The Eastchester School District transports 2,500 students to and from school every day, and it created a new position, Supervisor of Transportation to oversee the many facets of the department.
"The safety of our students governs all the decisions we make in the Transportation Department. It is imperative that we provide a reliable and equitable service to all our families," said Nicole Dolce who took on the role last March. As part of her duties, Dolce oversees bus contracts with First Student and Royal Coach.
She wasted no time learning the District and its needs. "I have ridden the bus routes and audited contractor employee files to ensure that they follow proper protocol and are compliant with all of the State’s regulatory agencies."
Dolce assessed each bus route and scheduled extra training for drivers and attendants who transport Waverly students and students with special needs. She also addresses the concerns of parents, administrators, bus drivers and attendants regularly.
She believes the interactions between children
and the adults who ride school busses can have a profound effect on the student
and she encourages monitors and drivers to build a rapport with the riders.
"A connection is critical," said Dolce. "It could be something
as simple as saying
Hi, how are you? How was your day? Are you excited for school?" She continued, "Praising students and reinforcing positive behavior, just like they receive in school, also goes a very long way."
Dolce has more than a decade of experience in
school district transportation. She holds numerous state
licenses/certifications, including: A New York State Education Department
Master Instructor, School Bus Driving Instructor and a NYS DMV licensed Article
19-A examiner. Before taking on this new role, Dolce served as the
Assistant Director of Transportation in the Clarkstown Central School District,
where she was responsible for around 180 employees who transported more than
She started her career as a bus attendant and
monitor for First Student with the Syracuse City School District.
"The children would bring me drawings and show me their report
cards." She soon earned her license
to drive a school bus and spent much of her time working with students with
special needs. "I met students who were visually and hearing impaired or
used wheelchairs. These children were the best, and I also felt that they were
the students who needed more attention. I am a person who always does the right
thing and takes more time to do what it is best, even if it is
Dolce soon earned advanced certification, started dispatching drivers and training them. She was promoted to a Safety Supervisor in 2010. In 2013 she became Safety and Training Supervisor, where she gained additional experience.
She took on the role of Safety Manager in 2015
at First Mile Square Bus Company in Yonkers, where she managed routes in
multiple districts. Dolce also worked at Total Transportation in New York
Dolce said coordinating transportation and assisting families provides fulfillment. "It is exciting work. I attend local, state and national associations where I meet other professionals in the field for professional development, and we discuss the best ways to support students and districts."
Her goals in Eastchester are to continue to build upon the relationships with the contractors and research new technologies to improve safety. She holds training workshops throughout the year to ensure the safety of the drivers, monitors and students. She meets with drivers to discuss ongoing issues to resolve problems.
Dolce implores parents to follow all traffic regulations when they are on the road not to impede bus drivers and their precious cargo. "Please stop for a stopped school bus!"
When she is not overseeing the bus routes,
Nicole likes to spend time with family and friends, go to the gym, cook, read,
paint and garden.