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The Walking School Bus Resource Manual

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					The Walking School Bus
   Resource Manual
                    Evaluation of the WSB Resource Manual
Completed by:_______________________________________________________Date:_________________
Address_____________________________________________________________________________________
School Affiliation:___________________________________________________________________________
e-mail:_______________________________________________________________________________________
Briefly describe your role in the WSB:______________________________________________________
Did you start a WSB at your school? Yes / No
Why or why not:_____________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________________

            (If response below is “No”, then do not circle number on ‘useful’ scale.)
How useful was this document?             Used     If you use the document, please indicate, was it:
                                                  Very useful --- Somewhat useful --- Not useful
The manual in general                     Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Organizing a WSB                          Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Expense Estimates                         Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Sample Policy/Procedure                   Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Maintaining Interest / Having Fun         Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Evaluation tool                           Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Letter to parents template                Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Interest Survey                           Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Walkability Survey                        Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Consent form                              Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Rules for the Road                        Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
FAQs                                      Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Volunteer Roster                          Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Route Plan                                Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Walker ID card                            Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
WSB Club Card                             Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Newsletter article                        Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Brochure                                  Y/N           5        4         3          2         1
Website resources                         Y/N           5        4         3          2         1

Were there issues in setting up your WSB that were not addressed in this manual?



Describe the success of your WSB.



Describe any obstacles your WSB program faced.



             Your feedback is greatly appreciated! Please return this form to Jo Anne Judge-Dietz,
     Steps to a Healthier Rochester, 2100 Campus Drive SE, Rochester, MN 55904 Phone (507) 328-7452.
      The Walking School Bus
         Resource Manual




Electronic versions of templates in this manual are available on the following
       website: http://www.stepstoahealthiermn.org/rochester.cfm
   (Click on Schools and scroll down to the section on Walking School Bus)


 Steps to a Healthier Rochester would like to credit multiple sources used in
the development of this manual. Please see the resource list and explore the
                       sites for additional materials.
                  Resource Manual Index 
 
 
Introduction 
 
                           Start‐up Tools 
 
1)   Organizing a Walking School Bus  
2)   Expense Estimates 
3)   Sample Procedures 
4)   Maintaining Interest in the Walking School Bus 
5)   Evaluation of the Walking School Bus program 
 
                             Templates 
 
1)   Newsletter article 
2)   Letter to parents 
3)   Interest Survey 
4)   Neighborhood Walkability Survey 
5)   Consent form 
6)   Rules for the Road 
7)   Frequently Asked Questions 
8)   Certificates of Participation 
9)   Certificates for Volunteer Recognition  
      
                             Route forms 
 
1)   Volunteer roster 
2)   Route Plan 
3)   Walker ID card 
4)   Walking School Bus Club Card 
 
                            Certificates 
 
1) Participation Certificate – Dot design 
2) Participation Certificate – Sun design 
3) Volunteer Appreciation Certificate  
 
                            Resources 
 
1) Resource Manual Evaluation 
2) Website resources 
3) Success Stories  
                   Evaluation of the Walking School Bus

We are interested in your comments to evaluate the Walking School Bus. The Walking School Bus
is comprised of volunteer parents who walk with students to or from school in an effort to increase
physical activity for kids, improve safety and reduce traffic congestion around the school.

Here is a summary of our project for this school year:
Our program operated ____ walking routes to / from school _____ days a week for ______weeks.
Approximately _____ kids participated and _____ volunteers assisted.

   1.   Did your child(ren) participate in the walking school bus?     Yes _____       No _____

   2. If you did not participate, what were the reasons you choose not to participate?
      ___ My child rides the bus
      ___ My child attends School Age Childcare or Daycare
      ___ Our house is not close enough to the walking school bus route
      ___ My child walks to and from school already
      ___ My child is scheduled for before/after school activities at that time
      ___ It did not work for our schedule
      ___ We did not know about walking school bus
      ___ Other _____________________________________________________________________________

If you participated in the walking school bus program, please answer the following questions:

   3.   What did your child(ren) enjoy about the program?

   4. Did your child(ren) arrive home in a timely manner? ____Yes ____ No ____ Unsure

   5.   Did you/your children feel comfortable with the volunteers? _____Yes _____No

   6. Do you have any comments about the operation of the program?


   7. Do you anticipate that your child(ren) will participate in the program next year?
      ___Yes    ___ No        ___Unsure

