Walk and Roll Wednesdays Guide
YOU ARE SAFE ROUTES CHAMPIONS
Parent and teacher volunteers are our green travel ambassadors.
Thank you for volunteering to serve as the Safe Routes to Schools Champion at your school and represent our program. Safe Routes to Schools is dedicated to changing the way this generation of children in Marin County travels to school. Our staff works closely with our Champions to make green travel a lifelong habit. Our Champions are instumental in helping us to increase the numbers of walkers and bikers in Marin County.
Ideally, we suggest a co-leader postion at every school, in which two Safe Routes Champions “team up” to work creatively together and have fun promoting our program.
This could be either two parents, or possibly you and a teacher at your school. You can also team up with your student leadership, green team, or other student organization.
ORGANIZE WALK AND ROLL WEDNESDAYS
Your primary role as the Safe Routes to Schools Champion at your school is to organize and make popular our “Walk and Roll Wednesdays.”
On the first Wednesday of every month, you will set up a Welcome Table to greet students who bike, walk, carpool, or take the bus (if available). However, if Wednesday does not work for your school, then select another day.
Publish Volunteer 2013–2014 Tabling Dates on
Your School’s Master Calendar
Launch date for continuing schools in Marin County
International Walk to School Day. Note: it’s the second Wednesday
National Bike to School Day
- The ABCs of Organizing Your Welcome Table
- Incentives for Kids to Walk & Roll
- Meet and Greet
- Soliticing Donations
Ask your Principal for permission to host Walk and Roll Wednesdays, and publish the dates on the school calendar. Send your Principal a brief e-mail before school starts, or set up a meeting with him/her if you would like to discuss highlights of this guide. Let your Principal know that you will need them to send an e-mail to all parents publicizing the school launch date of Walk and Roll Wednesdays in Marin County. Another person to contact right away is the PTA President to get support for Walk and Roll Wednesdays with volunteers and possibly funding for treats and incentives.
Select a high visibility location to set up your monthly Welcome Table. How many entrances are there at your school? Might you need multiple tables if you are a large school? What is the most popular entrance for students as they arrive by foot or bike? You want the entire school to see you, so put some thought into the best location to greet walkers and bikers.
Recruit a few volunteers to help you once a month (including your kids if you wish) to staff your Welcome Table. You can also recruit your student leadership to help out. Build a volunteer base by recruiting through your school newsletter and parent events at your school.
Word of mouth is the best way to build your volunteer team. The individual ask gets the best results. Contact your school’s PTA or Parent Club to recruit volunteers and to spread the word throughout the parent community about your Safe Routes to Schools program (see PTA under PROMOTION). You can also put out a notice in your newsletter and have a signup sheet at key meetings like back to school night or PTA meetings. You can find these tools here.
CHECKLIST FOR SETTING UP YOUR WELCOME TABLE
HERE THEY COME! You will need to arrive 45 minutes before school starts, once a month, to set up your Walk and Roll Welcome Table.
Be ready and have your table set up at least 30 minutes before the school bell rings for those children who arrive early. Your Welcome Table is also a place for early arrivers to socialize. Additionally, bring your children to assist you. Kids working at a Welcome Table are inspiring mini-ambassadors of the Safe Routes to Schools program.
Your Monthly Welcome Table Checklist
Safe Routes to Schools T-Shirts for you and other parent volunteers to wear.
A portable table and a few chairs, make arrangements in advance with the custodian.
Walk and Roll Wednesdays banner.
Clear duct tape to adhere the banner to the table.
Safety Bike Tips pamphlets.
A trash container if your are serving healthy snacks and drinks.
Raffle supplies (if you obtain prize donations from your PTA): A raffle box, pens and pencils. Safe Routes to Schools will supply the raffle ticekts.
Your school Principal (optional) – Principals are powerful role models for elementary school children. It would be benefical if you can prompt your Principal to be present to welcome students once a month.
September 11 – “Walk and Roll Wednesdays” refrigerator magnets.
