The Ferndale School District Transportation Department has earned a 100% Efficiency Rating from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) via the Student Transportation Allocation Reporting System (STARS).
Per the OSPI website, STARS is used for distributing operations funding for school district transportation and providing an evaluation of relative efficiency. The efficiency of school district transportation operations are rated each year by OSPI utilizing STARS data and other data that shapes district characteristics.
"I am surrounded by exceptional professional talent," Director of Transportation Paul Rosser said. "Clearly there has been tremendous effort by people, such as former director Kelly Johnson, administrative assistant Tami Frost, dispatchers Lewann Eggert and Rick Berry, head mechanic Mike Burrous, our bus drivers and many others who contribute to transportation. This is a wonderful accomplishment."
Efficiency Ratings, based on data from the previous school year, are provided at the end of each February and are available on the OSPI website. The district submits student ridership and other transportation information three times a year, all of which contribute to OSPI reports.
"STARS is our transportation bread and butter for working with OSPI as it relates to funding," Rosser said. "However, there is a lot of other important work done by our transportation department with drivers, students, parents, staff and administrators."
Transportation Team Feature: Bus Dispatch Team
Many individuals, groups and processes are integral to the operation of the Ferndale School District Transportation Department. Dispatchers Lewann Eggert and Rick Berry are one such team central to the district's transportation operation.
As dispatchers, Eggert and Berry work with information databases, radio communication and phone communication to communicate and coordinate with bus drivers, school staff and families to ensure the safe and timely transport of students. The dispatch team also plans bus routes.
"That's the nerve center of transportation operation," Rosser said about the dispatchers. "Rick and Lewann are a dynamic pair."
Approximately 50 buses depart and return to the district's transportation headquarters each school day. Bus departures to school campuses during the morning and afternoon roll-outs follow a specific organized order and include radio communication from buses to the dispatch center to acknowledge buses are on time and departing to assigned locations.
In addition to daily bus routes transporting students to and from schools, the dispatch team coordinates and communicates about bus assignments to transport students to field trips, athletic events, music programs and others activities. Eggert and Berry have past experience as bus drivers themselves, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to their work as dispatchers.
"It takes a lot of coordination, but it works well as we communicate and all work together," Berry said. "I enjoy the energy of the job - there are smooth days and there are busy days when there is quite a bit going on."
At the dispatch center, a chart board detailing bus numbers, drivers, AM and PM routes, special assignments and related notes exemplifies the coordination and organization integral to the bus transportation operation. In the dispatch office, radio calls between Berry and Eggert to bus drivers and phone communication with schools and families assist in keeping all parties up to date.
"When everything is coordinated, it's like a well-played orchestra," Eggert said. "I love my job and all of the multi-tasking, the kids, the drivers and the school district.”
Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn shared her appreciation for the work of the Ferndale School District Transportation Department.
“Our transportation department does exceptional work in providing safe and timely transport of our students,” Quinn said. “Thank you to all of our hard-working transportation staff.”