Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Legs on the Bus Go Walk Walk Walk

Yes it's July.

Yes, it's hot as blazes.

And yes, school is just around the corner.

So in addition to getting supplies, and uniforms and shoes, and back-packs, parents at Rupert Elementary School need to start thinking about getting ready to walk.

The school is looking for a dedicated corps of volunteers to help walk Rupert students to school every day as part of its Walking School Bus" program.

We are all familiar with how traditional school buses work. Walking school buses operate much the same way. Adults “drive” the walking school bus along a defined route, picking up kids at “stops” on the way. A walking school bus is convenient for busy parents, who can’t always walk with their children, and helps address safety concerns.

“It’s going to help our families that need assistance with getting their children to and from school each day,” Rupert Elementary School Principal Matt Moyer told The Mercury in March.

He said the program is also a healthy activity and will get students moving before class.

“Getting them up and getting them a good, brisk walk in the morning will prep them and get their brains ready to learn,” Moyer said.

He said the U.S. society as a whole doesn’t really have a big culture of walking and biking.

“In this country you get in a car and drive everywhere. You go to other countries, it’s not like that,” he said. “This is an opportunity to change some of that culture so people can see that a walking school bus is just as good as or potentially better than the yellow school bus.”

William Parks, the health and physical education teacher at Pottstown High School, told Michilea Patterson, The Mercury's Fit for Life reporter, that walking to school will benefit all students involved.

“Getting any physical activity in the morning raises your metabolism so it uses their energy level throughout the day,” he said.

In addition to high school volunteers, Pottstown's walking bus coordinator David Genova is looking for adults willing to help, even if its only one day a week.
Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana said coordinators also looking into using retired members of the communities as volunteers. He said there’s a program for retirees where they get a tax break for service.

Getting involved couldn't be easier.

But given that background checks will be necessary for the "bus" that picks up and drops off students along the "walking bus route," the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can help.

Click here to get a copy of the application form that you can print out and fill out.

Contact David Genova at 610-763-1466 or dgenova@pottstownsd.org for more information.

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