Traffic, Teacher Shortages, And The First Days Of School
Some parents may be breathing a sigh of relief (while others may be panicking) as students across Acadiana wake up today and tomorrow, preparing for the first day of school. Students in Catholic schools around the region, as well in some local parishes like Iberia and St. Mary, are reporting for at least half a day today. Lafayette, Vermilion, and St. Landry Parishes are among those starting on Thursday.
Expect local traffic to be rough in the mornings and the afternoons the first week or so of school, as parents learn the bus stop schedule and the drop-off and car line schedules of their children's schools. Most of us will also need to re-train ourselves on the rules of the road where school buses are concerned.
According to Louisiana law, you need to be sure to give buses plenty of space, giving them at least 30 feet when they are picking up or dropping off kids. You also need to make sure you know when to stop.
Two Lanes - Vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus's red lights are flashing.
Three Lanes - When the highway has a center turning lane with one travel lane on each side, vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus's red lights are flashing.
Four Lanes - Vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus's red lights are flashing.
Divided Highway - When the highway has a grass median or any physical barriers, only traffic moving in the same direction as the bus is required to stop when the bus's red lights are flashing. oncoming traffic should proceed with caution.
One of the biggest issues schools are facing, however, isn't school bus drop-off or traffic. It's teacher shortages.
U.S. Department of Education data show Louisiana currently has shortages in all grades in five subject areas — English as a second language, special education, math, science and world languages.
That doesn't surprise Byler, who continues to see the same critical shortage areas in his district. This year the biggest needs are in math, science and special education.
The Vermilion Parish school board has nine openings on their website, and Lafayette Parish has 65. These aren't just positions for teachers, however. They include administrative and support personnel as well.
St. Landry Parish has well over 100 job listings.
[RELATED: An Open Letter To Parents Before School Starts]
Make sure your kids are back on a regular sleep schedule and eating their Wheaties (or any good breakfast) in the mornings. Give them the brainpower to make it through the first days of school and have a successful school year.