• 55°

Love the bus: School system celebrates bus drivers

By Rebecca Rider


SALISBURY — This week, Rowan-Salisbury Schools tipped its hat to education’s “unsung heroes”: bus drivers.

“A lot of times what they do kind of goes unnoticed,” Transportation Director Tim Beck said.

February is “Love the Bus” month, and the past week was Bus Driver Appreciation Week. Each day, the 250 bus drivers work to ferry 10,000 students to and from school on about 185 buses.

“That’s a huge accomplishment,” Beck said.

Schools throughout the district have been celebrating in different ways, hosting breakfasts, providing gift bags or just taking the time to celebrate the wheels that keep schools moving forward. Beck said CiCi’s Pizza donated a free buffet card to each driver.

On Friday morning, Superintendent Lynn Moody paid a personal visit to bus drivers at Shive Elementary School in Rockwell to express her appreciation.

Shive Assistant Principal Scotty Adcock said the school’s bus drivers cover a combined 250 miles daily and have nearly 200 years of experience among them.

Bus drivers are the first school employee students see in the morning and the last one they see at the end of the day, Moody said. Their ability to not only get students to and from school safely but also to build relationships with them is invaluable, she said.

“They set the tone for the entire day,” she said.

Moody spent the morning shadowing a Shive bus driver, hopping aboard Jill Kovach’s Bus 168 at Rockwell Elementary and riding its Shive route.

“If you want to get an understanding of all the kids we serve, you really need to ride the bus,” Moody said.

As each child boarded the bus, Kovach would greet them by name and ask if the student had told his parents that it was an early-release day. If a child was missing from a group getting on, she asked about him or her.

Bus drivers have a lot of responsibility, Moody said. They’re singlehandedly in charge of keeping order among nearly 60 students while still driving safely and following required procedures.

Moody said she knew having the superintendent as a passenger only added to the pressure, but she said that Kovach was “very cordial” and the bus ride was a joy — with students singing “Happy Birthday” to each other and chattering despite the early hour.

Moody said she is grateful she has the opportunity to work with people who care so much about children.

For Beck, Bus Driver Appreciation Week is a chance to shine the spotlight on a group of people who are often left out. Beck said he always sees signs giving thanks to or praising teachers, but people tend to forget about bus drivers. He said he is happy for the chance to let the public know that bus drivers play a vital role in schools.

“Education starts and stops at transportation,” he said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 


High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title


Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game


County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money


Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury


At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’


COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary


More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot


City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year


Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots


Quotes of the week


Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days


Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site


City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide


City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras


Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week


Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant




Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers


COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight


Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’


West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest


YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training