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Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School
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WALK & BIKE to SCHOOL DAY/WEEK in OCTOBER
 
Wednesday, October 5, was International Walk to School Day. Minneapolis Public Schools joined families around the world to celebrate the joys and reap the benefits of walking and biking to school. More than 35 schools representing more than 8,000 students, staff and families participated in walk and bike to school events all week long! Kudos to all the early-start schools where walkers and bikers didn't let gray, cold drizzle stop them, including room 224 at Pillsbury, winners of the Golden Shoe for the most walkers. Schools that started later in the day had a beautiful day for activities, including Anwatin, celebrating for the first time in many years, Jefferson and its long-standing walking school bus, and Hiawatha which welcomed Council Member Johnson and which for the first time also included all the school buses in the half mile walk (see Southwest Journal article). Thank you all
 

HOW WILL YOU GET TO SCHOOL THIS YEAR?

The Minneapolis Walking Routes for Youth map can help you plan your route!

Active Commute Equals Active Mind

MPS Safe Routes encourages students and families to actively commute to school. Research suggests students who walk to school have better attendance and higher achievement than those who do not. A recent study found that walking or biking to school improved children's concentration during the school day much more than eating breakfast or lunch did!. Other research links walking and creativity. As we all play a role in student success, in students achieving their dreams, MPS Safe Routes offers the commute to school as a small piece of this larger goal. Please contact MPS Safe Routes if you'd like assistance starting Safe Routes efforts in your community, educating staff and students on safe routes, organizing bike/walk events and walking buses, establishing school-owned bicycle fleets and/or addressing safety concerns.

Save the dates: 2016-2017 Walk and Bike to School Days

October 5, 2016: Fall MPS Walk & Bike to School Day

February 1, 2017: Winter Walk Day

May 10, 2017: Spring MPS Bike & Walk to School Day: (part of MPS Wellness Week May 8-12, 2017)

 

Recent publication  | Journal of School Health | Critical Connections: Health and Academics | Volume 85, Issue 11 | November 2015

The November Issue of the Journal of School Health is devoted to the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model. One article in this issue focuses on Health and Academic Achievement. Some excerpts: “Despite these [reform] efforts, there has been minimal improvement in student achievement. One reason might be that these education-specific approaches are not addressing health-related barriers to learning… Researchers have been examining the association between physical activity and academic achievement for almost 50 years…[research] consistently showed that physical activity had a significant positive association with students' cognitive functioning (eg, concentration and memory)…. In addition, a recent review, based on a meta-analysis of 20 experimental studies, concluded that students participating in physical activity had improved academic achievement including better concentration and attention, higher achievement tests scores, and higher math scores compared with students who did not.” Read the article.
 

Safe Routes to School Highlights from 2015-2016:

  • Eleven schools held once, monthly, or weekly Bus Stop & Walks this year: Northrop, Seward, Lucy Laney, Loring, Lyndale, Keewaydin, Wenonah, Bancroft, Marcy, Hale and Pratt. Each week, more than 3,000 “extra” students experienced the joys and reaped the benefits of walking to school. 

  • In the year-end survey of the Bus Stop & Walk, 97% of staff reported that on the days of the Bus Stop & Walk, students arrived to school MORE ALERT and READY to LEARN!  (See full survey results.)

  • More than 1,000 MPS students discovered freedom, beauty, and adventure on the streets and trails of Minneapolis using the MPS bicycle fleet and the Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum. These students from Loring, Seward, Whittier, Bethune, Nellie Stone Johnson, Marcy and Lyndale collectively pedaled their bicycles more than 6,000 miles—going farther than the year before and biking the equivalent of  Miami to Seattle and THEN BACK AGAIN.

  • In the summer 600 more students will be bicycling EVERY DAY in the Stem Academy summer programs at Franklin MS and Pillsbury Elementary. School bicycle fleets across MPS will also be in use this summer!

  • The bicycle maintenance class at Transition Plus took excellent care of the MPS bicycle fleet over the winter and added an April bike ride to the Lake before the fleet went out again. Edison also stepped up to help get the Lucy Laney and Northeast Middle School fleets in order.

  • More than a dozen volunteers committed to helping with walk and bike efforts—including some SUPER volunteers: JAN, LUCY, and KELLIE.  To volunteer with MPS bike and walk efforts see the sidebar. 

  • MPS SRTS was awarded a 2016-2017 planning grant from MnDOT SRTS.

  • MPS SRTS will join the Whole Child Wellness team located in MPS Culinary and Wellness Services in 2016-2017!

2015-2016 Walk and Bike to School Day highlights:

Fall

  • 37+ schools participated in walk and bike to school day in October.

  • Jefferson’s parent-led walking bus had more than fifty walkers! This walking bus runs weekly! Lucy Laney principals and staff walked out into the neighborhood to pick up children and walk to school together! At Pillsbury Mr. Lundquist’s class earned the GOLDEN SHOE, Ms. O’Neil’s class earned the GOLDEN BICYCLE, and Anthony was deemed the best recruiter! South High Green Tigers’ awesome event was featured in The SouthernerRead it hereWhittier had a gorgeous sunny morning filled with positive bike/walk energy, support from the Wedge Co-op, stellar fifth grade volunteers, and a steady stream of walkers and bikers. Seward met its goal of triple digit BICYCLES on the racks!!! Hiawatha and Howe saw many more children walking and biking than even live in the walk zone, about 150 kids in the two buildings!

Winter

  • More than 20 MPS schools participated in Winter Walk Day on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. 
  • On that same day, student leaders from Pillsbury Community School led a nine-mile bicycle tour during the International Winter Cycling Congress. In all the students biked about fifteen miles on Winter Walk Day. 

Spring

  • More than 36 schools and 9,000 students and staff participated in May Bike and Walk to School Day events.
  • The first district group bicycle ride EVER was held on National Bike to School Day!-- the Let’s Roll MPS: About 150 students, parents, staff, and community members joined this inaugural ride. The most common comment heard was how fun it was to be waved at and cheered on by neighbors along the six mile route through North Minneapolis. School groups from Bethune, Nellie Stone Johnson, Pillsbury, and Whittier helped lead the way and Transition Plus High School provided on-the-road maintenance. The Culinary and Wellness Center provided delicious snacks at the end.
  • More than 150 kids walking and biking to Hiawatha/Howe. Hiawatha also held a successful 2nd annual Bike rodeo on May 20 with more than 30 kids participating.  They learned about bike safety, went through an elaborate obstacle course, had tune ups and helmet checks, and EVERY participant got a light, or a gift card to one on one bike studio.  Thank you to Hiawatha parents for this event.  
  • Staff enthusiasm for walk and bike day grew exponentially as we welcomed our new staff wellness person, Lindsay Biller. The staff winners of the walk/bike day staff prizes were Sharon Cormany, Patty Kendall, and Matthew Larkey.
  • Council Member Lisa Bender greeted walkers and bikers at Whittier and then in the afternoon, Mr. Sanville, and kids and parents joined the Let’s Roll.