Walking School Bus
In 2008, CoolMom received a $13,000 grant from the city of Seattle to promote fuel free routes to school. The Walking School Bus was started in the Magnolia neighborhoods in the Blaine and Lawton Elementary Schools to get students walking safely to school along a prescribed route. The goals of the program included decreasing the number of cars coming to the school and subsequently lowering carbon emissions and fuel consumed, as well as increasing student exercise.
The grant also provided funds to place signs at the schools to discourage drivers from letting their cars idle.
Kirsten Bergstrom, Magnolia CoolMom and CoolMom co-founder, said the program worked because it engaged students. She said her group wanted to teach kids that every trip doesn’t have to begin in a car.
The Walking School Bus program started at the schools in 2007 but they were looking to substantially increase participation in 2008 by offering more routes and getting more students involved. Both schools involved parent leaders to help increase routes.
Commentary by Lyon Terry, Lawton School Teacher and Kirsten Bergstrom, CoolMom co-founder and CoolMom Board Member through September 2011
Tips on how to get a Walking School Bus going in your neck of the woods click here