A few years ago when a bus in the Queensbury School District in New York was retired from service, several ambitious educators went to work. With buy-in from the superintendent and support from the community, a team of creators from the district began gutting the inside to make way for a whole new bus called the Q-munity Bus.
This bus is equipped with incredible learning spaces, including a television, dry-erase counter, and other tools throughout. It also has plenty of STEM resources like Osmo for students to learn about technology, coding, and more.
Kids love coding on a bus.
Laurie Guyon is a tech integrator with the school and works on the bus regularly. She says the Q-munity Bus is a favorite with all the students.
“The kids always get excited about getting on the bus,” she says. “Their expression when they first get on is so great because it’s not what they’re expecting. Then they learn so much while they’re here. We’ve even had kids younger than kindergarten get on the bus and start coding with Osmo within 10 minutes.”
While the bus is a regular at all the schools in the district, it’s also available to the community, and you can often see it around town and at events. This was something that was important to the district as a way to give back to their own community, outside of the school walls.
“It really services all K-12 throughout the district,” Laurie says. “When it goes out to the community, we’re trying to bridge the community and the classroom. We want the community to have access to this bus too.”
Get all the senses involved.
The bus will be out and about this summer, bridging the gap between the school and the community. Everything on it aligns with New York State standards. Laurie believes we need to find more ways to engage kids in STEM, and this definitely does that.
“There’s so much research about how the more of your senses you’re using, the more likely the learning will stick,” she says. “This is a good way to get students outside of the classroom so they can take what they’re learning and connect it in real life.”
Laurie’s advice to others who might want to have a mobile bus is to gather all stakeholders up front before diving into a big project like this. She says it can make a big difference in the overall buy-in and support, which will ultimately make the project move faster. But is it worth the time, energy, and effort to make happen? Most definitely, she says.
“I love this bus. The students love this bus. The community loves this bus,” Laurie says. “It’s such a great experience for everyone. The excitement level is amazing, and it just opens up so many more doors that weren’t there before.”