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School Success Stories

Check out this neat You Tube video of Halton Region's ASRTS program.

Markham's Highgate Public School students celebrate International Walk to School Day 2010

Over 600 students, staff and community members participated in a walk around the community to celebrate walking and wheeling to school, in partnership with York Region Health Services. Following the community walk, Highgate Public School kicked off their Walking Wednesday Club for students who want to get up, get out and get active. See their inspiring animoto clip.

Highgate Markham - International Walk to School Day

It's Cool to Walk to School in Guelph

Some Guelph area schools received one of these fabulous banners for their lobby to promote and encourage walking to school. The banners were provided by the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Health Dept.

Guelph Banner

P.L. Roberston Public School in Milton
Ontario's first "walking only" school

P.L. Robertson Public School in Milton set an innovative culture from day one when they opened their doors for the first time. Children here are strongly encouraged to walk, skate or bike for the short trip to and from the school, prompting some to call it the first “walking only” school in Ontario. It helps that 98 per cent of the children who attend the school live within easy walking distance, but for those in outlying areas, there are designated drop-off points that still allow children a healthy walk to reach the school. The capital cost for the designation of this “walking only” school was largely for bicycle racks - enough for 280 bicycles.

This unprecedented move built great awareness of the importance of the daily choice to use active school transportation. P.L. Robertson is getting attention around the country and around the world for its innovative measures, appearing in a profusion of news articles from trade papers to general newspapers. Now that’s worthy of attention!

PL Robertson-Halton Winter

Montgomery Village Public School in Orangeville
Olympic-sized commitment to ASRTS

When the school parking lot at Montgomery Village PS became dangerously overcrowded with cars, they felt confident that the choice to close it to non-staff would be good for everyone. “Patty Pylon” and staff members greeted walking and wheeling students with house points every morning. To encourage more parental observation on the streets, the school also awarded points to parents who actively travel with their children (parent points apply to the child’s house team, too). Indeed, they got whole families moving more!

Continued reminders that the “kiss and ride” area, the fire lanes and the bus zones were now “No Park Zones” and “No Drop Off Zones” were floated to parents through stories in the school newsletter, signage on the roads and pavement repainting – drivers could not miss the message!

By fall, the school was in the active travel groove. They applied for, and won, the Canadian Olympic School Program by pledging to create a better Canada by helping children and their families walk to school safely to improve their overall health and to reduce pollution in the community. The prize included a Run, Jump Throw kit delivered to the school by Olympian Mark Boswell, who was welcomed by a gathering of children, staff, parents and community members.

The school is currently working with a town planner to change some parking facilities in an effort to completely eliminate pick up points on school property so that all children will cover some distance on the way to school and learn how to walk safely. In addition, they’re working with the Orangeville police on a Pilot Program called the “School Zone Traffic Safety Program” based on zero-tolerance enforcement of all traffic-related Federal, Provincial and Municipal by-laws.

So what’s ahead for Montgomery Village? A Freikometer! The school wants to win this state-of-the-art piece of counting technology so they can be part of the Canadian initiative to create statistics on active school transport. Paying it forward so that others can benefit – Thanks, Montgomery Village!

Ann Fenton - Orangeville

Churchill Alternative Public School in Ottawa
Making news

On IWALK Day at Churchill Alternative Public School, five walking school buses attracted 45 “riders” and a bevy of media attention as CTV Ottawa, CBC Radio and the Ottawa Sun came out to catch the event. An amazing seventy per cent of the school’s population walked or biked all or part way to school, breaking records and showing the students and the city what is possible.

White Oaks Public School in London
Block Parent® - working hand in hand

The London Block Parent® program is championing a Walking School Bus pilot at White Oaks Public School. This unique project recruits parents to assist with the Walking School Bus and links them to others throughout the community. Potential walking volunteers are screened just like Block Parent® participants and reflective vests are provided to the walkers. Parent volunteer Jessica Carthew hopes to see the program expand this school year.

White Oaks Poster

A Study in Sustainability from Halton Region

With the help of Green Communities Canada, Halton Region is pushing past the limitations of school-level advocacy towards a sustainable model that can affect more children over a prolonged period. A steering committee that includes representation from the four municipalities that make up Halton Region, Municipal Traffic Engineers, Regional Police Service, the Regional Health Department and both district school boards allowed Halton Region to complete a successful School Travel Planning pilot project at 8 schools in 2008.

Carefully tracked data from the pilot project and continued support from the multi-stakeholder committee demonstrated a strong case for full adoption, prompting the Halton District School Board to contribute $125,000 to extend and expand the project in 2009/10. Inspired by the public DSB, the Catholic District School Board has joined the project, too. In total, 25 new schools will see STP programming and the region is aligned for more great work in the future. To learn more about Halton’s outstanding progress, see the full report here Adobe PDF(Adobe PDF)

Cape Croker Junior School in Wiarton
Celebrating the traditional native way of life through walking

Local champion Laura Robinson worked for years with students from Cape Croker School in Wiarton, encouraging physical activity through cycling and cross country skiing. To further promote the idea of active transportation and to relate it to tradition, Laura worked with school staff and other stakeholders on a community walk that would focus on the benefits of daily physical activity.

Inspiring long-distance runners from the 1960’s, Charlie Nelson and Patrick Bruyere, and “water walker” Violet Caibaisoai participated in the walk with the students. The event kicked off with a talk by Violet and Charlie about the relationship between running and traditional life. They incorporated drumming into the talk and the grade 5-8 girls, dressed in their drumming skirts, drummed along. Violet taught the students a song that was extremely moving. Also thanks to Violet, the one-and-a-half hour long walk incorporated an amazing water ceremony that mesmerized the students.

In response to the great reception of the daily physical activity promotion, Laura came back for an additional evening to teach mountain biking skills to the students. Furthermore, a bicycle repair clinic was held for the students and their families so they could continue to keep their bicycles in good functioning order. Some of the Cape Croker students were so inspired that they became avid mountain bikers and competed in the Ontario elementary school mountain bike championships.

Cape Croker Bike Race 1

Cape Croker Bike Race 2
Ontario Ministry of Health Heart & Stroke Foundation - Finding answers. For life. Green Communities Canada
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