   8. What changes would you suggest to our walking school bus program?
      ___ Additional route _____________________________________________________________________
      ___ Different times _____________________________________________________________________
      ___ Changes in designated stops__________________________________________________________
      ___ Changes in policies or rules __________________________________________________________
      ___ Other:_________________________________________________________________________________

   9. Did you volunteer for the program? ____Yes ____No Comments_______________________

   10. Please share any other comments or ideas: (use back as needed)


 Please return this survey to your child’s teacher or mail to the school office. Thank you for helping
                      us evaluate this program. Your comments are appreciated.
         Expense Estimates for a Walking School Bus 
 The following is an estimated cost of establishing one route at one school. Supply
needs vary for each school. Not all supplies are required. Many schools possess the
required components to initiate a Walking School Bus with minimal start-up costs.

 Item                                              Cost per each            # Needed
 Adult Class II Reflective Safety Vests               $15.00-20.00     2 for each route

 Child Class II Reflective Safety Vests               $15.00-20.00             optional
                                                                       1 per participant
 Hand-Fan Stop Sign                                   11.00 -20.00          2 per route

 Clipboard with storage                                     $18.00          1 per route

 Storage bins                                                20.00                    1

 Yard Signs to designate stops                               11.00             optional

 Safety Cones to designate bus has left                      10.00           Optional
                                                                         one per route
 Large laminated map of walking route               $25.00 -100.00            optional

 Walkie-Talkies (cost for each )                    $50.00- 350.00             optional

 Mailings for families of K-3 students                         150             optional
 (or incorporate into existing mailings)
 Printing costs for brochures                             .25 each             variable

 Display materials, packets and printing for                   100             variable
 volunteer recruitment
 Background checks for each driver                           50.00       All non-parent/
                                                                        staff volunteers
 Pedometers                                          $15.00 - 25.00             optional

 Incentives or achievement certificates for                variable            optional
 participants
 Volunteer recognition                                     variable            optional

 Total

 In-kind:
 School Office Staff costs

 Liability insurance for school or PTA
          Having Fun and Maintaining Interest in the WSB  
     
♦       Have theme days:  Make your own titles such as:   
                 o Marvelous Moving Mondays  
                 o Talk and Trek Tuesdays 
                 o Wild Walking Wednesdays  
                 o Thoughtful / Thrilling / Theatrical Thursdays  
                 o Finally Fridays/ Fuel‐Free Fridays / Fabulous Fitness Fridays 
♦       Dress up on special occasions: 
                 o Hat day, Sneaker day, School colors day, Sports team day 
                 o Rainy weather?  Have a Rubber Boot Parade or an Umbrella Train  
♦       Play games: 
                 o “I see something striped, or golden or orange, etc.” … see who can guess it first. 
                 o Alphabet Walk:  the first child finds something on the walk that starts with an 
                      A, the second looks for something that starts with a B and so on. 
                 o Nature Day – appreciate, discuss aspects of nature  
                 o Sing a song or cadence 
♦       Have a traveling mystery sign to post along the route.  Get permission to change its 
            location to different lawns or in the window of businesses you pass daily.  See who can 
            spot it first. 
♦       Have a contest to name your routes or program.   
♦       Create a mascot as your hero.   
♦       Network with other schools who run a Walking School Bus program to share ideas.  
♦       Reward walkers with a Frequent Flier Miles card, occasional prizes or recognition. 
♦       Use pedometers for all or one pedometer per route to track steps.  Map the miles and walk 
            to a virtual destination. 
♦       Acknowledge your volunteers with recognition at an appreciation event, PTA meeting 
♦       Give a free breakfast or lunch ticket to your bus drivers periodically as a thank you.  
♦       Give volunteers certificates with quotes from kids or titles such as ‘Best Morning Greeting 
            Award” or “Best WSB Caboose” “Most Energetic Walker”. 
♦       Take pictures and create a display for a visible bulletin board at school. 
♦       Give incentives to kids who have perfect attendance on the WSB or who have reached a 
            milestone number of walks, miles or steps.  Incentive suggestions:  certificates, shoe 
            laces, stickers, reflectors, shoe tokens, pedometers or activity related items. 
♦       Make a large WSB sign for kids to carry on Walk to School Day in October. 
♦       With permission, use sidewalk chalk to write an uplifting message or a hopscotch form on 
            the sidewalk. 
♦       Hold a special walkers day to invite a special person to walk and talk with the group such as 
            the mayor, the principal, a veteran, a police officer, a grandparent or a local celebrity or 
            mascot. 
♦       Promote the WSB at school events, for example, at a basketball half‐time, invite all the 
            WSB walkers to come front‐and‐center to form a bunny hop line across the court.  
            Make a public announcement to thank the bus drivers. 
♦       Highlight special stories about the WSB in your school newsletter, on the school website or 
            in the local paper.
                          Organizing a Walking School Bus Program 
         