October 9 – International Walk and Roll to School Day, iWalk and iBike colorful pins.
November 6 – Walk and Roll Green Pencils.
December 4 – Go Green stickers.
January 8 and February 5 – We suggest serving hot chocolate in small cups when kids arrive. This will need to be funded by your PTA or parent club.
March 7 – Raffle prize: Shoe laces.
April 2 – Raffle prize: Bike bells.
May 7 – National Bike to School give-away items supplied by Safe Routes to Schools.
June 4 – Give away all leftovers and goodies from the year!
As our Safe Routes to Schools Champion, we need you to congratulate students for their efforts to travel green to school when they arrive at your Welcome Table. Here are some examples of what you can say to help build a walking and biking culture at your school:
Great job riding your bike to school!
How did you get to school today?
Is there a friend you might want to invite next time?
Keep walking to school every day!
We are trying to get the entire school to travel green every Wednesday… keep it up every week!
If you have the time, solicit donations from local businesses, or assign this task to another parent volunteer. A monthly raffle with fun local prizes is a great way to boost the popularity of Walk and Roll Wednesdays. You might also ask your PTA for an annual Safe Routes to Schools’ budget for prizes, like ice cream certrificates, movie passes, or pizza gift certificates. You can download a sample donation letter from our website:
You should also ask your PTA to provide funding using this letter
Local bike shops have been supportive of our program. Contact them regarding raffle prize donations and give them some publiciy in return. Bikes, locks, helmets and tune-ups are big incentives. Often your local bike shop is happy to support local schools, especially for high visibility events like National Bike to School Day.
TEN MARKETING STRATEGIES
Green campaigns get families thinking about biking & walking
Promotion is critical in establising a successful biking and walking culture at your school. A strong sense of school pride is created by students and their families who participate in a regular Walk and Roll Wednesday. The school community effort feels good to everyone and becomes a contagious cultural force.
Ask your school Principal and/or teachers to join you to greet students at the Welcome Table.
10 Strategies to Successfully
Promote Walk and Roll Wednesdays
- A Poster in Every Classroom
- Principal E-mail to All Parents
- School Newsletter
- Backpack Mail
- Loud Speaker Announcements
- School Assemblies
- Poster Art
#1 A POSTER IN EVERY CLASSROOM
Please hang our Walk and Roll Wednesdays posters in every classroom at your school in early September. There are three possible ways to do this:
Ask your Principal to distribute the posters at a staff meeting, or attend yourself and use the staff meeting as an opportunity to let teachers know about the campaign.
Deliver a poster to each teacher’s inbox with a note.
Go to every classroom and deliver the poster at recess time. Make a brief presentation to students reminding them to travel green every Wednesday.
#2 PRINCIPAL E-MAIL TO ALL PARENTS
Ask your Principal to blow the horn! Ask him/her to send an e-mail to parents encouraging families to Walk to School every Wednesday at the start of the school year. (Find sample text here.)
Remind your Principal to include the file of our Walk and Roll Wednesdays logo. (You can download one here.)
#3 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER
WHO is your school newsletter editor?
WHAT is their e-mail address?
WHEN is the deadline?
In addition to the principal announcement, continually promote Walk and Roll Wednesday in your school newsletter. Your first newsletter announcement will introduce the program. Here are a two additional strategies for newsletter submissions that you can create to keep the green travel momentum rolling at your school throughout the year:
Write a Short Story
Is there a neighborhood that bikes together every Wednesday?
Are there two buddies that walk together or a teacher that rides every day?
Do you know of a parent that used to drive, but now walks with their child?
These are inspiring stories, which you can write about, to generate a biking and walking culture.
Photo with a Caption
A picture is worth a thousand words. Find out if your school newsletter accepts photos. Take photos on Wednesdays, and obtain the student names in your best photo and submit it to the editor. Check with your principal to make sure that student has been cleared with a photo release. Photos of students walking, biking and carpooling are a great way to create a strong feeling at your school that everyone is traveling green every Wednesday! Lastly, write a creative photo caption with the photo.
