4 Tips from School Leaders: How to Make Every Day a Walk to School Day
On October 5, 2016, thousands of students, teachers, parents and community members will participate in the 20th annual Walk to School Day. This event, which began in 1997 and turned international in 2000, brings together thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide to encourage kids to start their day on the right foot.
As we recognize this day, we’re reminded that any day – not just October 5 – can be a walk to school day with the right planning and support for your students and staff! See how schools and districts across the country are making walking to school just another part of an active school day.
1. Make Walking a District-Wide Activity
For Anderson School District 4 in Pendleton, South Carolina, walking to school unites their district-wide effort to be healthier. Last year, all six of its schools – totaling nearly 1,500 students – participated in Walk to School Day. Anderson’s commitment to health is paying off, both in terms of its students’ physical health and classroom performance. “We have seen attendance, concentration and overall academic performance improve when you provide healthy nutritional choices and opportunities for physical activity,” said Superintendent Dr. Joanne Avery.
2. “Cash in” on Students’ Health
At Twinhill Elementary School in Riverside, California, students can visit a special “walk to school store” where they can cash in on “walk to school cash” to buy items such as jump ropes, yo-yos, and pedometers during Walk to School Wednesdays. Not only has the store helped encourage more students to walk to school, but it has also increased students’ physical activity levels before and after school.
3. Create Safe Walking Routes for Students
In order to make walking to school safer, more fun and more convenient, Beryl Heights Elementary in Redondo Beach, California created four “Walking School Bus” routes where students “get on the bus” at the start of the route or at meeting points along the way. Since Beryl began the program, nearly every other elementary school in their district has followed suit, creating their own walking school bus routes. Now Principal Karen Mohr says, “Students are not only behaving better, but thanks to more opportunities to be active, they’re also paying attention longer and participating more often.”
4. Get the Community Involved
For the students and staff at Gove Elementary School in Belle Glade, Florida, Walk to School Day is not only an opportunity for them to get active together, but for the whole community to get involved. Each year, Gove recognizes Walk to School Day by inviting the local sheriff and fire rescue teams to join on a mile walk. According to Physical Education Teacher Ellen Smith, these efforts have allowed an emphasis on health and wellness to spread throughout the Palm Beach community.
Ready to take the first step in getting your school or district moving more? Start a walking or running club or connect with our national experts by joining one of our online communities to find out how you can get started on the path to success.