KCS Transportation U bus driver program celebrated it’ first class of graduates. Trainer Doug Romig (left) stands with graduates Anita King, Bonnie Gillespie and Cheyenne Rickman. (Photo submitted)Knox County Schools recently honored the first three graduates of its Transportation U initiative, an in-house program that helps new applicants to obtain the necessary training and licensure with rigorous training.
The move was prompted by regulatory changes that mandated additional training for entry-level drivers. Until now, the training of new drivers had been managed by the bus contractors. The Transportation U in-house training is more efficient and provides support and education to drivers.
The Transportation U program is a rigorous four-week course with students participating five days a week for a minimum of six hours a day. It combines classroom instruction with driver education conducted under the supervision of a licensed trainer. The course also includes training on disinfecting and cleaning buses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For more information about becoming a KCS driver, please contact the Transportation Department at (865) 594-1550.
The percentage of college students who choose education as a major has dropped significantly in the last 40 years. “Grow Your Own” is a new program that offers incentives to UT students interested in special education as a career. The partnership between Knox County Schools, the University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Education offers incentives to aspiring special education teachers to boot the number of special education teachers in Knox County.
The state Department of Education also announced that $1 million will be made available for tuition for current teachers across the state to get a special education endorsement. Districts can submit teachers for the endorsement at no cost to them.
The program is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2020, with KCS hiring 10 to 15 UT students as paraprofessionals during their intern year. Students in that Aspiring Teacher cohort would receive a salary and health care, and earn years toward retirement.
KCS would offer teaching jobs and signing bonuses in the 2021-22 school year, pending degree completion, licensure and good standing as a paraprofessional.