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Seventeen schools in six Michigan counties to receive Safe Routes to School mini-grantsContact: Barbara Hicks, MDOT Communications 517-335-3084Agency: Transportation
February 21, 2013 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan Fitness Foundation today announced that 17 elementary and intermediate schools in six counties will receive federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding. The schools will receive mini-grants averaging $4,050 each to develop programs that encourage more students to walk and bicycle safely to school.
MDOT and the Michigan Fitness Foundation work with schools, neighborhoods, students, teachers, parents, school transportation directors and local law enforcement agencies on SRTS initiatives. There are two categories of grant funding. One focuses on eliminating barriers to safe walking and bicycling with such safety improvements as sidewalk replacement and repair, crosswalk marking, installing bike racks and signs, and traffic calming and speed reduction measures. The other category focuses on educational activities to teach children to be safe and responsible on roadways and sidewalks while enjoying the health benefits of physical activity.
The mini-grants announced today will fund educational activities like "Walking School Bus" and "Corner Captains" programs. A "Walking School Bus" is a group of children who walk to school under the supervision of trained adult volunteer leaders, taking safe, designated routes with a timetable and specific meeting points. "Corner Captains" assign trained adult volunteers and station them at selected corners along specific routes to keep a watchful eye on students walking to and from school.
"Safe Routes empowers schools to provide educational campaigns with proven track records," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "With this round of funding, MDOT is helping to establish Safe Routes initiatives in communities all the way from the Upper Peninsula to Detroit. We are pleased to participate in this program."
"Dixon is a public school with 740 students. About 40 percent walk to school through neighborhoods with abandoned homes and closed industrial facilities," said Dixon Educational Learning Academy Principal Ora L. Beard. "This will supply eyes and ears in areas where our children are walking to and from school. We welcome this partnership for the safety of our students."
The schools receiving the mini-grants are listed by county and city:
Norway Elementary School will receive a $4,989 mini-grant to develop a weekly Walking School Bus program. Participating students will receive pedometers and water bottles while route leaders will use reflective vests and safety signs to provide extra visibility. The Walking School Bus will involve parents and community leaders as volunteer route leaders. Students who ordinarily are bused or driven to school will be encouraged to get dropped off at designated Walking School Bus stops on one of three routes each Wednesday and walk safely to school.
Genesee County (three schools)
In partnership with the Crim Foundation, Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School will receive a $4,993 mini-grant to continue its Walking School Bus program. The program continues to encourage students who live within a 1.5-mile radius of the school to walk in groups along designated routes. Incentives related to physical activity and healthy eating also will be included for students and volunteers. The program expects to serve up to 50 students with the support of 10 adult volunteers and six school staff members.
Scott Elementary School will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to establish a Walking School Bus program for up to 40 students that will operate on a daily basis before and after school, and also serve students attending after-school programs. It will include classroom safety instruction for students and training for route leaders and volunteers.
In partnership with the Crim Foundation, Washington Elementary School will receive a $4,992 mini-grant to continue its Walking School Bus program. The program continues to encourage students who live within a 1.5-mile radius of the school to walk in groups along designated routes.
Incentives related to physical activity and healthy eating also will be included for students and volunteers. The program expects to serve up to 50 students with the support of 10 adult volunteers and six school staff members.
Horizon Elementary School will receive a $1,691 mini-grant to continue its Walking School Bus program. Over the last two years, the number of meeting points on the route has grown from four to 13 locations. The program hopes to serve 150 children.
Herrington Elementary School, in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Human Services' "Pathways to Potential" school-based team members, will receive a $5,038 mini-grant to implement a "Walking Wednesdays" program. The program will serve students living within a 1.5-mile radius of the school with a special focus on students from the Lancaster, Featherstone and Herrington Hills areas. Students will be encouraged to ride their bicycles to school one Wednesday each month. The program expects to serve 50 students.
Washtenaw County (four schools)
In partnership with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, Dwight E. Beach Middle School will receive a $2,338 mini-grant to encourage children to walk and bicycle to and from school daily. Participant data will be tracked with a scanner and barcode tag system. This technology uses a scanning device and personalized barcode tag for each student to record the total number of miles walked or biked, along with CO2 savings and calories burned. The Active4.me system offers an option to notify parents/caregivers via e-mail or text when the barcode has been scanned to let them know their students have arrived safely at school. The program expects to serve at least 60 students.
