers, intervention teachers, instructional assistants, school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and site administrators are working tirelessly to provide all students with a quality education and the supports needed for academic achievement and social-emotional health. Office staff, bus drivers, nurses, and food service workers are critical pieces to the puzzle, ensuring the health and safety of all students. The staff in the Student & Family Support Services (SFSS) Department and the Student and Family Engagement Office (SAFE) continue to support our Center families. I am proud of the commitment of our CJUSD staff and their dedication to the children and families of Antelope.
Throughout this school year, I have used this opportunity to share a piece of who we are by highlighting a district employee through our Profile of Excellence segment. This month I am pleased to shine a light on two employees from the Transportation Department. Since the beginning of Covid shutdowns in 2020, the Transportation Department has been instrumental in helping us reach students and families. When there were no students to transport to and from school each day, the responsibilities of the Transportation Department evolved to meet the needs. They delivered food, technology, books, and necessary curriculum materials throughout the district ensuring students and families had the items they needed to access learning. These efforts did not go unnoticed and I am proud to showcase two CJUSD employees who led these efforts and continue to lead our Transportation Department.
CJUSD PROFILE of EXCELLENCE
Cyndy Mitchell, Transportation Supervisor, and Nikki Hibbert, Transportation Dispatcher/Relief Driver, bring 29 years of collective knowledge and experience to CJUSD. The Transportation Department’s motto is S.A.F.E.T.Y and it is through this lens that they ensure routes are covered, buses are properly maintained and bus drivers are appropriately credentialed.
Fair & Friendly
Efficient & Enthusiastic about transporting students
You bet we can…is our attitude
A day in the life of a bus driver begins at 5:30 am with a 30-minute safety check which includes a 50 point inspection. From there the routes start. The buses leave the district office greeting daily riders at their stops and delivering them to campus on time. But the drive is more than pick up and drop off. Drivers tie shoes, help children with their coats and backpacks, comfort them when they cry, hold items that get left behind, clean up when children get sick, remind them of the rules that keep them safe all while following the traffic laws. At the end of the school day, it starts again with bus drivers loading up children who are anxious to get home but excited to tell their bus driver stories about their day.
Both Cyndy and Nikki value relationship building and the connections they make with students. Bus drivers are another positive adult figure in a child’s life. Nikki explained that relationship building with children starts with a simple hello. Drivers work very hard to learn each child’s name so they can greet them as they enter the bus and make sure they feel welcome and safe. As those relationships develop, children share stories with their drivers about their pets, siblings, weekend activities, and what they did at school that day.
Cyndy describes the Transportation Department as a group of compassionate individuals who nurture the students in their care and have great empathy for families. Bus drivers are entrusted with the task of safely transporting Antelope families’ most treasured gifts. Drivers don’t take this responsibility lightly and strive to treat their riders as if they were their children.
Although school is back in back in session, life is far from normal and families face many challenges. Nikki’s advice to families is to be patient and know that the Transportation Department takes great pride in providing excellent customer service to Center students and families. Cyndy shared, “we all have a story to tell but remember Transportation cares very much about all families.”
Thank you, Cyndy, Nikki, and the entire CJUSD Transportation Department for your flexibility over the last two years and your continued commitment to the children and families of Antelope.
A New Look for CJUSD
The Center Joint Unified School District is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. School and district programs, activities and services shall be free from unlawful discrimination based on actual or perceived sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, ancestry, ethnic group identification, gender, physical or mental disability, or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics, or sexual harassment in any district service, program and/or activity that receives or benefits from state financial assistance. The district shall promote programs, which ensure that unlawful discriminatory practices are eliminated in all school and district activities.