Hop On Board the Portland Walking School Bus!
The Portland WSB program has begun and will continue through the end of the school year in June 2014. East End Community School is operating two routes and the program is recruiting volunteers to launch at Lyseth, Reiche and Riverton Schools.
The Portland Walking School Bus Program connects students and their families with trained adult leaders to experience a fun and safe group walk to school.
What is a Walking School Bus?
A Walking School Bus (WSB) is a group of students, supervised by a trained adult volunteer, enjoying a walk along a designated route to and/or from school on a daily basis. Children can join the WSB at stops along the route near their homes. Families can also drop off their children at a collection point, such as a nearby park, to join the WSB to school. It’s safe, it’s fun, it’s simple!
The Walking School Bus Program is a national model that arose from the desire to enable children to walk safely to school on a regular basis, even in instances where traffic congestion and safety may be of concern. The model was brought to Portland by the federally-funded Maine Safe Routes to School Program and Portland aims to be the first city in Maine to have a coordinated and regularly operating WSB Program. The federally and locally funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program – a partnership of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and communities like Portland’s throughout the state – works to improve safety for children walking and biking to school.
This dynamic and comprehensive collaboration between the Portland Public Schools and the Maine Safe Routes to School Program aims to offer a reliable and safe transportation system for school children and their families. We hope to support safer commutes for students who already travel by foot, as well as to inspire additional students to walk, exposing them to a simple and effective form of exercise. Students who walk to school have also shown improved academic performance and learning readiness.
The Portland Public School District is offering a free Spring 2014 program at four pilot public elementary schools (register your child here):
- Reiche Elementary
- East End Community School
- Lyseth Elementary
- Riverton Elementary