At Monday’s meeting of the Stephenville ISD board of trustees, David Woods, the district’s director of transportation, was awarded a medal for displaying SISD’s core value of initiative.

The reason behind the award is a later bus route program that Woods plans to kick off on March 1 to allow more students to stay for the STAAR testing tutorials that take place after school gets out.

“I have a background in the classroom and I understand the push with the STAAR test, but most bus riding kids can’t stay afterwards because they don’t have another means of transportation home,” Woods said. “So they miss out on those tutorials. So we’re going to target our four largest pick up areas and run buses at 4:30 p.m.”

Bus drivers will run their regular routes, but then two will return to Hook Elementary, Gilbert Intermediate and Henderson Junior High to pick up tutorial students who take the bus home.

“Hopefully this will help get more kids in those tutorials and have them do better on the STAAR test,” Woods said. “It is limited because of the vast geographical area we have.”

The late pick up routes will drop kids off at the River Walk Apartments, Jake and Dorothy’s, the intersection of Jackson and Broadway Streets and Village Mobile Home Park.

“Those are our largest geographical stop areas,” Woods said. “And parents are also welcome to pick up at those areas if it’s closer to their house.”

Woods said he was shocked to receive the award from the SISD board saying, “I’m just doing my job.”

Woods approached SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood about the program back in January.

“You don’t have many transportation directors with a teaching background and it’s just a really neat thing for him to be thinking ahead like that,” Underwood said. “He came to me and just said, ‘Why don’t we run a late bus route?’ And it was just a refreshing thing.”

Since Woods started his position at SISD back at the beginning of this school year, he has helped implement improvements to the transportation department.

Some of those improvements include:

A new electronic tracking system to help manage routing. Installing GPS systems in all school buses. An updated electronic fuel system. The building of a new training room. The implementation of more in-depth training for drivers.