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Westford Kindergartener Earns Praise for "Rules of the Bus"

Six-year-old Meggie Norton overcame behavioral concerns to fulfill her dream of riding on the bus thanks to a song she developed along with her preschool teacher, family and a recording artist in Kansas.

Future kindergarteners needing to know what to do when they get on the school bus can thank Meggie Norton.

The precocious six-year-old was recognized at the Westford School Committee meeting on last week for her role in developing “Rules on the Bus,” a set of behavioral rules for safe school bus travel for younger children set to a song.  

Meggie’s song was born out of her desire to ride on the full length bus in her first year at the Miller School, just like her eight-year-old brother Charlie.

At first, it seemed as though Meggie would have to ride in the Special Education van per the School Department’s recommendations due to the 40 minute ride, but her mom Kathy was determined to help her daughter’s dream come true.

“While I have nothing against the van, I considered it our “back-up plan,” said Kathy. “It was Meggie’s dream to ride the bus, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.”

With the help of preschool teacher Stacey Southard, Meggie, Charlie and their parents developed a set of three rules: before leaving preschool that was eventually turned into a song Rick Burch: a friend of the family and owner of Rumpus Records in Overland Park, KS.

Eventually, Overland Park early-childhood special education specialist and music therapist Anne Meeker Miller discovered the song and worked with local photographer Kyle Gendron to create the book, which is expected to go on sale in March.

In the meantime, the book will be used for children facing similar challenges in Kansas and Meggie will continue her obsession with “Rules of the Bus” that began her demand for continual loops of the song at the beginning of each day as she prepared for the school year.

“By the time school started, Meggie knew to ‘listen to the driver, stay in your seat, and use indoor voices,” said Karen. “And it’s still her favorite song!”

As the school year draws to a close, so far Meggie has been able to ride the bus without any behavioral incidents.

Kathy April 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Listen to "Rules of the Bus" online at http://soundcloud.com/rickburch/rick-burch-rules-of-the-bus
Elaine April 17, 2012 at 06:09 PM
So proud of Meggie...and all of you!!! Auntie Loves Doodle!!!
AB April 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Good for Meg. Matt was denied riding the regular bus by the powers that be at Central Office, and I hate putting him on that van every day. Inclusion and LRE mean our kids should be able to ride the bus with their non-disabled peers. Plus, what a great savings to the town to not have to maintain a fleet of vans. Bus monitors would be cheaper.
Kathleen Spaeth June 03, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I am so happy to read that Meggie was able to fulfill her dream of riding on the "big yellow school bus"! Yeah for you!! This took alot of practice, reinforcement, and patience to teach Meggie and it has been done in such a very positive and charming way. I just wonder why she must ride on this bus for 40-minutes a day (twice a day) to get to school? Isn't she going to school in Westford? Also, don't you have to follow these Rules when you ride on the "Special Education" Van too?

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