MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Staff at Bel Pre Elementary School have taken the school buses to and from school with students during the first week of school for the last seven years.

“One of the things I wanted to make sure that I provided when I started here was the psychological and physical safety of our students and families,” said Principal Dara Brooks.

Bel Pre ES staff say this program is about providing adult support to help our youngest learners navigate their route to school. The community school liaison Tamara Corprew says this is the first time she has been a part of a program like this and if she gets the chance to ride again with students, she will.

“That also allows me an opportunity to see what businesses and companies are near where these children are dwelling,’ said Corprew. “So that I can see what they want to pour back into the community.’

The cluster’s transportation supervisor, Joe Awakianto, has been extremely instrumental in bringing this process to fruition.

“You can see that between transportation, our wonderful drivers, supervisors, and school staff there’s this coordination to make sure that every student gets to and from school safely,” said Awakianto.

Greg Mullenholz, director of the Office of School Support and Well-Being, said that while each school has its own partnerships with its transportation depot, Bel Pre’s is fairly unique in its magnitude. 

“It’s a brilliant idea that really addresses a lot of the system’s priorities around building and rebuilding trust and the socio-emotional well-being of our stakeholders,’ said Mullenholz.