What is a Walking School Bus?

A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It is a flexible concept ranging from two families alternating walking their kids to school to a structured route with meeting “stops,” a timetable and rotated schedule of trained volunteers. It can also include walk-to-school promotion and safety events where families are encouraged to walk to school along particular routes on a given day. Walking school buses are underway in elementary schools around the country, including West Seattle (Gatewood and Lafayette both have structured routes that have been going for two years!). There are many benefits to walking school buses:

• Increase the safety of walking to school;
• Have fun getting to know other kids and parents in your neighborhood;
• Get exercise and form healthy life-long habits;
• Practice pedestrian safety and learn the best routes and danger zones in your neighborhood;
• Arrive at school alert and on-time;
• Reduce traffic congestion around schools and decrease air pollution.

Fairmount Park Elementary can particularly benefit from walking school buses. The three traffic arterials (Fauntleroy Way, California Ave and 35th Ave) that cross our walk zone make walking intimidating for everyone and potentially hazardous for children walking alone. Walking school buses increase walking safety through adult supervision, greater visibility and emphasis on safe walking habits; they also make walking less time-consuming for parents through shared responsibility. The lack of parking at FPE and our constrained drop-off zone makes it more important that those close enough to walk do so. Promoting walking to school by making it safe and convenient will help all FPE families have a more calm and secure trip to school.

This 10 question survey is intended to gauge interest in walking school buses in various neighborhoods around the school. Please complete your response by Monday, June 9th, so that we can begin organizing before everyone disappears for the summer. Thank you for participating in our survey. Go Falcons!

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* 1. Would you like to participate in a walk-to-school event in the first few weeks of school?

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* 2. Are you interested in having your child regularly “ride” a walking school bus to school?
Riding the walking school bus means walking your child to a pick-up stop near your house where they join other children and two trained adult volunteers who lead the bus to school along a designated route, picking up other children as they go.

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* 3. Would you like to volunteer to help “drive” a walking school bus?