To celebrate New Jersey Walk and Bike to School Month in April — and to keep momentum going through the school year — some Trenton schools are learning about Safe Routes to School and applying that knowledge when they walk and bike to school.
Safe Routes to School is an important part of the District Wellness Policy, which encourages students to walk and bike to school where it is safe to do so and commits to working with authorities to identify and improve the areas where it is not safe.
Monument Elementary was an early participant in the Safe Routes to School program. This year, several more schools have joined the movement.
Jerry Foster, Transportation Safety Educator for Greater Mercer TMA, led assemblies at Christopher Columbus Elementary, Grant Elementary, Paul Robeson Elementary, Joyce Kilmer Middle School and Woodrow Wilson Elementary. At Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, the assembly was augmented by a Walk to School Day. Upon arriving at school that day, students could participate in a safety question quiz. Trenton High School has also participated in Daylight Twilight bike safety classes.
The assemblies focus on why it’s a good to walk to school and how to ensure safety while doing so. Students learn how to cross the street, where to cross and why it’s important to wear bright colors during the day and reflective or light-colored clothing at night and walk with a partner.
Foster also ran a Safe Routes to School bookmark design contest for grades 3-5 this year, which got a lot of participation from Trenton students, and was won by a 5th grader from Wilson.
“Trenton Board of Education’s Family And Community Engagement (FACE) department has done a great job connecting us with the schools to get assemblies and events scheduled. We also partnered with FACE, Trenton Boys and Girls Club and Bike Exchange to offer discounts for Daylight Twilight students who took our bike safety class. We’re looking forward to supporting Trenton’s Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants by working with schools to identify safety improvements like crosswalks, signals and lighting.”
In 1969, nearly 50 percent of American children walked to school in 1969. By 2009, that figure had dropped to 13 percent nationwide. “With Safe Routes to School and the Trenton Board of Education’s wellness policy, we are hopeful that more Trenton students will walk and bike more often,” said Marissa Davis, project manager for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton.SHARE:
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