Anderson Elementary is a great partner with the SR2S program and has consistently participated in many SR2S events and programs since 2015. The school participated in International Walk to School Day each October in four out of the last five years (2015-2019) and hosted Bike to School Day and the “Rock the Block” safety assembly in May 2019. Other activities include a school-wide Bike Rodeo and Helmet Fitting event and participation in the SR2S Poster Contest.
In addition, Anderson was one of 12 schools in the county included in the Solano SR2S Intervention and Evaluation Project during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Participation included a walk/bike audit to identify safety projects and program activities that can make it safer for students to walk and bike to school. As one of four pilot schools for new programming, interested parents attended a focus group in the Spring of 2019. The group discussed ideas for messaging to students and parents encouraging walking and biking to school, as well as messaging to help address concerns parents/caregivers may have that are barriers to allowing their students to walk or bike to school. SR2S staff used this input to design banners and other promotional items for the school with messages around the health, financial and environmental benefits to skipping the car ride and choosing active transportation options to get to school.
In February 2020, Principal Rayito Farris started a weekly WOW (Walk or Wheel) Wednesday program to help reduce school traffic by encouraging her students to walk, bike or ride scooters to school. Mrs. Farris said her students are excited about WOW Wednesdays and love receiving a charm token each week for their efforts. Since the program began, the number of students riding bikes and scooters has increased, she said. Building on WOW Wednesdays, Mrs. Farris also plans to start a Walking School Bus with an adult leader who will meet students at the train station and safely walk them to and from school each Wednesday
Dixon Montessori Charter School (Private School)
After noticing a considerable increase in bike riders after the Bike to School Day celebration in May 2017, Ben Ernest, Executive Director at Dixon Montessori Charter School, wanted to capitalize on the momentum and launched a WOW (Walk or Wheel) Wednesday program at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. The TK-8th grade school has students traveling from throughout Dixon and several other cities in the area, which adds to traffic challenges. The school wasn’t originally designed to have 400 students dropped off by their parents, said Mr. Ernest. It was built when students rode the bus, their bikes, or walked to school.
As a Montessori school, “We believed that riding or walking to school would promote independence in our students, strengthen our community and reduce traffic congestion at a site that wasn’t designed for today’s commuting habits,” Mr. Ernest shared as incentive to participate in the WOW Wednesday program.
The Dixon Montessori WOW Wednesday events are celebrated with the help of parent volunteers who lead the group and help students cross streets along the route. This weekly event has increased the number of students walking or rolling. As a result, traffic issues have been reduced, and students and the school community benefit, as well.
“Our students and parents who ride and walk begin the day more engaged and alert,” Mr. Ernest said. “Many of them come to school with a smile on their face and that’s a great way to start the day”, he added.
The program, now popular with parents and students alike, continued for its second year during the 2019-2020 school year. Students who walk or ride a scooter meet at Northwest Park. Bike riders can either ride from Northwest Park to school or meet Mr. Ernest at Hall Park to ride to school from there. The goal for the next school year is to add more meet-up spots giving more students the opportunity to participate.
In addition to the weekly WOW event, the school has held 14 SR2S activities and programs over the last 5 school years. In March 2019, Dixon Montessori was awarded funding from the SR2S Pilot Micro-Grant Program to purchase incentives and safety equipment to further address the safety of its students as they travel to and from school. The dedication that the staff, parents and students continue to show makes Dixon Montessori Charter School a Solano SR2S Champion School.
Gretchen Higgins Elementary
Gretchen Higgins Elementary has a long history of participation in the SR2S Program and continues to stand out as a SR2S Champion School for its ongoing efforts to promote the benefits of walking and biking to school to its students.
The school has supported these efforts by hosting International Walk to School Day every year since 2015 and Bike to School Day five out of the last six years (2014-2019). The school has also held Bike Rodeo and Helmet Fitting events to give its students the opportunity to learn bike handling and safety skills and to ensure they have properly fitted helmets. In addition, the school has provided students with fun ways to learn about walk and bike safety from the “Rock the Block” and “Light the Way” safety assemblies provided by the SR2S program.
Twice-yearly, SR2S asks schools to conduct student travel surveys to determine how students get to school (by walking, biking, family car, carpool, etc.). Gretchen Higgins has consistently completed these surveys since 2009, providing the SR2S program with invaluable data that helps SR2S to compete for grant funding and evaluate how SR2S programs and activities can best serve schools.
Furthering Gretchen Higgins’ engagement in SR2S, Principal Shantel McCammon took the initiative to encourage her students to get more exercise and help reduce school traffic by starting a monthly “Bike, Skate or Scooter to School” event. Recognizing the benefits of active transportation for the school community and wanting a fun and healthy ongoing event for her students, she planned on launching the weekly event in March 2020. The launch of the event has been delayed due to the school closures in spring 2020.
Neighborhood Christian School (Private School)
Neighborhood Christian School first became involved in the Safe Routes to School program in 2017 when it hosted a Bike Rodeo for their 3rd to 8th grade students. The Dixon Cadets lent a hand helping 60 or so students learn bike handling and safety skills as they maneuvered through various obstacle and training courses set up at the school.
The school has also participated in the annual SR2S Poster Contest since 2017. Lila Rosen took second 2nd Place in the 3rd – 5th grade category for her awesome entry in 2017.