COOS BAY — Missing the bus no longer means students have to miss school too.
The Coos Bay School District purchased two vehicles with leftover money from House Bill 3499 last week, with the intent to help get English Language Learners to school more often.
“We wanted to increase parent involvement and address attendance issues,” said Lisa DeSalvio, special programs director for the district. “If a student misses the bus or has a doctor’s appointment, they don’t make it back to school.”
But with these two new vehicles, attendance advocates can now pick up students to bring them to school if needed.
“We also wanted to do after school tutoring, but never knew how students would get home,” she said. “Now, whoever does tutoring can then drive them home, which gives an opportunity for extra instruction. If we have activities in the evening, we can send our family liaison, who is bilingual, to get those families and give them a ride, so it increases our parent participation, offers tutoring opportunities and improves our ELL student attendance.”
The money to do make this happen came after the district was identified for its lack of ELL student graduation. The district received $90,000 from HB 3499, which was first used for training, acquiring chrome books and Rosetta Stone for ELL students.
“We made good progress, our data was showing that, but we had money left over,” DeSalvio said.
The district met with the Oregon Department of Education and applied to use the carry-over funds, which was approved to be used to buy two vehicles. Last week, the district purchased a Toyota Sienna van and a Corolla hatchback.
“Our local Toyota dealer was wonderful and gave it to us at cost,” DeSalvio said. “We have one vehicle for the east side and one for the west side of the district and will be used when and if an ELL student misses the bus.”
Both vehicles are getting cameras installed before they can be used. Not only that, but anyone qualified to drive the vehicles must first undergo training.
“We will be able to use them as soon as the cameras are put in, which will likely be after Thanksgiving,” she said.