Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) Empowers School Bus Drivers to Help Combat Trafficking

I’m fortunate to be able to travel and attend school bus events, trade shows, and activities across the country. When I come across a program that really makes a difference, I do what I can to get that message out. This is a message that everyone in the transportation industry should receive.

Busing on the Lookout

There are inherently hard topics to talk about or even acknowledge. Human trafficking is one of those topics. Until the 2018 NAPT and NASDPTS Conferences, human trafficking was something I’ve only seen in movies. The reality is that trafficking happens every day and in every corner of the United States (and the World).

  • According to, since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received reports of 34,700 sex trafficking cases inside the United States.
  • Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.8 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
Annie Sovcik

Annie Sovcik, the Program Director for Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), presented to State Directors at the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS) Conference AND again to delegates at the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Conference. She also took to the Trade Show floor with DVDs and program materials to relay the message to as many willing ears as possible. The pupil transportation industry, from district to state levels, is already embracing this training.


Busing on the Lookout (BOTL) is a logical expansion of the extremely successful Truckers Against Trafficking training geared toward truck drivers. The program for commercial and school bus drivers broadens the network of observing and reporting individuals that law enforcement organizations rely on to recover victims and make arrests.

From the BOTL website: When building an army to fight a crime like human trafficking, the bus industry has a key role to fill. Through their sheer numbers, extensive travels, and the nature of their jobs, members of the bus industry—commercial and school—are uniquely positioned to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement in recovering victims and arresting traffickers.

This is a free training program and certification that should be completed by, frankly, everyone – especially if you frequently travel, are involved in the transportation industry, or are around children. In order to complete the BOTL certification program, you must register, watch the video, and take a short quiz. My personal experience is that it’s a painless registration process to access the material and well worth the effort considering the training empowers YOU to take steps that could end up saving a life.

  • Take action and complete the training.
  • Tell your Safety and Training Coordinator about BOTL training and certification.
  • Help make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.

TL;DR: Take the free Busing on The Lookout (BOTL) training to learn how to recognize and report human trafficking. Free Training.

Posted in Blog, Online Training, Pupil Transportation on November 26th, 2018. No Comments.

Reasons to Ride a Bicycle

 My Five Reasons to Ride a Bicycle

May is National Bike Month,Cyclists on the road riding bicycles sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to ride a bicycle.

As an avid cyclist, I like to promote this month as a public service. There are a lot of people, vehicles, and hazards on the road. This month, please be especially aware of your surroundings and safely share the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, automobiles, school buses, and everyone else trying to get from his/her “Point A” to “Point B.” In the spirit of National Bike Month, I  present my Five Great Reasons to Ride a Bicycle!

To save money.

Have you ever really thought about your options for transportation? Many people drive an automobile. Some people ride a bus. Carpool. Taxi. Uber. Walking. Bicycling. Most of these methods cost money, consistently. Gas is not free. Vehicle maintenance costs money. Bus pass. Taxi fees. Uber. While there is an up-front cost of buying a bicycle and tune-ups every now and then, there isn’t as much consistent spending to pedal your way to the office.A cyclist on the road riding a bicycle

To be healthier.

I personally started cycling to be healthier. I needed to loose weight and exercise. I was also stressed out, most of the time. Today, I live a much more active lifestyle. While weight control is a constant battle, the reduced stress from exercise and cycling is automatic. There is also the release of endorphins. These brain chemicals aid in the relaxation and reduction of stress. It is the same concept as a runner’s high or Adrenalin rush.

To have fun.

There are many times when it is just fun to be on a bicycle. Whether you are riding with friends, enjoying a solitary couple of miles, or experiencing Nature on a mountain bike trail. At first, you’ll remember times as a kid and the nostalgia will be present. As you spend more time on you bike, new memories and experiences will become the focus.

Cyclists on the road riding bicycles

To enjoy the weather.

Most people spend a lot of time indoors during the week because of work. I like to savor those odd times outside. A morning ride to work, for me, is often cool and crisp with the sun rising. An evening ride home is a completely different experience with the sun starting to set. Sun. Wind. Birds. Trees. Flowers. It’s a great time of year to be outside.

To support the greater cycling community.

This time of year especially, I like to ride to support the greater cycling community. The more people who ride, help the mode of transportation to become more favorable and more recognized.


Cyclists are held to the same vehicle laws as motorized vehicles. When you are cycling on the road, obey the law and stay safe. If you are driving and see a cyclist, give them room and slow down.

 Cyclists aren’t there to hinder your travel.
They are there because of their own 5 reasons.

