Wind River's Purple Bus to be Featured Nationally at Boston Conference

*Feature Photo: A student and teacher working with letter identification and writing on the Purple Bus. (FCSD 6 / Pitchengine Communities)* (Pavillion, Wyo.) - What's a Purple Bus, you ask? In Fremont County School District 6 in Pavillion, it's a key link from the school to the community for Early Childhood Education. It's also resulted in the district being invited to present on the program this April at a national school conference in Boston. The presentation is titled "Preventing the Achievement Gap: Creating Access to Early Childhood Services through a Mobile Medical/Preschool Classroom. So, what's a Purple Bus? [image: Inline image 4] A teacher works with a child on letter identification and writing "It was difficult to do an effective summer school program here because of the vast size of our district, and together with parents and staff, we decided we needed a way to get out to where the people lived," said Superintendent Diana Clapp. "The idea of the old Bookmobiles came up and the seed was planted." What has grown from that seed is the Purple Bus. "We started with a pre-school on campus, and the further we got into it, we realized that there were a whole lot of students we were not reaching. Our Native American parents were not using the pre-school, and they are 24 percent of our school population," Clapp said. The reasons were varied, but included the lack of transporation and the distrust of public schools that goes back to the old boarding school days. "Combined with the feedback we received, the idea took hold. We'll only go where we are invited, and we don't go into the house, the kids come out to the bus. It's really been something the community has come together on." Because of the small size of the bus, a nurse follows in her private vehice. "She provides education and access to health care and she is not meant to replace a family physician," Clapp said. [image: Inline image 2] *The Purple Bus* Clapp said the district recently received a $25,000 grant from the Sargent Foundation to get a larger Purple Bus that will provide a wrap-around with health and wellness services. "The smaller bus is not suited to accomodate two or three people. The new bus is wider and longer and we're getting it ready to have on the road this spring," she said. The refurbished bus was a retired school bus from the district's fleet." For the kiddos, it's exciting to see the Purple bus coming, she said. [image: Inline image 6] *A student working on number identification and counting (FCSD 6 / Pitchengine Communities) * [image: Inline image 3] With a lack of licensed medical providers in the district, the health education piece is important, Clapp said. "Among our pre-school kiddos, only two percent of them were on time for immunizations when we started the program. At our last snapshot, that had grown to 27 percent," she said. The immunizations will not be done on the bus, but rather offered at special clinics in Crowheart and Pavillion. The entire Purple Bus program is designed to improve Kindergarten readiness. "The program enjoys a 100% satisfaction rate with participating families," Clapp said in a snyopsis of the program developed for the Boston Conference. "Every student that has enrolled in the program has remained active in the program until entry into kindergarten or drop due to the family relocating out of the district." In addition to Clapp, District 6 trustee Dr. Kristen Benson will also participate in the presentation. [image: Inline image 5] #county10 #news