         
                                                                                                           
                                        Things to Do                                                       X 
                                                    
Form a committee of interested persons                                                                   
   Establish responsibility / ownership within school or your parent organization.  Recruit 
   committee members and appoint a chairperson. 
     
Map potential routes                                                                                     
   ▫ Obtain a map of the school walking boundaries from:  www.mapquest.com or your 
           school district.  (Rochester Public School maps may be obtained from 
           www.rochester.k12.mn.us   (Click on District/Departments/Business 
           Services/Transportation/District Boundary Map) or 
           http://gis.co.olmsted.mn.us/gispublic/School%20Districts/viewer.htm 
   ▫ Engage your police liaison and city planners/traffic engineers to see if there are areas 
           that could pose conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. If so, ask if they can assist 
           to make these routes safer for the pedestrians. 
   ▫ Identify potential walkers and volunteers on the routes.  Using school data, estimate 
           the number of walkers within boundaries  (Edulog).  Subtract numbers for those 
           children who go to day care, SACC and have special bussing.  Focus on dense 
           populations such as apartment buildings and streets with a high volume of children to 
           establish the most likely routes. 
   ▫ Walk the routes.  Use only safe routes with sidewalks, crossing guards and stoplights.  
           Get a rough estimate of time to walk the route. 
   ▫ Create a map of the school with routes and stops marked 
     
Determine interest                                                                                       
   Send a parent letter and Interest Surveys to potential walking families. Include a copy of 
   the map so parents can indicate the approximate location of their homes.  Once returned, 
   use the completed Interest Surveys to mark the locations on the map to identify which 
   routes have enough families to participate in a WSB.  Develop copies of the route on the 
   map and copy for the volunteers and participants 
     
Recruit additional volunteers if needed                                                                  
   Check with your school district about the need for background checks or registration of 
   volunteers.  Recruit from Volunteers in Education, PTSA volunteers – parents and staff, 
   churches, Sr. Citizens, Neighborhood Association, recreational sport oriented groups such 
   as running and biking groups.  Plan to provide orientation and name badges for volunteers. 
     
Advertise                                                                                                
   Consider a broad scale awareness campaign as well as targeted messages to those within 
   the walking boundaries or along the proposed route.  Provide advertising fliers, posters or 
   newsletter articles to nearby groups to help spread the word.  Post articles on the school 
   website.  Send parent letters home via backpacks.  Add a message to the school marquee.  
   Make a display or bulletin board for the school to use in the lobby or to display at Back‐to‐
   School, Meet the Teacher or conference night. 
     
Make a plan                                                                                          
   Establish WSB coordinator, policies, emergency plans, hazardous weather plan, discipline 
   issues and consequences.  Determine the length of time the WSB will operate – seasonal 
   vs. year round, if the WSB will operate on late start days, etc. Will the bus operate before 
   school, after school or both?  Determine your requirements for background checks, 
   parental permission, etc.  Discuss a dismissal plan for kids walking home, such as where 
   the WSB will convene.  Discuss special ways to promote the WSB such as a kick off event 
   or inviting special walkers to join the WSB periodically. 
     
Assign Volunteers                                                                                    
    Create a schedule of volunteers.  Have a back up plan for substitutes.  Make a list of walking 
    participants for each route.   
     
Determine a budget and order supplies                                                                
   Helpful items might include:  Vests for each volunteer, hand held stop signs, reflectors or 
   other identifiers for walkers, walkie‐talkies or cell phones for each route, storage bin, 
   clipboards, backpack for volunteers, whistles, pedometers, incentives, certificates or 
   awards.   
     
Plan a Meet and Greet                                                                                
   Arrange to have a “meet‐and‐greet” event so interested parents can meet each other, 
   cultivate trust, and get the initiative rolling.  Distribute information, policies and 
   procedures to parents and volunteers. 
     
