For over 30 years now, the La Joya ISD transportation department has been participating in the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation (TAPT) conference and Road-E-O competition. Year after year, our bus drivers have earned top spots and our district has gained a solid reputation for having the most knowledgeable drivers across the state.
The selection process (for the drivers who qualify to compete) begins in March, locally, at the district level. All La Joya ISD bus drivers get the opportunity to compete with one another in both a written and driving exam that is conducted at the district’s transportation complex.
Mr. Alfredo Salinas, a 28-year LJISD veteran bus driver, is the individual tasked with coming up with the written exam and has been the one heading the project for several years. “I’ve been involved with the Road-E-O contest for some time now and the camaraderie, the challenge, and the experience that the drivers get, is what I enjoy the most – and what I personally look forward to every year,” said Mr. Salinas.
Once the winners are chosen from amongst the district drivers, they then go on to compete in the All-Valley round in late April at a voluntarily hosted location in the RGV.
This year, Los Fresnos ISD received over 25 school districts (from Rio Grande City to Brownsville) who competed to advance to the state contest. La Joya ISD drivers participated in 3 categories: Transit (buses with no hood that are flat in the front), Conventional (buses with a hood), and Special Disability buses. At the end of the day, 4 of our bus drivers placed in the top 3 – allowing them to reach the state level – an accomplishment earned by only 4 school districts in the entire Rio Grande Valley.
Held in Frisco ISD, the state conference welcomed La Joya ISD and more than 50 other school districts to a week of workshops, certification classes, speakers, and of course, the Road-E-O competition.
Consisting of a 50-question written assessment and a driving exam that tested precision driving skills and knowledge of a bus driver’s trade, La Joya ISD bus drivers, Roberto Hernandez placed 3rd and Roberto Vela 6th in the Transit category, Elizandro Muñiz earned 3rd in the Conventional group, and Hector Rodriguez with Miriam Gonzalez secured the 2nd place slot in the Special Needs division.
Clarissa Mares, LJISD Dispatcher and team motivator said: “I have seen first-hand all of the time and energy that these drivers have put into the Road-E-O competition, and I feel proud to be a part of a district that cares about hard work and dedication.”
“Our transportation director, Mr. Servando Ramirez also deserves to be acknowledged because he has been very encouraging and supportive throughout the year,” Mares added.
And so, another year brings another success for the group of individuals who represent La Joya ISD, their families, and their craft. Thank you to all of our bus drivers for the work they do year-round.