- Cleveland Metropolitan School District
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Dr. Morgan’s Listening Tour gets on the Bus (Video)
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
On a cold November morning before the crack of dawn, CMSD CEO Dr. Warren Morgan boarded yellow school bus 519 to gain a firsthand perspective of what going to school is like for a driver and students.
Grace Watkins, a driver for almost 10 years, freely shared with Dr. Morgan, what she feels can be improved with school transportation.
“We need monitors on the bus to assist us with these children,” she said as she drove to pick up Daniel E. Morgan PreK-8 students.
She went on to say she cannot keep looking back in the mirror to see if students are behaving while also safely driving the bus.
“What if a child is choking? How am I supposed to know? Where am I supposed to pull over safely? How can you expect that of a driver?” Watkins asked Dr. Morgan.
The bus ride is a part of Dr. Morgan Listen and Learn tour, where he is asking staff, educators, students, community partners and the public to share what they believe is working well in the district and what can be improved.
Watkins said she likes the edition of cameras and Edulog, an app that allows parents to track their child while on the bus.
She said she takes pride in her work of transporting children to and from school safely. But she adds that bus drivers want more communication about if a student is on an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or those that have behavioral or mental health issues.
“I need to know who is behind me,” Watkins told Dr. Morgan. “I need to know if they are triggered by loud noises or other people.”
Watkins also told Dr. Morgan that her goal to make sure that both she and her students make it to their destination safely.
Later in the day, Dr. Morgan got on the number 26 RTA bus in front of the Garrett Morgan High School Campus.
CMSD is an open-enrollment district which allows students to attend the school of their choice regardless of their address.
Demanuel, an 11th grader at Garrett Morgan School of Engineering and Innovation, lives in the Hough neighborhood. He told Dr. Morgan he travels on two buses for an hour each way to get to school.
“The buses run on time,” Demanuel told Dr. Morgan as they rode the crowded bus after school.
He said he has not experienced any problems on RTA. However, he said one of his friends once felt she was being followed and called him.
Dr. Morgan told the students he appreciates them shedding light on what it is like to travel on public transportation.
He assured them that CMSD is working with RTA to ensure students can travel safely to and from school.
Many students who attend the two high schools located on the Garrett Morgan campus live across town. That means they face a considerable daily commute.