P. O. BOX 2120

March 23, 2001

TO:  Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:  Special Education Transportation Symposium

The Department of Education is pleased to announce the third annual symposium on special education transportation, May 6-7, 2001, at the Doubletree Hotel in Charlottesville.

The transportation of infants, toddlers, and students with special needs is a major component of public school transportation programs. Many students with special needs are transported on specially equipped school buses to and from schools in the Commonwealth. In addition, a number of children under the age of 5 are transported to programs offered by school divisions. This symposium will address the issues that school divisions face in transporting these special needs children. Information about this symposium has been sent to the director of transportation in your school division.

The Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation (VAPT) is sponsoring a ROAD-E-O for drivers of specially equipped school buses. On Sunday evening, school divisions will be given a manual entitled "Special Drivers for Special Children." This is a new training manual for drivers of buses equipped for transporting children with special needs. Monday’s program will include speakers and break-out sessions on discipline, developing handbooks and parent brochures, and updates on federal regulations. The symposium will conclude at 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

A federal grant allows the Department of Education to cover lodging and meal expenses for one person from each school division. Additional staff may attend at the expense of the school division; however, the hotel will limit participants to a total of 200 people. The department may be able to reimburse lodging and meal expenses for additional representatives from each school division after the registration of participants is complete. School divisions will be responsible for all other expenses.

Participants who should be considered for the symposium include a special education administrator, a transportation administrator, a technician/mechanic, school bus driver trainer, and a school principal in charge of discipline. We hope to be able to include everyone who wants to attend; however, because the facility can accommodate a maximum of 200 participants, school divisions may be asked to reduce the number of individuals attending.

If you have any questions concerning this symposium, please contact Ms. June Eanes, director of support services, at (804) 225-2037.