WSB: Walking School Bus Program, Urbana School District 9:30-10:50 TR

Contact Information

Adam Kriska, MPH, Walking School Bus Coordinator 

847-274-8888

adam.kriska@gmail.com

Jennifer Ivory-Tatum, Ed.D.

217-384-3651

jivory-tatum@usd116.org

Urbana School District 116
205 N. Race Street  P.O. Box 3039
Urbana, Illinois 61803

Main Office: 217-384-3600

Leal Elementary School
312 W. Oregon
Urbana, Illinois 61803

http://www.usd116.org/leal/

Organization Mission

The Walking School Bus is a program in which a group of children walk to and from school under adult supervision. 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. 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 expand the program to other schools in the district.

During the Spring semester, we started small to build a great program that is easy to manage. Starting in the Fall of 2014, 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.

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.

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!

Your team of interdisciplinary students will have the unique opportunity to work on this project that involves education, urban planning, communication, volunteerism, child 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.

They 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 them 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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