Here is an example:
JOIN THE MOVEMENT! Biking and walking to school (even partway) is a a memory your child will never forget. Be part of the fun and help our school to fill up the bike racks! Biking is energizing and really fun once your child gets into the habit.
Does your school have a FaceBook page?
If the answer is yes, then you can apply the same submssion for your school newsletter to FaceBook. Post on FaceBook to promote the increasing number of walkers and bikers at your school.
#5 SCHOOL WEBSITE
Websites are a great way to educate parents about safe biking tips and local routes. If your school does not have a Safe Routes to Schools section, then we encourage you to work with us to create one on your website. Publicize our Walk and Roll Wednesday dates on your school’s website, and customize it.
#6 BACKPACK MAIL
Does your school send home information to parents in their child’s backpack?
If yes, then include our Walk and Roll Wednesdays flyer! Many schools have gone all electronic for their communications. The tactic is the same – make sure that the flyer or a link to the web page is included on a regular basis.
Is our Safe Routes to Schools volunteer position part of the PTA?
The National PTA has endorsed our Safe Routes to Schools program. Work closely with your PTA President to publicize Walk and Roll Wednesdays in their e-mails and newsletters. Do you have a PTA budget for snacks for your Welcome table? Work together! Attend PTA meetings.
#8 LOUD SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENTS
On Monday or Tuesday, use your school’s loud speaker as a way to remind students to walk, bike or carpoool on Wednesday. You can also ask the teachers to announce a reminder every Tuesday in the classroom.
#9 SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES
Use an upcoming assembly to do a two-minute presentation about the importance of walking and biking to school. This presentation can include safety tips and/or environmental and health benefits of walking and biking. A staff person from Safe Routes to Schools might be able to assist you. Please contact Peggy Clark at Safe Routes to Schools at (415) 456-3469 ext. 8#. Assemblies are a great way to reach all students!
#10 POSTER ART
Does your school have a place to hang multiple posters?
Safe Routes to Schools offers a free, one-hour poster making session, which engages students to paint colorful posters promoting biking, walking and carpools. An art instructor will come to your school with all of the supplies to make 10–12 eye-catching posters to hang on fences. The posters can all be used at your staging area for Walk and Roll Wednesdays. You can also borrow our paints and poster making materials and organize a session yourself.
The signs build awareness of the school’s efforts to increase the number of walkers and bikers. The posters can also be used by walking neighborhood groups and special events, like International Walk and Roll to School Day.
For more information about Poster Art, please contact Peggy Clark at (415) 456-3469 ext 8#.
- Creating Meeting Locations to Walk & Bike Together
- Walking School Buses & Bike Trains
- Safety Tips
- Best Practices
- Biking Tips
Creating meeting locations to walk and bike together
When families get to know who walks or bikes in their neighborhood, they will be able to form groups that can travel to school together on a regular basis. The first step in forming these relationships is establishing meet-up locations at strategic places that are walking and/or biking distance from the school. These locations not only serve those who live nearby but also allows those who live farther away an opportunity to park and walk the rest of the way to school. This reduces traffic within the immediate vacinity of the school, making it safer for everyone.
Choose locations on all sides of the school zones that easily serve the nearby neighborhoods. Make sure it has parking areas where parents can safely drop off their children. If there are private parking areas, be sure to ask permission from the owners to allow short term parking.
When publicizing your Walk and Roll Wednesdays, promote these meet-up locations and urge parents to walk or bike with their children. This also ensures enough supervision and safety for the children. You can post a screenshot of a Google Map showing meet-up locations, and include it with your publicity and on your school website.
Find parents who are already walking or biking with their children and ask them if they would be willing to allow other children to join them. As you develop your team for tabling, ask them for information on parents they know who might be willing to lead walking and biking groups. Ask your PTA to help you find your walk and bike leaders. Stress the minimum time commitment if they are already walking or biking. For safety, recruite enough parents according to the Walking School Bus & Bike Train suggestions.
