Menahga’s student bus patrol ‘creating safe environment’
The Menahga School District implemented a new bus patrol program this school year, with about 40 students.
A new bus patrol program at Menahga School is proving effective.
Christina Albin, a bus driver with the district since 2011, shared positive feedback with the Menahga School Board.
“This is the first year,” Albin said of the patrol. It was developed using resources like AAA School Safety Patrol and another school district, she noted.
“We have 16 bus routes and we asked the drivers to nominate up to four students each, so we ended up with 40 students who are now bus patrols on our buses.”
School administration approved the final list of bus patrols. “It’s all a work in progress. We’re really just working on this together,” Albin said.
Parents either approved or denied a permission slip for their child to become a bus patrol member.
“We were looking for students who were responsible, about average grades and on the bus route the longest,” she explained.
Only one bus route doesn’t have a patrol because there are a lot of young students and the bigger students get off early, she said.
Four different training sessions were held in Nov. 2022. “We talked about expectations,” Albin said, plus taught them about emergency exits and the location of fire extinguishers and First Aid kits.
At first, Albin said patrollers were concerned about being seen as a nark. “They’re just there, really, to help the driver, to set an example of obeying the rules and knowing that their peers around them just need some additional direction, and that’s all it is,” she said. “A lot of these kids have really, really stepped up as a result of it.”
Albin shared positive testimonials from bus drivers. One said it was “a saving grace for one particular student.”
“He said that the bus patrol sits next to this student, just to make sure he behaves,” she said. Another driver said their bus patrol will go to the student that needs redirection and clearly explain the expectations and what could be done better.
Albin said drivers are no longer distracted by student behavior. “So it’s really creating a safe environment for our drivers,” she said.
She expects more students wanting to join the bus patrol next year.
Superintendent Jay Kjos said, “These kids are leading by example on the bus. It’s spectacular. I just want to commend Christina and all the kids.”
In other business, the board did this:
- Approved Sourcewell/Health Partners as the school district’s health insurance carrier for two years, commencing July 1. Related to this, the district became a participating member of Sourcewell’s political subdivision joint self-insurance pool named The Better Health Collective.
- Accepted the proposal from Johnson Controls to upgrade an outdated heating system, including software and controls, at the school. The project is not to exceed $61,500.
- Accepted a $1,500 donation from the Menahga VFW to the robotics team and $2,500 from the Day Family Foundation to go towards the batting cage.
- Approved these coaching assignments: Cody Pulju, head baseball; Josh Roiko, asst. golf; Paul Funk and Holly Westad, asst. baseball; Lindsey White and Mackenzie Zetah, junior high softball; Logan Redetzke, asst. softball; Kris Koll and Ryan Hill, junior high baseball; and Hope McAdow, junior class advisor.
- Approved paraprofessional assignments for Robyn Keranen, beginning March 8, and Amanda Lake, beginning March 6.
- Accepted letters of resignation from junior class advisor Holly Westad, effective March 8; and paraprofessional Katie Lenzen, effective March 16, 2023.
- Approved a student council field trip to ThunderRoad and Holiday Inn in Fargo from April 29-30.
- Tabled a request from Tanya Carney to start a Menahga Drama Club for grades 5-8. She estimated yearly costs at $1,800 to $2,500 for scripts, royalties, costuming, set design and a director stipend.
- Learned that Michael Weerts filed an appeal with the Minnesota State High School League to move or keep Menahga’s programs in Class A.
Kindergarten Round Up will be held Monday, April 3.
The next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17 at the high school media center.