Home‎ > ‎School Information‎ > ‎

Safe Routes to School

What is it?

The Safe Routes to School Program is a grant agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Chesterfield County Public Schools. Funding is provided based on a specific set of goals and requirements established in the grant. Select schools have been identified as participants and the school principals have agreed to assist in compliance. A local coordinator will be available to assist the school coordinator with grant activities.

Why participate?

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, and community leaders to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. SRTS programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities that improve safety in the vicinity of schools. As a result, these programs make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation choice, thus encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age. The nationally funded grant provides for infrastructure as well as non-infrastructure projects and improvements.

A generation ago, 90% of students living within a mile of school walked or biked to get to class. Today the percentage is much smaller -- just over 10% of students walk and bike to school. Walking and biking to school benefits both the students and the community in several ways. Students who walk and bike get more physical activity, have more time to socialize with their friends, and develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. Some studies have shown a correlation between increased physical activity before school and improved academic performance*. The community benefits from reduced pollution and traffic congestion. Safe Routes to School strategies also address both traffic safety and personal security. Many Virginians want to get back to their roots and foster communities that are walkable and bikeable. The Safe Routes to School Program is part of this effort. (www.virginiadot.org/saferoutes).

*Martinez-Gomez, D., J. R. Ruiz, et al. (2011). “Active

Commuting to School and Cognitive Performance in

Adolescents: The AVENA Study.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc

Med 165(4): 300-305.

How CCPS Promotes Safe Routes

Chesterfield County’s Safe Routes to School program has been established since 2006. Schools vary year to year with the hope that we can reach more students with this great opportunity. This year we have nine schools participating, the most we have ever had. These include Bellwood Elementary, Bettie Weaver Elementary, Clover Hill Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Gordon Elementary, Greenfield Elementary, Spring Run Elementary, Swift Creek Elementary, and Elizabeth Davis Middle. We hope to continue to grow the program and add more schools each year.

We implement an incentive program to encourage participation. Students who walk/bike to school daily receive a shoe tag and a daily mark on their punch card. When students have reached 20 punches they receive a larger incentive like backpacks or sunglasses. When the punch card is completed students will receive a new punch card. There are different incentives on event days such as Walking Wednesdays or Bike To School Day.

How does your school participate?

*Encourage and enforce the completion of Student Tally’s (done by homeroom teachers) and Parent Surveys in the fall or spring (required).

*Encourage ways for students and parents to walk or bike to school.

*Provide staff or students to punch cards and give out incentives daily (required).

*Participate in Walk/Bike to School Day events monthly or several times throughout the year. These may include: International Walk to School Day-10/5/2016 (required), monthly Walking Wednesdays (or another day), Healthy Youth Month-Jan., Earth Day-4/22/2017, Bike to School Day-5/10/2017, and Bike Rodeos (some events required).

How can parents help their school participate?

*Walk or bike with your child or neighbors to school.

*Arrange to meet at the school selected location for Walking Wednesdays and help supervise.

*Assist with incentive distribution if asked by your site coordinator.

*Contact your site coordinator and ask how you can participate!

Luis Giron-Lopez,
Feb 14, 2017, 7:17 AM