They are a Husband, Father, Brother, Son, or Grandfather to someone.

They are a Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, or Grandmother to someone.

Always share the road safely.

For more information about National Bike Month, visit the League of American Bicyclists.


Posted in Blog, Sharing the Road on May 2nd, 2016. No Comments.

Fixing The Certified School Bus Driver Drought

School Training Solutions is fortunate to get great guest bloggers. Today, Frank Smith with American Bus Sales, provides excellent insight into the school bus driver shortage that is being experienced across the country.


 How To Fix The Certified School Bus Driver Drought


School Bus Driver Drought
Copyright: leekris / 123RF Stock Photo

School is back in session across most of the nation, but that doesn’t mean school administrators are lacking fires to put out and problems to solve. Many schools are still struggling to find school bus drivers to adequately staff the number of routes they need to get students home in an efficient and safe manner.

Driver shortages fueled by a combination of factors including shrinking budgets and industry competition are causing many school districts to be forced to cut down on routes and services. This can lead to dangerous situations such as bus overcrowding and long trips in extreme weather.

In some regions, one of the biggest reasons for driver shortages is competition from the oil field and a lack of certified drivers to fill the needed positions. Districts with tight budgets have no means of competing against oil field transportation jobs that pay well and provide benefits. Even when they find applicants with a safe driving record and clean background check, the applicants often lack a CDL and other certifications needed to drive school vehicles.

The cost and time needed to train these drivers can make the prospect of hiring and properly training and certifying unlicensed applicants prohibitive for many schools, limiting their hiring options further.

School Bus Driver Drought
Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo

Thankfully, some districts have found there is a cost effective, customized solution to get potential drivers thoroughly and properly trained without having to manage the steep costs of classroom training. While it still requires a significant time investment, online training such as the courses offered from School Training Solutions and Oklahoma Association for Pupil Transportation (OAPT) is flexible enough to help schools get trained and safe drivers behind the wheels helping children get to and from school without incident every day.

Rather than relying on a set schedule of lengthy classroom sessions to train drivers, online training allows potential school transportation employees to approach training on their own schedule. That means not only can schools use the program to expedite committed applicants to get them driving routes sooner rather than later, but those taking the programs will also receive more hands-on, active training than is typically found in a classroom setting.

Districts don’t have to wait for a large enough pool to form to necessitate classes to get drivers trained, and there’s no more traveling or trying to squeeze an extended class session into a busy schedule. The training is always available for people who have the time.

School Training Solutions works directly with states and school districts to provide a customized program that specifically meets the training needs of individual districts and their drivers, providing a more comprehensive and effective training solution so both districts and drivers are happier with the training process and results.

The comprehensive programs also help drivers learn to handle factors that lead to high turnover rates for districts, such as child behavior on the bus.

Dealing with rambunctious children on a daily basis can be highly stressful to drivers improperly trained to handle these situations. This can result in a high turnover rates and unsafe situations onboard. However, better training solutions can largely avoid these problems by providing drivers a lower stress environment and resolving behavioral problems before they lead to dangerous situations.

While online training can be highly effective for working to fill a driver shortage, it also has several benefits that will provide a safer and more reliable fleet all around. Buses live longer when driven by better trained operators, and School Training Solutions’ training is built to help drivers learn the best practices for extending a vehicle’s life.

While it is easy to forget the simple practices such as proper braking and thorough inspection processes when they aren’t reinforced, complete documentation and reporting can help administrators pinpoint drivers’ weaknesses and more effectively provide positive reinforcement to improve problem areas.

Online training from School Training Solutions is an effective solution for schools struggling to fill the routes needed to get children to and from school safely and efficiently. Its numerous benefits and flexible design also make it a valuable option for all districts needing to prepare new employees for duty or to help veteran employees brush up for recertification.

Thank you for the blog post, Frank!

Frank Smith can be reached at American Bus Sales.
America Bus Sales is always available to help you meet your transportation and fleet needs!

American Bus Sales


Posted in Blog on September 9th, 2015. No Comments.

School Training Solutions – Booth 18


Look for Mark at today’s Trade Show in Missouri. He’s in booth 18 with a ton of online training information for our Missouri friends!

Posted in Blog on July 15th, 2015. No Comments.

We are in Wyoming!


Visit us at the 2014 WPTA Trade Show.

Posted in Blog on April 8th, 2014. No Comments.

Search Blog


Recent Posts

Copyright 2009 School Training Solutions® - All rights reserved - Terms of Use | Privacy Policy