Forty-nine districts represented by 57 transportation administrators gathered in Tallahassee on Feb. 9 and 10 for our annual winter meeting and professional development session. We heard lots of positive comments about the new actual location of the meeting. Nestled under the Big Bend canopy oak trees, the Florida Sheriffs Association welcomed the FAPT to their well-appointed training center and it was a great fit with plenty of space for meeting and parking, good technology access and a very comfortable environment.
Our professional presenters were well-received and extremely knowledgeable in their subject fields. President-elect Arby Creach once again did a masterful job in putting together an agenda that was thought-provoking and insightful. As always, the fellowship of directors and discussion before, during and after each session generated as much learning as our speakers. The second day was as well-attended as the first which was a true sign of the level of participation and interaction. While we heard about the upcoming changes in the CDL program that will affect all school district transportation departments, we also had the opportunity to discuss the impact of these changes with our CDL state administrator and the challenges we will each face with implementation.
Our three bus suppliers gave updates on what we can expect in the bus market and their commitment to local support from the dealers. A highlight was not only the after-hours gathering sponsored this year by Sun State Bus Centers but their surprise presenter, the vice president of IC Bus, Trish Reed, who came all the way from Chicago (it was hard for her to leave the snow for our sunny temps but someone had to do it!).
One of the most informative sessions was related to the high-visibility issue of how we each manage the policies, procedures and real-life practices in transportation of the pre-kindergarten age child. The round table was excellent and there were a number of best practices that were shared among district speakers.
If you were unable to join the directors this year, the FAPT encourages you to put this meeting on your calendar for 2018. Usually early in February, information will be emailed before the winter holiday in 2017. If you have a suggestion for a topic you need information about, please let your FAPT know. Scholarships for travel assistance are available and your FAPT seeks your input and participation.