Bus information released!

Families,

Please find attached the Ellsworth AFB Bus package for the 2017-2018 school year.  It contains:

  • Behavior Policy
  • Morning/Afternoon Schedules
  • Route Maps
  • FAQs

If there are any questions regarding the program, please contact the contract officer at: 28lrs.schoolbus.contract@us.af.mil or by calling 385-4852 or 385-2910.

EAFB Bus Contract-Routes package

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Douglas School District Student Drop Off and Pick Up Information August 2014

Another school year is almost here and with it comes the daily, and sometimes daunting, task of getting kids to and from the Douglas School District.  This information is meant to help families safely navigate student drop off and pick up and minimize traffic congestion around the schools.

Patriot Gate

The Patriot Gate (School Gate) will be closed to outbound vehicle traffic from 6:00am to 8:00am on school days.  Parents will need to use the Liberty Gate (Main Gate) to access the schools during these times.  The Patriot Gate will remain open to inbound vehicles and pedestrian traffic.
Big Picture 2014

School Schedules

Kindergarten through 8th grade students can be dropped off as early at 7:30am if they eat breakfast at the schools.  Otherwise, children cannot arrive until the supervised drop off times, as listed below:

School                        Breakfast    Supervised Drop-Off   School Start   School Release*
Badger Clark (K-1)     7:30am       7:40am                        8:05am           2:50pm
Francis Case (2-3)     7:30am       7:40am                        8:05am           3:00pm
Vandenberg (4-5)       7:30am       7:30am                        7:50am           2:45pm
Middle School (6-8)    7:30am       7:35am                        8:00am           3:05pm
High School (9-12)     7:15am       7:15am                        7:55am           3:10pm
  * Students are released 2 hours early on early dismissal days

 

School Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures

Badger Clark

  • Drop Off: Drivers will access the drop off area by driving north on Briggs Road and pulling up to the sidewalk closest to the school. A teacher will be waiting to direct children into the building. Only north bound traffic will be allowed to drop off children. If a parent wants to escort their child into the school, they will need to park on Don Williams Drive.
  • Pick Up: The school requires students to be picked up from the school cafeteria. Parking is available on Briggs Road and Don Williams Drive.Badger Clark 2014

Francis Case

  • Drop Off: Drivers will use Don Williams Drive to drop off their students at the crosswalk directly in front of the main entrance. They do not need to park unless they are escorting their children into the school.
  • Pick Up: Students will be released to the front of the school. Drivers will need to park on Don Williams Drive to pick up their children.Francis Case 2014

Vandenberg

  • Drop Off: Drivers will use the traffic loop located off of Box Street to drop off their students. Once they exit the loop, they are encouraged to turn right onto 225th Street. Trying to turn left will slow down traffic and cause unnecessary congestion.
  • Pick Up: Drivers will again use the Box Street loop for pick up. Double parking is not allowed, and drivers are again encouraged to turn right as they exit onto 225th Street.
  • Transfer Bus: Vandenberg offers an afternoon transfer bus for transporting students to Badger Clark and Francis Case schools. The designated transfer bus is bus #8, which will be the first bus in the parking lot. If bus #8 is full, children can ride on any of the other buses in the lineup. If parents want their child to utilize this free service, they need to notify the office staff or their child’s teacher.Vandenberg 2014

Douglas Middle School

  • Drop Off: Drivers will use the two parking lot lanes closest to Tower Road. The lane closest to the school is for buses only. Parents are asked to pull all the way to the end of the lane before dropping off their student. Stopping near the front of the lane can cause traffic to back up onto the road. As they exit the parking lot, drivers are encouraged to turn right onto Tower Road. Trying to turn left will slow down traffic and cause unnecessary congestion.
  • Pick Up: Drivers will again use the two designated parking lot lanes for pick up. They are asked not to block parking spaces or double park. As they exit the parking lot, drivers are again encouraged to turn right onto Tower Road.  Since the parking lot can fill up quickly, one suggestion is to have middle school students walk to the elementary schools to meet up with siblings who also need to be picked up.Douglas Middle School 2014

Safety and Etiquette

Safety needs to be the number one concern during drop off and pick up.  Drivers need to slow down and watch for children in the roads and parking lots.  State law requires that drivers stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Drivers also need to be patient and courteous to one another.  They are encouraged to take the time to let vehicles back out of parking spaces and not pass stopped cars in the parking lots.  Parents also need to be courteous to the school staff and volunteers who are working to keep our kids safe.

Carpooling

One way to reduce the amount of time parents spend in school traffic is to set up a carpool with friends, neighbors and co-workers.  This is a simple and effective way to reduce traffic congestion and save time and money on fuel.

 Before and After School Care

If parents need to be at work before the supervised drop off times, the Youth Center’s School Age Program provides before and after school care starting at 6:15am and ending at 5:30pm.  Students enrolled in the School Age Program can also receive busing to and from Douglas Schools for a nominal fee.  For more information, call 385-2277.