In partnership with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, South Meadows Elementary School in Chelsea will receive a $1,916 mini-grant to begin a Walking School Bus program. Trained adult volunteers will serve as Walking School Bus leaders. Prior to the start of the program, an interactive safe streets presentation by Wayne State University's Transportation Research Group will be used to teach pedestrian safety to students in grades three through five. The program expects to serve approximately 50 students.
In partnership with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, Creekside Intermediate School will receive a $1,843 mini-grant to operate five Walking School Bus routes for students who live within a 1-mile radius of the school. Specific areas of concern for this age group include using designated crosswalks, crossing safely and discouraging distractions like cell phones and personal music players. The program expects to serve approximately 50 students.
In partnership with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, Wylie Elementary School will receive a $1,921 mini-grant to operate a Walking School Bus program. Prior to the start of the program, an interactive safe streets presentation by Wayne State University's Transportation Research Group will be used to teach students in grades three and four how to cross safely and understand traffic signals and the importance of walking in groups for visibility and safety, with a special focus on students who must cross busy Baker Road to get to school. The program expects to serve approximately 60 students.
Wayne County(seven schools)
Bennett Elementary School, in partnership with Southwest Environmental Vision, will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to continue its Walking School Bus program. The program serves two routes with two trips daily to accommodate students who arrive early and stay late. Pedestrian safety is emphasized during the day for students and at parent meetings. The school plans to coordinate with various local organizations to sustain the program. The program expects to serve approximately 30 students.
Brenda Scott Middle School will receive a $5,037 mini-grant to implement a Corner Captains program. This program teams adult volunteers and selected students, and stations them at corners where large numbers of children travel to and from school. Team members wear reflective gear, hold flags and reinforce pedestrian safety skills. The program expects to serve up to 50 students.
Clippert Academy will receive a $4,998 mini-grant to implement a Walking School Bus program. The program expects to serve up to 160 students with the support of 20 adult volunteers, school staff and a SRTS program coordinator. School-wide pedestrian and bicycle safety sessions are planned along with walking field trips. Safety sessions for parents and students will occur during school open houses, parent association meetings and parent-teacher conferences. Parents, volunteers, supporters and local businesses will be recruited to help implement the program.
Dixon Educational Learning Academy, in partnership with the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (DYVPI) and AmeriCorp VISTA, will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to implement a Walking School Bus and Corner Captains programs. A Walk to School Day event will be held each semester to kick off the program. There will be monthly training sessions, educational materials, and support for volunteers, parents and caregivers. The program expects to serve up to 50 students each day.
Law Academy, a part of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to operate a Walking School Bus, along with a Corner Captains program in partnership with the Carrie Cliff Rogge Block Club and the Nortown Community Development corporations. The program intends to serve up to 70 students who live within a three-quarter-mile radius of the school. Students will walk in groups with trusted adult volunteers serving as route leaders under the watchful eyes of volunteer adult Corner Captains along three designated routes. Pedestrian safety will be covered in physical education classes and reinforced by Walking School Bus route leaders. A Walking School bus coordinator will recruit and train adult volunteers.
Winans Academy of Performing Arts will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to implement a Corner Captains program that will station volunteers at selected locations to watch over students as they walk to school. The Corner Captains will mainly consist of fathers who participate in the Dad's Group at the school and will receive training and maintain log sheets for their assigned routes. Students also will receive pedestrian safety information during health and physical education classes, and will be encouraged to participate. The program expects to serve 150 students.
Gaudior Public School Academy will receive a $4,097 mini-grant to implement a Walking School Bus program along two designated routes. The Walking School Bus will consist of students walking in groups with two adult escorts, four rotating student officers and one student leader for each route to ensure the safety of students who walk home from school each day. Training sessions will be required for all volunteers, including school staff, parents, Wayne State University students and others. The program expects to serve 50 students on a daily basis. School staff will rotate as route leaders throughout the school year. All students will receive pedestrian safety education.
MDOT's role is to administer the federally legislated SRTS program that creates opportunities for collaboration with agencies and partners not traditionally involved with transportation funding. The SRTS program provides educational programs, infrastructure improvements and encouragement activities to help children safely walk and bike to school and increase their physical activity.
Funding for SRTS programs was established by Congress in 2005 and continued under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) of 2012. More information is available at online at: www.saferoutesmichigan.org.
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