USD: Urbana School District 3:30-4:50 TR

Contact Information

Adam Kriska, Walking School Bus Coordinator 

Urbana School District 116

205 N. Race Street  P.O. Box 3039
Urbana, Illinois 61803

Main Office: 217-384-3600

adam.kriska@gmail.com

http://www.cu-srtsproject.com/walking-school-bus.html
http://www.cu-srtsproject.com/walking-school-bus.html
http://www.cu-srtsproject.com/walking-school-bus.html

Organization Mission

The Walking School Bus is a program in which a group of children walk to school with
volunteers from UIUC or community members. The Walking School Bus concept was
developed to enable children to have a safe, consistent system to walk to school on a regular
basis, even when traffic, weather, and crime are concerns. Using this model, we hope to
promote physical activity, reduce diabetes and obesity in children, and encourage active
transport. The mission of Urbana School District 116, a multicultural community committed
to educational excellence, is to endure that all learners acquire knowledge, develop skills,
and build character to achieve personal greatness and help create a better global society,
by providing innovative, comprehensive programs, respecting individual learning styles and
cultural differences, and fostering caring and nurturing relationships, while engaging each
student, every family and the entire community.
The Walking School Bus is a program in which a group of children walk to school with
volunteers from UIUC or community members. The Walking School Bus concept was
developed to enable children to have a safe, consistent system to walk to school on a regular
basis, even when traffic, weather, and crime are concerns. Using this model, we hope to
promote physical activity, reduce diabetes and obesity in children, and encourage active
transport. The mission of Urbana School District 116, a multicultural community committed
to educational excellence, is to endure that all learners acquire knowledge, develop skills,
and build character to achieve personal greatness and help create a better global society,
by providing innovative, comprehensive programs, respecting individual learning styles and
cultural differences, and fostering caring and nurturing relationships, while engaging each
student, every family and the entire community.
 

Problems and/or Opportunities

Many walking school bus programs are at risk of becoming unsuccessful, or not reaching
their full potential. Statistically, most programs fail to thrive. After Leal Elementary School
launched a pilot program for the Walking School Bus in Urbana, we are preparing for the
future, and looking for ways to build long lasting community partnerships and expand the
program to other schools in the Urbana School District #116. During the past 2 semesters,
we built a great program that is easy to manage. Starting in the Spring of 2015, we would
hope to offer the walking school bus to more families within the Leal catchment area, and
possibly offer this to other schools. We hope that the LINC team can help us promote and
expand our Walking School Bus program, and have it be a successful model to cover district
116.
 
In addition to successfully running a WSB program at an elementary school, this team
is expected to work within the community and build partnerships for a sustainable program.
The team would need to consider the problems of volunteer recruitment, coordinating the
program, providing fun and educational material to the children during the route, what kind
of evaluations can be conducted, contingency plans to deal with volunteer cancellations,
marketing the program, potential route cancellations or re-routes, and building partnerships to enable the program to be sustainable in the community. Because the Walking School
Bus Coordinator is involved with many organizations including, CU-Safe Routes to School
Project, Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH), and the CUMTD, this LINC team
can develop additional projects or solutions that may be beneficial to these organizations, in
addition to managing a Walking School Bus Program.

Solutions and Projects 

We would like to charge the LINC class with starting, operating, developing, and evaluating
a Walking School Bus Program at Prairie Elementary School! You can be part of a team
of interdisciplinary students and have the unique opportunity to work on this project that
involves education, urban planning, communication, volunteerism, public health, and
outreach. The team will do more than simply volunteer their hours to walk children in the
walking school bus, they will be helping expand the program, outreach to volunteer groups,
develop educational material for the walk for different grade levels, research physical
activity, and public health. You will gain real life experience in route planning for different
schools with different catchment areas, and even be exposed to peer reviewed papers
examining effectiveness of a walking school bus program. We also want this LINC team
to conduct an evaluation of the program, of their own design, as part of their deliverable
package. We` think it is important to see the effectiveness of the program, thus the team will
start to construct a basic evaluation framework early on in the class. We hope to start the
walking school bus program in mid-October, so the team will have sufficient time to learn
about evaluations, plan one, and execute it successfully to get pre/post walking school bus
data.

Comments

Master in Public Health students should be able to receive either core or concentration credit for taking this section of ENG 598.

We would be expecting the students to run one route as a LINC class (with students rotating on different days), in addition to organizing volunteers to run the other routes.

Background checks will need to be done with the district 116 volunteer coordinator and the Walking School Bus Coordinator assumes all responsibilities.

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