Have You Heard of a ‘Walking School Bus?’
Most of us remember taking the bus to and from elementary school if we didn't have the luxury of a parent who was able to drive us. If you were close enough to the school though, you had to walk. Today though, that's not as safe as it used to be due to higher volumes of traffic and changes in our society. That's where the Walking School Bus comes in.
The Oxford Hill School district has one of the largest bus routes in the state, covering 770,000 miles a year and transporting 2900 students every school day. Some buses arrive to pick up kids before the sun is even up. To alleviate some of the bus use, those students in K-6 who live half a mile or less from their school cannot receive bus services except under certain circumstances and therefore have to be driven by parents or walk.
Rebecca Powell is The Walking School Bus coordinator for Guy E. Rowe School in Norway and helped start the program for kids who walk to school. A group of students meet in the mornings at their 'bus stop' and walk together to and from school with two trained adult volunteers along a planned route, every school day. Kids can join the 'bus' at points along the route, just like a bus making stops.
The Walking School Bus Program is a model used nationally to make sure kids K-6 can walk to and from school in safety and get some healthy exercise at the same time. Portland was the first city in Maine to have a walking bus program and it has since spread to other Maine towns including Norway.
Want to start a Walking School Bus for your child's school? You can learn how at WalkingSchoolBus.org