Provide Education                                                                                    
   Offer personal presentations to groups to spread the word and answer questions.  Include:  
   teachers, staff, community and parent groups. 
   Plan a Pedestrian Safety student assembly.  Invite the Crime Dogs McGruff and Scruff and  
   Officer Ken Plummer  (507) 281‐6045 kplummer@rochestermn.gov  
   or schedule an entertaining and educational skit about walking/biking to school by 
   Olmsted County Public Health Services.  Contact Jo Anne Judge‐Dietz, (507) 328‐7452 
   judge‐dietz.joanne@co.olmsted.mn.us 
     
Evaluate                                                                                             
   Get ongoing feedback to continually improve the program for the next season.  Send out 
   parent/teacher/volunteer feedback forms.  Convene the committee to reassess the need 
   for changes.  
   Beyond the obvious numbers of participants and volunteers, can you capture and data or 
   anecdotal information on any of the following: 
   ▫ Did the kids have any change in attendance, attitudes, and disciplinary issues when  
           they walked? 
   ▫ Was there less bullying when kids were walking with supervision? 
   ▫ Were friendships and supports strengthened in the neighborhood? 
   ▫ Did students feel connected with an adult during the process? 
   ▫ Did the WSB provide opportunity for positive interactions with parents and students? 
     
Celebrate success                                                                                    
    Thank your volunteers / recognize the participants.  Share the results of any successes with 
    staff and volunteers.   
          
     Sample Policy/Procedures for Walking School Bus 
 
    1. The Walking School Bus always follows the same route.  The driver does not have the 
       authority to change the route or stops without permission. 
 
    2. Walkers should arrive at the designated stop a few minutes early.  The WSB will leave 
       each stop at the designated time.  It does not wait for latecomers.  If a child misses the 
       Walking School Bus in the morning, parents may chose to choose to help them catch up 
       and join the group at a later stop or work out a backup plan.  In the afternoon, if a 
       student misses the WSB, they should report to the school office and ask to have their 
       parent/caregiver contacted.  They will wait in the office until the designated adult 
       arrives to pick them up or until further instructions are given by the parent/guardian. 
 
    3. Children are not to go into other people’s houses.  Walkers wait on the sidewalk or in 
       the designated area for pick up. 
 
    4. Apartment buildings will have one designated spot for pick up and drop off. 
 
    5. Bus drivers escort the children onto the school property.  (Kindergarteners may be 
       walked to their rooms as determined by the school.)   
 
    6. Students may not leave the WSB enroute or get off at a different stop unless written 
       permission is granted from the parent/guardian. 
 
    7. The bus stops on the sidewalk before crossing the street.   Children cross together. 
 
    8. Participants must stay with the group and not wander off, run ahead or lag behind. 
 
    9. Children are expected to obey all ‘bus drivers’. 
     
    10. Walkers must follow accepted pedestrian rules:  stay on the sidewalk, cross at 
        crosswalks, and be respectful of property and of others. 
 
    11. No wheels on the bus:  i.e. skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, wheelie shoes. 
     
    12. Students are expected to carry all their belongings independently. 
 
    13. The ratio goal for supervision will be one parent to no more than 8 children. 
 
    14. Children are asked to walk in pairs along the route.  
 
    15. Determine if there must be a parent at home when children arrive home on the ‘bus’. 
 
    16. Volunteers must register with the school as a ‘driver’.  Any non‐parent or staff member 
        will have a background check.  Volunteers will be provided with a name badge and 
        safety vest to wear at all times while operating the WSB. 
                             WALKING SCHOOL BUS PROGRAM
                                 Parental Consent Form


Purpose and Explanation of the Program 
 
The Walking School Bus program is designed to get communities to work together to get children to or 
from school actively and safely. Children who participate in the program will walk to/from school led by 
adult volunteers.  Children will walk independently to their homes from the designated stop or may be 
met by a parent.  Children will not be walked to their door.  
 
Potential Risks 
 
The Walking School Bus program is intended to reduce the risk of injury to children as they travel 
to/from school through the use of adult supervision. However, there are risks associated with child 
pedestrians. These specific risks include, but are not limited to, injury as a result of motor vehicle 
accidents, falls, overexertion, or other unforeseen events. Adult volunteers will do their best to ensure 
that no harm comes to any of the participants.  The Walking School Bus program will run regardless of 
weather, so please dress your children appropriately.    
 