WALKING SCHOOL BUSES & BIKE TRAINS
Walking School Bus
A Walking School Bus is a group of neighbors who walk to school picking up kids along the way or meeting at a set location. The rule of thumb is to have one adult for six children. Be sure a large group has an adult at the front and one at the rear as well.
A Bike Train is a group of kids who bike together to or from school. If the group members are under age 12, there should be one adult for each four children, one in front and one in back. Young children biking to school should always be accompanied by
Discuss and practice road safety and traffic rules.
Make sure that parents do not leave their children alone while waiting for the group; the supervision of each child must be transferred to a responsible adult.
Don’t let children get too far ahead or behind.
Encourage children to wear bright or fluorescent colors or reflector tape on their backpacks or jackets.
Yellow vests or armbands help with visibility. You can get them for all participants or just for the adults.
Bring along a wagon for books, musical instruments and projects.
Spend a weekend day walking or biking the route you will take to school. Time how long it takes. Note any safety concerns and be sure to establish how each will be handled. For instance, if there is no sidewalk on part of the routes, children will walk single file with adults in the front and the back. Report any safety concerns along your route to your Safe Routes to Schools committee.
Bike trains are only recommended for children who are proficient at riding—usually aged 8 or up although some children learn earlier than others. It is the parents’ responsibility to assess their child’s ability. Those who are not proficient can ride a “trailer bike” (third-wheel bike attached to a parent’s bike). Consider organizing a Riding with Youth Class for your bike trains. You can request this class from Safe Routes to Schools by contacting email@example.com. 415-456-3469 ext 8#.
You may decide to walk rain or shine. If not, then plan in advance: In the event of a rainy day, what will the backup plan be in order to carpool all students to school? This may require some networking the evening before so parents know who the drivers are and where to meet.
Make sure that the bikes are in good
Make sure that the bike fits the rider.
Ideally have an adult at the front, one at the back and one in the middle.
Every rider must wear a helmet, including
One adult can pull a trailer with backpacks, instruments or projects.
DEVELOPING A NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLPOOL NETWORK
Once you have established walking school buses and bike trains on your weekly Walk and Roll Wednesdays, you can take the next step to form Neighborhood SchoolPools. Safe Routes to Schools offers a web site for registration and guidance on developing a SchoolPool program at your school.
A SchoolPool is a way of sharing in the duties of getting children to and from school. SchoolPool options include carpooling, walk pools (“walking school buses”), bike pools (“bike trains”) or arranging bus buddies for school buses or public transit. Two or more families agree to share responsibilities by trading days as pool leaders. Many parents have taken up SchoolPooling as a way to save time, save money and provide a safer way for their children to get to school.
When a neighborhood is organized for SchoolPool, families can start walking and biking more frequently as they no longer have to take their children to school every day. Rather, they have a pool of families that can share that responsibility so it ultimately saves them time and also helps them to know their neighbors and form relationships between the parents and the children for other activities.
THE SCHOOLPOOL GUIDE will assist schools in setting up Neighborhood SchoolPool Networks in which one or more parents act as “captains,” helping organize all interested parents in their neighborhood into a larger pool of families. The guide will show:
How to delineate neighborhoods.
Techniques for accumulating names and contacts within those neighborhoods.
How captains can organize their neighborhoods.
How to promote the program.
The SchoolPool guide also contains a CAPTAIN'S GUIDE, which provides information for the Neighborhood Captain to organize his or her neighborhood. Neighborhood Captains are responsible for organizing SchoolPools within their own neighborhoods. They will use the lists generated through the SchoolPool program to contact families within their designated neighborhood and help them to organize these SchoolPools on a regular basis.
We can help you set up your maps. To set up a full SchoolPool program at your school, contact Wendi Kallins at firstname.lastname@example.org