The Iowa Safe Routes to School program is promoting the idea of a “walking school bus” to get kids to school. Alana Croco has been explaining the concept to school districts in Iowa.
“A walking school bus is a group of kids and two or more adults walking to school,” Croco says. “It’s essentially like a school bus, except they’re using their feet instead of using gas.”
Croco says there are “walking school bus” groups in “quite a few” schools in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area, and she recently met with parents and educators in Perry to talk about how to implement the idea.
“So for the adults, there’s a ‘driver’ and then a ‘caboose’ and they take a tally of all the kids that are coming. There’s a roster sheet. They’re making sure that they’re getting there. It’s usually within neighborhoods,” she says. “I would say that the best walking distance would be a mile or less for ‘walking school buses’ but it’s a really, really great program.”
Croco is the director of the Safe Routes to School program for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Croco has been meeting with kids and adults around the state to encourage students to pay attention to vehicles and street signs when they’re walking or riding their bike to school.
“They need to be aware of their surroundings, not playing on their media devices or their phones,” she says.
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is sponsoring a contest for schools that hosts a Wall or Bike to School Day in October as well as on-going programs to promote alternatives to gas-powered transportation for students. The winning school will get a “Hub” system that will let students use a plastic swipe card to log how many miles they walk or bike to school.
If you have questions about Walk to School Day, the Hub System Contest or bicycle and pedestrian education for students and parents, contact Croco at 319-430-7473 or [email protected]