Friday November 17 As of 11/6/23. Subject to change.

General Session

8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Transportation Director Leadership in Special Needs + 2023 TD of the Year Award

Facilitator: Ryan Gray

Panelists: Teresa Fleming, Kayne Smith & Jennifer Vobis

Location: Frisco 2

Description: Four of the last six winners of the School Transportation News Transportation Director of the Year Award share how they provide or provided leadership for their special needs operations amid increasing pressures of staff shortages, the number of student riders needing services and programs competing for budget dollars.

Sponsored by Blue Bird

Blue Bird

9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Transportation of Special Education Students: Avoiding the Bumps and Legal Hazards

Keynote By Betsey Helfrich

Location: Frisco 2

DescriptionIn this fast-paced presentation, special education attorney Betsey Helfrich, will examine school transportation from a legal perspective.  From a review of recent case law to current hot-topics, this presentation will dive into the legalities of the transportation of students with disabilities.  From aides on buses to sharing information with the transportation department, this presentation will include practical tips that you need to know to minimize liability and keep students safe.

Sponsored by First Student

First Student
General Session

11:00 a.m – 12:15 p.m.

Applying Lessons Learned from Susavage v Bucks Intermediate

Speakers: Betsey Helfrich, John Benish, Peggy Burns, & Susan Shutrump

Location: Frisco 2

Description: The 2002 decision in Susavage v. Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit 22 set the precedent in transportation of students with disabilities that school districts are not absolved of liability simply because they use a school bus contractor. If fact, they are held to an even higher standard of compliance and training oversight. Yet similar though slightly different incidents of students choking to death on school buses continue to occur, most recently in July. Legal and training experts discuss the ramifications for school districts that fail to ensure not only internal staff but also that of third-party contractors are properly trained and supervised, to avoid future deaths and injuries occurring to students like Cynthia Susavage and Fajr Williams. Their deaths cannot be in vain.


12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Lunch & Learn: It’s not just Environmentally Sustainable: Propane in Student Transportation

Facilitator: Stephen Whaley

Panelists: John Benish, Terry Gleaton, & Josh Schiffler

Location: Frisco 1

Description: Student transportation directors need options to diesel powered buses and they need cooperation and support from their chief mechanics, chief financial officers, and superintendents for adoption to these alternatives. Steve Whaley of the Propane Education & Research Council will facilitate a discussion with panelists from each of these positions for transportation directors to learn how to get buy in from everyone to launch a successful transition to a financially and environmentally sustainable solution.

Lunch reserved for Main Conference Attendees

Lunch & presentation by the Propane Education & Research Council

Special Training

2:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.

Wheelchair Securement Hands-On Training

Instructor: Trisha Nolan

Location: Frisco 1

Description: Receive instruction from Q’Straint/Sure-Lok representatives on proper securement of wheelchairs in school buses. This class is a refresher class for TSD Roadeo contestants as well as main conference attendees.

Separate registration is NOT required

Presented by Q’Straint & Sure-Lok

Q'Straint & Sure-Lok

2:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

OT/PT/Transporter Forum

Speaker: Laura Blankenship, Kala Henkensiefken, Miriam Manary, & Susan Shutrump

Location: Frisco 2

Breakout Session

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Proper CSRS Selection Dependent Upon the Student Served & Vehicle Used

Speakers: Denise Donaldson & Jackie Leach

Location: Ranger/Sea Biscuit/Traveller

Description: Enhanced training of staff is necessary for the proper installation of child safety restraint systems in non-school bus vehicles as well as the securement of larger students than in the past.

Breakout Topics As of 7/6/23. Subject to change.

  • Foundations of Special Needs & Preschool Transportaiton
  • When to Update Policies & Procedures … and Ensure Accuracy
  • Routing to Reduce Excessive Student Ride Times
  • How to Avoid Intra-District Communication Failures Across
  • Training & Support for Transporting Medically Fragile Students
  • OT/PT/Transporter Forum
  • Emergency Evacuation Training
  • Weighing Compensatory Versus Denial of Services
  • Funding 101
  • Systemic Impact of Case Law on Transporting Students with Special Needs
  • Case Studies in Innovation
  • Proper CSRS Selection When Its Not Just School Bus
  • Lessons Learned from ‘Dumb’ Decisions
  • Developing Allies on IEP & Assessment Teams
  • Making Transportation Advocates Out of Principals and Teachers
  • Problematic Sexual Behaviors on Special Needs Routes
  • Why Aren't CSRS Used When They Should Be?

And more!