Requirements for Head Start Bus Monitors

Criteria are identified to assist Head Start agencies in evaluating candidates for Bus Monitor. Local needs must be considered when a program establishes its own requirements for hiring staff.

Note: This resource is under review.

The following is an excerpt from the Transportation PathFinder.

The Bus Monitor works in collaboration with the Bus Driver to supervise children on their bus route as stated in 45 CFR 1310.15(c). Additionally, as a "good will" ambassador for the Head Start agency, the Bus Monitor greets parents and children during a bus route. In both cases, the Bus Monitor must be aware of and follow Federal regulations and agency protocols while maintaining a positive attitude and a focus on safety and comfortable riding environment.

A Head Start agency must ensure that prospective candidates for Bus Monitor positions have the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to perform their tasks.

  • The following is a list of items that a Bus Monitor must fulfill before an agency can finalize hiring:
    1. Pass an alcohol and drug screening.
    2. Pass a physical examination and be able to physically assist children, some of whom may need to be carried from a vehicle in case of an emergency (45 CFR 1310.16(a)(2).
    3. Pass a tuberculosis (TB) test (45 CFR 1304.52(i)(1).
    4. Pass a Criminal and Background Check (45 CFR 1301.31(b)(1)(iii).
    5. Pass a Child Abuse Clearance (45 CFR 1301.31(b)(2).
  • The Bus Monitor should have KNOWLEDGE about the Head Start transportation services, how to manage children on a bus, and be familiar with the language and community in which children and their families live.
  • The Bus Monitor should have SKILLS AND ABILITIES to work with children and parents, have basic writing skills to fill out reports, speak English as well as the primary language of the children, and have physical ability to lift adequate weights to assist in emergency evacuation.
  • The Bus Monitor should have prior EXPERIENCE in working with young children.
  • Bus Monitors should be trained for their specific duties before being assigned to their vehicle. Training should include the following tasks:
    • Safety procedures for children boarding and exiting the vehicle
    • The appropriate installation and use of Child Safety Restraint Systems (CSRS)
    • Safety procedures for the emergency evacuation of a vehicle
    • Agency procedures for child pick-up and release
    • How to assist the Bus Driver with a pre- and post-trip vehicle check
    • Required paperwork and reporting
    • Emergency response procedures
    • Operation and maintenance of special equipment on the bus
  • Bus Monitors interact with children throughout their time on the bus. It is through close observation and communication that children are provided with a positive experience and have safe riding practices reinforced while riding the bus.
  • Bus Monitors need to collaborate with the Bus Driver in teaching children the correct safety procedures for boarding and exiting a bus as well as the danger zones around the vehicle.
  • Bus Monitors are highly encouraged to lead children in singing, telling stories, playing visual games, or doing quiet activities throughout a bus route. By working with teachers, Bus Monitors can extend and reinforce classroom learning.
  • Bus Monitors handle discipline while the bus is in motion and are required to report any observation of child abuse or neglect.
  • Bus Monitors participate in professional development along with regular Head Start staff to improve their job skills.

Note: This tip sheet is intended to assist Head Start agencies with selecting candidates for being the Bus Monitor. Local needs must be considered when a program establishes its own transportation services.

Topic:Transportation

Resource Type: Article

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