San Diego Unified's Special Needs Roadeo team of Robelyn Watson and her attendant, Cindy Wrightcame, in third in the recent National Special Needs Team Roadeo in Frisco, Tx.
Watson, a State Certified Instructor who is an Extraboard School Bus Driver, and Wright, also a State Certified Instructor who is an Instructor for San Diego Unified, are part of the district's Transportation Department team, which transports thousands of students daily with special needs or students changing schools under the federal No Child Left Behind act. The department has a history of victory in regional Roadeos -- organized competitions between districts to show school bus drivers' skill and safety.
The competition tests the skills and knowledge of the driver and attendant in a variety of written and drive tests focusing on special needs understanding.
Some of the areas of knowledge tested are wheelchair securement, manufacturing and laws; pupil management of special needs students; car seat knowledge and securement; safe emergency evacuation from an imaginary fire on the bus; pre-trip of the school bus (which is required of every bus driven every day by every driver!); driving skills (while managing unruly passengers!) and a written test that requires the contestants to research a variety of disabilities, laws and special need knowledge.
The focus of the competition is to learn and improve the skills of the drivers and attendants. The competition is sponsored by the National Association of Pupil Transportation and School Transportation News.
Teams from throughout the US came to Texas to participate. Robelyn and Cindy look forward to participating again in 2014. Robelyn will be competing in the Special Needs category soon in the California Association of School Transportation Officials Southern Sectional Roadeo in Apple Valley. She will be joined by the rest of San Diego Unified's Roadeo team, who compete in the categories of Transit or Conventional and Special Needs school bus.