What is Safe Routes to School?
Safe Routes to School is a program aimed at making walking and biking to school safer for students. Most often this is in the form of a Walking School Bus (WSB) where teachers and other adult volunteers accompany children walking to or from school resulting in healthier students and a safe environment. It also helps reduce traffic surrounding schools, leads to better academic performance, and can reduce student absences and tardiness.
We work with four schools who run active walking programs - Dogwood, Bearden, and West Hills Elementary Schools, as well as Green Magnet Academy. Dogwood was our first program, launching in 2018 with Bearden and West Hills following in the spring of 2019. Green Magnet Academy is our most recent program, and started up in early 2021. All four have offered WSB programs in various forms with over 150 students participating. Dogwood has also offered Morning Fun Walks where students who arrive to school early can go for a walk before their school day begins. These programs are made possible by school staff, parents, and neighborhood volunteers who want to help students be more active in a safe environment.
We are always excited to work with new schools to start walking programs. If you are interested in starting a walking program at your child's school, please reach out to our Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Mary Duggan, at [email protected]!
SRTS in Knox County
Bike Walk Knoxville is a member of the Knox County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Partnership which works to promote safe walking and biking to schools throughout Knox County. The partnership brings together engineers, school employees, community members, nonprofits, government partners and more.
The Knox County Health Department has worked with some schools to start WSB programs including West View Elementary, Beaumont Magnet Academy, Belle Morris Elementary, and Christenberry Elementary.
Check out this video from West View’s Walking School Bus program
Safe Routes to School is not just a great thing happening in Knox County. It actually is a national movement led by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership who provide resources and expertise to communities wanting to make walking and biking to school safer.
One part of this is National Bike to School Day, which was on May 5, 2021! We had a blast riding to school with students and families and South Knoxville Elementary School and Sequoyah Elementary School! Remember, any day is a great day to ride your bike to school! If you participate, make sure to tag us in your pictures with #BTSDKnox