Biking and Walking to the Next Level in Culver City
Biking and walking is a big deal for the five elementary schools in the Culver City Unified School District. Over the past seven years, Safe Routes to School coordinator Jim Shanman has worked with the schools to build enthusiasm for walking and biking at all five elementary schools in this urban/suburban town outside of Los Angeles. When the program started, only two schools were already doing Safe Routes to School activities with a Walk to School Day program at one school and a walking school bus at another. Since then, all five elementary schools have taken their programs to the next level, with regular encouragement events, walking school buses, and bicycle and pedestrian safety education curriculum as part of their PE classes.
This spring, the schools were gearing up for Bike to School Day as usual and Mr. Shanman thought that Fire Up Your Feet Challenge would be a good fit. “The schools are always interested in offering more incentives for walking and biking, plus we thought it was a cool opportunity to participate in a national contest and have a shot at winning prizes that benefit the entire school – not just kids that participate,” he said.
During the Challenge, the schools tracked activity from all the biking and walking events that were held that month. In addition to a big event on National bike to School Day, some of the schools held weekly or monthly walking school buses along with some community bike events. The district uses active4.me tags which made it easy to track whatever the students were doing related to walking and biking. At the end of the Challenge, La Ballona Elementary School pulled off a win, bringing home a Rookie of the Year award.
“La Ballona Elementary was very deserving to bring home an award. They’ll be able to use the award money to encourage champions to step up and promote their program,” said Mr. Shanman.