Saturday November 18 As of 11/13/23. Subject to change.

Special Training

8 a.m – 2 p.m.

Roadeo Competition

(Lunch served)

Location: Frisco ISD – Transportation Stadium

Team registration and a written test required.

Presented by WIT. (Women in Transportation.)

All participating driver and attendant teams must download and complete the Roadeo Competition Knowledge Test before arriving to the event. Bring a copy of the completed test to turn in on-site. 

Are you passionate about special needs transportation, growing as a professional, and networking with others who do what you do from across the nation? Then forma team and plan to participate in this event!

The Roadeo Competition, presented by School Transportation News in partnership with wit. (Women in Transportation), consists of driver-attendant teams, and there is no pre-requisite to participate. All are welcome, whether or not you have participated in another driver-attendant competition in your state or district. The goal of this competition is to help you increase your knowledge of special needs transportation. 

NEW THIS YEAR: Past roadeo competitors, former winners and/or those just wanting to take a chance as independents, may sign up for the first ever ROADEO SHOOT-OUT: Register as an independent on the registration form (link below) and be randomly matched with another driver/attendant upon arrival. 

Special Training

9 a.m– 4 p.m.

Hands-on School Bus Evacuations for Students with Special Needs & Preschoolers

Instructors: Denny Coughlin, Launi Harden, Aaron Harris & Diandra Neugent

Location: Frisco ISD Transportation West

Description: Obtain a better understanding of evacuation best practices and know-how to properly and quickly get students of all ages off the bus before they even board. This all-day training will take place at Prosper ISD. Transportation will be provided. It will combine classroom instruction with hands-on practice on real buses. Learn the importance of knowing student information and their individual capabilities, training students and staff, the role of dispatchers, creating seating charts, and developing an evacuation. The hands-on training includes a blanket drag, belt cutting, wheelchairs, and timed evacuation in a bus filled with theater smoke to simulate a fire.

Maximum of 32 participants | Separate registration and fees required

Breakout Session

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Lessons Learned from Corrective Action Plans

Speakers: Jennie Wu with Robbin Marshall & Denise Mabry

Location: Frisco 1

Description: This session examines how Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) entered into and was able to exit a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Transportation Corrective Action Plan.  City Schools will present the actions taken to change systemic transportation noncompliance to compliance through system reform, communication, and collaboration across multiple departments in City Schools to ensure safer and more effective transportation for students with disabilities.   

Breakout Session

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Making Non-Yellow School Bus Transportation as Safe as Possible for Children

Speakers: Ryan Gray with Teresa Fleming & John Fergerson

Location: Frisco 2

Description: More student transporters are turning to alternative modes of transportation to get students with disabilities and who are experiencing homelessness to and from school. But these vehicles are not school buses, and the regulations for drivers may not be as strict. A result is school districts find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they try to fulfill service needs for the students while also doing so in the safest and most cost-effective manner and addressing driver shortages. Ahead of National Congress on Student Transportation deliberations in 2025 to create standardized best-practices, leaders of a large, urban district and a smaller, rural district discus the similar and dissimilar challenges as well as benefits for their departments and the students.

Breakout Session

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

When, Why & How? Documenting Policies & Procedures for Transporting Special Student Population

Speakers: Fred Doelker with Alemnesh Allen & Peggy Stone

Location: Ranger/Sea Biscuit/Traveller

Description: Things happen. How and when do they impact your operation’s policies and procedures? This panel will discuss what issues and topics constitute the necessity for written documentation, the impact of staff training and professional development, and when the documentation should result in updated or new departmental policies.


10:30 a.m – 12 p.m.

Problematic Sexual Behaviors on Special Needs Routes

Keynote Speaker: Shelley Rutledge

Location: Frisco 1

DescriptionResearch indicates that people with disabilities are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than their non-disabled peers. Through regular training derived from research, best practices and state and federal statutes, student transporters can keep children safe from being attacked and exploited on school buses and in other vehicles. Join school psychologist and sexual incident response expert Shelley Rutledge to learn how to improve transportation outcomes through fostering an awareness of sexual development and common sexual behaviors that occur on buses and other vehicles.

Sponsored by BYD | RIDE

Lunch & Learn

12:15 p.m – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch & Learn: Leveraging Technology for Better Special Needs Transportation

Lunch reserved for Main Conference Attendees

Speaker: Zach Moren with Cody Cox, Jim Nestico, Josh Schiffler, & Amy Tiedens

Location: Frisco 2

Lunch & presentation by Transfinder

Breakout Session

1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Innovative Use of Attendants & Monitors on School Bus Routes:

Speakers: Ryan Gray with Cody Cox, Arby Creach, and Teresa Fleming

Location: Frisco 1

Description: Hear from three transportation leaders about how and why they implemented bus monitors/aides across their operations to more effectively provide services to students with disabilities. How have their decisions improved safety and impacted departmental bottom lines?

Breakout Session

1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Electric School Bus Implications on Special Needs Service

Speakers: Jessica Keither with Michael Hogains, Steven Mentzer, and Peggy Stone

Location: Frisco 2

Description: Electric school buses are rife with possibilities as well as challenges. For students with special needs, the air quality benefits are obvious. These buses also produce a quieter ride, which can benefit students who have various physical and emotional conditions as well as the bus driver and monitor(s). But range anxiety is especially worrisome for special needs routes that can take longer than other routes as well as require additional equipment that can drain the batteries faster.


Breakout Session

1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Impact on the Ride: Knowing & Understanding the 13 Student Characteristics of Exceptional Ability

Speakers: Terri Drca

Location: Ranger/Sea Biscuit/Traveller

Description: Have you ever wondered what to do when a student struggles on the bus? Have you ever wanted to know how to avoid or minimize inappropriate or dangerous behavior by helping students regulate? In this session, you will learn HOW different disabilities affect students, WHY they might engage in inappropriate behavior on the bus, and WHAT to do about it. 

Breakout Session

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Routing & Other Solutions to Reduce Excessive Ride Times:

Speakers: Ryan Gray with Alemnesh Allen, Kala Henkensiefken, & Peggy Stone

Location: Frisco 1

Description: Student transporters in Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia discuss the challenges they face with lengthy student ride time and how they use a variety of tools at their disposal to improve outcomes for the children, their parents and transportation staff. Technology and old-fashioned rolling up of the sleeves play equal roles. Be prepared to share how your operation is dealing with long ride times.

Breakout Session

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Teamwork Necessary to Overcome Challenging Transportation Scenarios

Speakers: Laura Beth Blankenship & Ryan Dillingham

Location: Frisco 2

Description: Transportation stakeholders at Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tennessee share how teamwork and near-constant communication has led to overcoming a number of perplexing situations when attempting to transport the district’s students with disabilities.

Breakout Session

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Lessons Learned from Wheelchair Crash Tests

Speakers: Miriam Manary

Location: Ranger/Sea Bisuit/Traveller

Description: Learn the “whys” behind proper use of wheelchair tie-downs and occupant protection systems. This session will give participants insights into the importance of best practice in wheelchair transportation safety and will show crash videos that document the consequences of misuse. The content offers new ways to explain the importance of “doing it right” to colleagues, students and families. 

Trade Show

6 p.m – 8:30 p.m.

Trade Show + Tailgate Reception

Description: This special networking event takes place on the trade show floor and enables exhibitors to highlight products and services. Exhibitors can connect with attendees in a more relaxed atmosphere, complete with food and drink stations spread out on the trade show floor.

Sponsored by Besi, Edulog, Gatekeeper, IC Bus, & Transfinder, & Tyler Technologies

IC Bus
Tyler Tech

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!