Dr. Thurman's Transportation Update - First Week of School

Posted on 08/13/2018

As we prepare for afternoon dismissal, I have a few reminders for our parents. First of all, thank you to all of our bus drivers! If you are interested in becoming a member of our transportation team, please contact us and we will get you started with training. 

The first few afternoons are always the most challenging for our transportation department. I wish I could guarantee that we are not going to have a few challenges, but we anticipate transporting over 5,000 students this afternoon on 90 bus routes and it is going to take a couple days to get things where we want them. A few things are certain; buses are going to run late the first few days. Please do not stress if the bus is 45 minutes later than last May. It gets better every day. 

While I’m sharing information on our transportation department, let me explain our shuttle system so that everyone understands how it operates. Instead of bringing all 90 buses into the center of the district, we shuttle many of those students, primarily students from the Cabot Freshman Academy and Cabot High School, to the south zone of the district. In other words, they will ride a shuttle bus to a school in the south zone and then board their primary bus for the trip home. Basically, the buses are working together to get kids home every afternoon in the most efficient way possible. When you hear your student talk about switching buses, that is why.  

Now, let’s talk about the trip home the next few days. We are going to have students on the wrong bus the first few afternoons. Those decrease every day. I’m a parent and I know how stressful it can be when we expect our child to exit the bus and they do not. What I can tell you is that we are not going anywhere until we get every child home safely. If your child does not exit the bus, you need to call our transportation center hotline at 501-743-3531. We are able to communicate with every driver immediately, and we will not leave until we make sure every student is home safely. 

I will be posting updates on Twitter (@DrTCabot) this afternoon regarding late buses and other important information. All of this information, including the call center number (501-743-3531) can be found on our website at www.cabotschools.org.

Regarding the challenges we face with crowded buses, we adjust routes over the summer based on the data that is received from registration of new students and returning students. We have software that shows us how many students live in a particular area. We may have some students who will not ride the bus until the second or third day of school. That’s okay, we have always worked it out in the past and we’ll do the same thing this year.

The challenge in knowing how many students live in a particular area is the fact that we don’t know who will actually ride the bus, so it takes some time to balance the routes. There is a good chance that we will have crowded buses for the first few days. Our drivers are aware to let us know if they are overcrowded and we’ll start working on it immediately.  

How do we work on it?  For every bus that is crowded, keep in mind that we have other buses that have seats open and we just have to identify those and make changes. It just takes time to figure out how to best adjust the routes to make it comfortable for everyone. Sometimes this means changing multiple buses depending on the best route flow for a bus. The bottom line is that we start working on those issues as soon as drivers tell us there is a problem, and it’s not always something that we can fix immediately.  

Another issue every year is the air conditioning on buses. Thank goodness the temperature this first week of school doesn’t look as bad as we’ve had in past years. Now, just because a bus has an air unit, it doesn’t mean that the bus is going to be cold. It doesn’t matter how hard the unit is blowing, when we are stopping every half-mile for 45 minutes and the door is opening each time, it’s not going to be that cool. We have instructed drivers to lower the windows even if the air unit is blowing if it is not comfortable on the bus.  

Finally, I’ve already mentioned the need for bus drivers. It takes a special person to drive a school bus. Please do everything you can to reinforce to your child that for their safety and their friends on the bus, they need to follow the directions of the driver at all times. It’s tough navigating traffic, monitoring kids entering and exiting the bus, while at the same time keeping a check on the passengers. Please encourage your child to just make good decisions. Let me reinforce that riding a school bus is a privilege and not a right. Students need to be reminded that if they are disruptive on the bus, they will lose the privilege to ride.  

Let’s have a good first week of school and that includes the bus trip to and from home! Thank you to our drivers for all they do, and thanks to our parents for being patient and supportive.  

Have a good rest of the week! 

Dr. Tony Thurman
Superintendent, Cabot Public Schools

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Cabot Public Schools

Elementary Schools (Grades PreK-4)

Central Elementary
36 Pond Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3564
Fax: (501) 843-4503
Eastside Elementary
17 Bellamy Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3563
Fax: (501) 843-5619
Magness Creek Elementary
16150 Arkansas Hwy 5, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3565
Fax: (501) 843-7567
Mountain Springs Elementary
3620 Mountain Springs
Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3575
Fax: (501) 605-1300
Northside Elementary
814 West Locust Street,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3568
Fax: (501) 843-6032
Southside Elementary
2600 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3567
Fax: (501) 843-6229
Stagecoach Elementary
850 South Stagecoach Road,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3574
Fax: (501) 605-1221
Ward Central Elementary
1570 Wilson Loop Road,
Ward, AR 72176
(501) 743-3569
Fax: (501) 843-9744
Westside Elementary
1701 South Second Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3566
Fax: (501) 843-5802

High School (Grades 10-12)

Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 843-3562
Fax: (501) 843-4231

Academic Center of Excellence
(Grades 7-12)

Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3520
Fax: (501) 843-0283

Cabot Freshman Academy

Cabot Freshman Academy
18 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3576
Fax: (501) 941-1505

ACE North
(Grades 9-12)

401 North Lincoln, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3546
Fax: (501) 941-3156

Special Programs

404 North 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 743-3543
Fax: (501) 941-2613

Cabot Learning Academy

Cabot Learning Academy
813 West Locust, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3540
Fax: (501) 843-3138

Central Administrative Office

602 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 843-3363
Fax: (501)843-0576

Middle Schools (Grades 5-6)

Cabot Middle School North
1900 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3571
Fax: (501) 605-0413

Cabot Middle School South
2555 Kerr Station Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3570
Fax: (501) 941-7432

Junior High Schools
(Grades 7-8)

Cabot Junior High North
38 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3572
Fax: (501) 605-8472

Cabot Junior High South
38 Panther Trail, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3573
Fax: (501) 941-7746