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Policies for Pupils: Working with School Boards on Walking and Bicycling Policies- Sara Zimmerman

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Title: Policies for Pupils: Working with School Boards on Walking and Bicycling Policies
Track: Change
Format: 90 minute panel
Abstract: Engaging schools in walking and bicycling efforts can be difficult given competing education priorities and frequent staff and volunteer turn-over. Attendees will learn about strategies for influencing school boards and policy opportunities at the district level.
Presenters:
Presenter: Sara Zimmerman Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Co-Presenter: Diane Dohm ChangeLab Solutions
Co-Presenter: Bree Romero Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Co-Presenter: Leigh Ann Von Hagen Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University

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Policies for Pupils: Working with School Boards on Walking and Bicycling Policies- Sara Zimmerman

  1. 1. Policies for Pupils Working with School Boards on Walking and Bicycling Policies
  2. 2. About the National Partnership We are a nonprofit organization that improves the quality of life for kids and communities by promoting active, healthy lifestyles and safe infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking. We advance policy change; catalyze support for safe, active, and healthy communities with a network of more than 700 partner organizations; and we share our deep expertise at national, state, and local levels with those who are helping propel our mission forward.
  3. 3. •Diane Dohm, ChangeLab Solutions Why Policy? •Bree Romero, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Transportation Equity 101 •Sara Zimmerman, Safe Routes to School National Partnership Policy Options and the Online Safe Routes to School Policy Workbook •Leigh Ann Von Hagen, Voorhees Transportation Center The New Jersey Experience •Policy Jeopardy •Q&A Our Agenda for Today
  4. 4. •Movement that encourages kids to walk and bicycle to school •Federal transportation bill: funding for programs and infrastructure •Many states and regions have their own initiatives & funding What Is Safe Routes to School?
  5. 5. Addresses many problems •Children’s health and obesity •Climate change •Air pollution •Dangers of street crime and violence •Danger of traffic injuries when walking, biking, and using public transportation Benefits of Safe Routes to School
  6. 6. Goal: Healthy, Thriving Kids and Communities
  7. 7. Policies for Pupils: Policy Options and the Policy Workbook Sara Zimmerman, JD Technical Assistance Director
  8. 8. •Physical activity supports academic achievement •When children are healthier, they learn better •Physically active kids have better attendance rates •Safe Routes to School helps children arrive safely at school How do school districts benefit from Safe Routes to School?
  9. 9. Policy Opportunities Beyond School Board Policies •Wellness policies •Transportation department policies •Curricula (e.g. health and PE) •Other plans or policies required by state law (safety plans, etc.) •Parent and student handbooks •Webpages
  10. 10. Blah blah blah policy. What are they actually talking about? Can we get some details?
  11. 11. Crossing Guards Components: •Ensure process for hiring, training, and equipping •Work to ensure that the distribution is equitable •Seek more funding if necessary
  12. 12. Limiting Restrictions on Active Transportation •Acknowledges schools generally don’t have the authority to restrict how kids get to school •Prohibits individual schools from placing such restrictions
  13. 13. •Basic policy: Require abundant bicycle parking •Increase with demand •Options: Locate in visible areas, locked if necessary; protection from the elements Bike Parking
  14. 14. Creative Commons Flickr: Caitlinator Department’s role includes: •Encouraging walking & biking; minimizing cars near school •Participating in SRTS task force •Looking for funding for SRTS activities •Option: devote % FTE Student Transportation Departments
  15. 15. •Free online tool that lets you review different possible policy provisions •Educational tool •Create your very own policy tailored to your local needs What is the policy workbook?
  16. 16. Basic Slide Heading •Basic slide body
  17. 17. Basic Slide Heading •Basic slide body http://changelabsolutions.org/safe-routes/welcome “Beginner” Policies
  18. 18. Basic Slide Heading •Basic slide body http://changelabsolutions.org/safe-routes/welcome “Intermediate” Policies
  19. 19. Basic Slide Heading •Basic slide body http://changelabsolutions.org/safe-routes/welcome “Advanced” Policies
  20. 20. Policy Workbook Development •Basic slide body http://changelabsolutions.org/safe-routes/welcome
  21. 21. Policy Workbook Development •Basic slide body Explanation Citations Policy Options Star Ratings http://changelabsolutions.org/safe-routes/welcome
  22. 22. Policy Workbook Development •Basic slide body Legal Notes!
  23. 23. Policy Workbook Development •Basic slide body Educational resources related to policy
  24. 24. Policy Workbook Development •Basic slide body Recommendations When you’re ready to see the final policy
  25. 25. Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains Explanation: By encouraging groups of students to walk or bicycle to school together, Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains effectively address a variety of parental concerns about safety. These programs can be part of an organized school-wide effort, with trained safety leaders and multiple groups walking or bicycling from different neighborhoods to the school. Or informal groups of children can meet up to walk, skateboard, scooter, or ride together. Younger students can be accompanied by an adult volunteer or older student. Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are effective tools for reducing traffic safety risk and improving personal safety.[44] They reduce the risk of bullying and other personal harm by bringing more eyes and ears to the street, a known crime reduction technique. They also build social cohesion and can even reduce tardiness. District requires that individual schools establish and promote regular Walking School Bus or Bicycle Train programs. Such programs shall occur on a regular basis, at least [one per week]. Legal Note on Liability and Walking School Buses: School districts are often concerned about their potential exposure to liability if a child were to be injured while participating in a Walking School Bus or Bicycle Train program. Although liability rules vary from state to state, districts are generally entirely immune from liability for decisions to simply sponsor or endorse a program such as a Walking School Bus or Bicycle Train program.[45] Sponsoring a program can involve allowing it to take place, informing Tailored Policy
  26. 26. •Presents a wide array of policy options •Assists districts in committing to strong policies •Helps avoid problems and liability concerns by ensuring a well thought-through, vetted approach Why use the policy workbook?
  27. 27. Additional Resources www.saferoutespartnership.org
  28. 28. Sara Zimmerman Technical Assistance Director sara@saferoutespartnership.org
  29. 29. School Design
  30. 30. New schools and renovations: site design Option 1: •Commits the district generally to accommodating safety for all modes Option 1:
  31. 31. Option 2: Option 2: Adds specifics, such as: •Having multiple entrances from different streets for active transportation •Avoid entrances and exits on busy streets New schools and renovations: site design
  32. 32. Student Arrival & Dismissal Procedures •Recognizes that this can be a dangerous time •District requires schools to separate each mode from the others as much as possible •Provides a variety of strategies
  33. 33. Overview •What’s in it for districts? •Beyond the school board policy •Examples of policy provisions •Do it yourself District Policy Workbook
  34. 34. School Travel Plan
  35. 35. •School travel plan: A strategic plan with maps, benchmarks, and objectives, for supporting active transportation •Each school required to adopt a school travel plan
  36. 36. School Siting/ Attendance Zones
  37. 37. Constance Beaumont •School locations are important & long term •Decisions are often ad hoc •Good policies can provide a process and balance interests
  38. 38. Workbook has basic version
  39. 39. Or use the stand alone policies
  40. 40. Busing
  41. 41. Option 1: Option 2: Option 3:
  42. 42. Legal note in policy workbook: •Discusses issues re who runs the program – district, police department, or other •Notes potential for liability issues •Provides best practices/good steps
  43. 43. •Option: Also, makes these requirements a specific % of job duties

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