CASTLE ROCK – If there is one hint, above others signaling the beginning of a new school year, it is the hundreds of school buses now be seen cruising through neighborhoods and main streets of Douglas County.
Before the yellow and black beauties hit the streets this month, there was another sign that summer was ending—the annual transportation back to school meeting.
The event held on Friday August 3, was a chance to round up the more than 400 staff members and provide them with training to help ensure safety for the upcoming year, not to mention updated on all of the latest regulations.
“We try to put on classes that will enrich their year,” DCSD Fleet Manager Lance Yoxsimer said. “There are things that are relevant, changes in rules and regulations. For instance, we had the Department of Education come in this year to teach about distracted driving and the cell phone ban.”
The event also provided a great opportunity for staff members who are usually spread across the District, in the department’s three bus terminals, to meet each other and strengthen team bonds.
“We like to recognize all of the people that make this possible—office staff, mechanics, drivers, the educational assistants. It's just not possible without everybody,” Yoxsimer said.
DCSD’s Transportation department got a little pep talk from someone who knows a little something about teamwork—former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. Number 77 not only spoke to the staff about playing with football great John Elway, but about the difference lesser-known athletes had on the team.
Yoxsimer says Mecklenburg was chosen because of that message.
“We have a lot of individuals out in the field everyday,” Yoxsimer said. “We can give them a message to carry with them every day, to impact a child or to impact someone they work around.”
“When you're the first person and the last person that 13,000 kids see everyday, you better believe you make a difference,” he added.
Yoxsimer says that while there have been challenges for Transportation because of the economy and the resulting budget constraints, they want employees to know their work is appreciated.
“We want Douglas County employees to know that they do make a difference and we do notice,” Yoxsimer said. “It's so hard whenever you work in an organization this big, sometimes it's really hard to get to that single person and let them know that we do notice and that we do care. This is one way we can extend that message.”