Douglas Schools also has a before and after school program starting at 7am and ending at 5pm.  For more information, call 923-0090.

Walking to School

Children can walk to school as an alternative to driving.  This option may not work for everyone, and with the ever changing South Dakota weather, it may not be appropriate every day.  However, it can be a great way for children to get some exercise and spend some time outside when weather permits.

Students who walk should travel through the Patriot Gate.  There are sidewalks from both Rushmore Heights and Prairie View housing to all the Douglas schools. Parents should talk to their children about pedestrian safety and stress the importance of using sidewalks and crosswalks.   It’s also recommended parents walk the route with their children beforehand so they know exactly what to expect.

Regardless if parents drive their children or have them walk, the first few days of school are always a busy time, and everyone should be prepared for additional traffic and increased travel time.  However, if drivers follow the drop off and pick up procedures and focus on student safety, things should go smoothly.  The base and school district appreciate everyone’s cooperation and are excited for another successful school year.

 

2014-2015 School Supply Listings

The new school year is just around the corner!  If you want to get a jump start on school supply shopping, here are the lists for Douglas, Rapid City and Meade public schools.  Keep in mind that individual teachers might require additional supply items.  You will be notified of teacher assignments about a week before school starts.

Douglas School District

Badger Clark Kindergarten Supply List
Badger Clark 1st Grade Supply List
Francis Case Supply List
Vandenberg Supply List
Douglas Middle School Supply List

Rapid City Area Schools

Link to Elementary and Middle School Supply Lists

Meade School District

Piedmont Valley Supply List
Sturgis Elementary Supply List
Sturgis Williams Middle School Supply List
Sturgis Brown High School Supply List

New Underwood School District

Elementary School Supply List
Junior/Senior High School Supply List

Getting Your Kids to School – The New Reality

It’s the topic everyone’s talking about; the loss of the base bus contract for Prairie View and Rushmore Heights housing. Here are the facts – for both legal and financial reasons, the base can no longer providing busing. Douglas school district policy states they only provide busing to families living more than 2.5 miles away from school (the state mandate is actually 5 miles). So what’s a parent to do?

The good news is you have options. First, the Youth Center is working to continue to offer bus service for children enrolled in the School Age program. However, there will be an additional fee for this service. The Youth Center is registering for the upcoming school year and spots could fill up quickly. You can find out more information by calling 385-2277 or going to their website – www.ellsworthfss.com/youth-center/school-age.

A second option is to work with a bus contractor on your own. This is an option that a number of families are currently exploring. One base family has agreed to take the lead on this and are asking interested families to email rushmorebusservice@yahoo.com with their name, address, contact number, housing area (Prairie View or Rushmore Heights) number of children needing bus service, and what schools their children attend. There will also be a fee for this service that the potential contractors will set.

Third, you can drive your kids to school. One of the drawbacks of this option is traffic congestion. A better idea would be to work with your friends and neighbors to set up a carpool. Carpooling will help reduce the amount of vehicles around the schools and will mean you won’t have the sole responsibility of getting your children to and from school each day.  If you drive, please follow the supervised drop off times at the schools:

School                         Drop Off Time     School Start Time
Badger Clark (K-1)      7:45am                8:05am
Francis Case (2-3)      7:45am                8:05am
Vandenberg (4-5)        7:30am                7:50am
Middle School (6-8)     7:35am                8:00am
High School (9-12)      7:00am                7:55am

If you need to be at work before the supervised drop off times, Douglas has a Before and After School Program that starts at 7am. However, these spots can fill up quickly. For more information, please contact the Carrousel building at 923-0090 or go to their website – http://car.dsdk12.net/carrousel/Before_and_After_School_Child_Care.html.

The last option is to have your children walk. This may not be the answer for everyone and with our crazy South Dakota weather, it may not be appropriate every day. However, it is an option. The base would like everyone who walks to use the Patriot Gate by Vandenberg. The base is constructing a crosswalk there so children can safely cross the road. There are suitable sidewalks from both housing areas to all the Douglas schools and most children will have to walk less than a mile. The farthest distance is about 1.5 miles to the High School. Douglas has numerous crosswalks around the schools and will post crossing guards on 225th St by Vandenberg and at the corner of 225th and Tower Rd. The City of Box Elder is also looking at adding a four way stop at that intersection to help slow down traffic.

Parents who are going to have their children walk should talk to them about pedestrian safety. It’s also recommended parents walk the route with them beforehand so they know exactly where to go. One idea is to talk with your friends and neighbors and create a “walking school bus.” This is a group of kids who walk together each day. Parents can even take turns walking with the children or assign an older student to supervise the group.

These are some of the options available to parents when school starts on August 28. Regardless of what option your family chooses, please remember to be safe, be vigilant and BE PATIENT! Expect the first week or two to be busy and plan accordingly. The base and school district are committed to work with parents to ensure students can get to school safely. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact me at chad.canaan@ellsworth.af.mil. Here’s to a safe and successful school year!