Hop On Board the Walking School Bus!
The Portland Walking School Bus Program (WSB) has completed it’s initial pilot period (Spring 2013 through Spring 2014) at several area schools. The East End Community School has been chosen as a pilot site for the new statewide Maine Walking School Bus Program for the 2014-2015 school year. The program continues to recruit volunteers as routes grow as well.
Other Portland and area schools interested in walk and bike to school encouragement and education should be in touch with Sarah Cushman, Southern Maine Planner for the Maine Safe Routes to School Program for technical assistance.
The Maine 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 two trained adult volunteers, enjoying a walk along a designated route to 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 (SRTS) and Portland is the first city in Maine to have a coordinated and regularly operating WSB Program. The Maine SRTS and new Maine Walking School Bus Program are part a partnership of the Maine Center for Disease Control, the Maine Department of Transportation, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and communities like Portland’s throughout the state. The partnership enables and encourages safe walking and bicycling for Maine’s school children.
This dynamic and comprehensive collaboration between the Portland Public Schools and the Maine Safe Routes to School/WSB Programs 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 2014-2015 pilot program at the East End Community School (register your child here.
For more information please E-mail or call Maddy Ray, the East End WSB Coordinator at (207) 874-8228. And please explore this web site further info.