Voluntary Consent 
 
I would like my child/children to use the Walking School Bus.  I realize that my child’s journey to school 
is still my responsibility.  I have discussed the expectations of the Walking School Bus to my 
child/children. 
 

X    Signature of Parent / Guardian: ______________________________________Date:________ 
 
Name of child:   ___________________________________ Age_____ Classroom ______________ 
Name of child:   ___________________________________ Age_____ Classroom ______________ 
Name of child:   ___________________________________ Age_____ Classroom ______________ 
Name of child:   ___________________________________ Age_____ Classroom ______________ 
                                   
My child/children will join/leave the bus at this location:___________________________________                 
Circle the days and times you expect you child/children will be using the Walking School Bus: 
                          Morning         M    T     W    TH     F  
                          Afternoon       M    T     W    TH     F    
 
 
If you have any questions about the program, please contact the school office. 
In case of emergency or changes in the schedule please contact the school office. 
                                                           
                                                           
         Please check the box if you would like to sign up to volunteer to help with this program 
          
         Name____________________________________________________________ 
         Phone:___________________________________________________________ 
         e‐mail:___________________________________________________________ 
         Availablility:______________________________________________________ 


     PLEASE RETURN THIS FORM TO YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER BY _________
Frequently Asked Questions about the Walking School Bus 
 
 
What if my child wants to participate, but I am not able to walk with the kids?  
That’s okay. Other neighborhood parents and Volunteers In Education (VIE)  
members have volunteered to participate so we can assure your child will walk  
with a group of kids having one or more adults. 
 
Does my child have to walk both to and from school to participate?  
No.  We realize that students have schedules that include day care, after‐school programs, 
lessons and appointments.  Children can participate in the WSB whenever it fits their schedules.  
We have designed the program to allow for flexibility. 
 
What if the weather is bad?  
The Walking School Bus runs rain or shine!  Students are encouraged to dress appropriately for 
the weather and pack an umbrella for unexpected weather and outer clothing appropriate for the 
season.  Be sure to check the morning news for school cancellations in the winter.  The WSB will 
not run on late start days or when school is delayed due to snow. 
 
What if I don’t feel comfortable letting my child walk with another adult?   
Volunteers register with VIE and are usually other parents.  You may choose to withdraw your 
child at any time if you are not comfortable with any situation, or better yet, volunteer to be a 
‘driver’ or get involved to meet other volunteers.  Teach your child personal safety rules.  Report 
any unusual activity to the school office.   
 
I’m interested in having my child participate, but I don’t want to be confined by a rigid 
schedule.  
 No problem.  As stated earlier, the program is flexible! Changes can be made as needed.  Send 
your child on the bus on the days you choose.  When coming home with the WSB we encourage 
you to make plans in advance with your child to minimize last minute changes and 
communications.  However, if there is an emergency at the last minute, please contact the school 
office before the end of the day to instruct your child of the change in plans. 
  
Can I walk with my child if I am not a volunteer?   
Of course you are welcome to walk along or meet your child at the bus stop.  If you would like to 
walk with the group on a regular basis, we ask that you register at school as a volunteer. 
 
I’m interested in “driving.”  How do I sign up?  
Contact the Walking School Bus Coordinator _____________________at __________________.  A 
driver data base will be kept which includes the driver’s name, address and phone number, the 
days and times the volunteers are available to walk, and the routes for which each volunteer is 
interested in leading.  
 
How do I “drive” the Walking School Bus?  
Their will be a short orientation to the responsibilities of the Walking School Bus which will 
include a route map, schedule, safety rules, reporting disciplinary issues and an orientation to 
school equipment such as walkie‐talkies. 
 
My child wants to participate; whom do I contact?  
Call the Walking School Bus coordinator: ____________________at__________________. 
 
               Initial Interest Survey for Walking to School 
 
 
        1.   How far do you live from school?  _____________________________________________  
        2.   Do you feel this is within walking distance to school?                    ____Yes   ____No 
        3.   How often does your child walk to school in the fall/spring?                ___ days/week 
        4.   How often does your child walk to school in the winter?                     ___ days/week 
        5.   How often does your child walk home in the fall/spring?                     ___ days/week 
        6.   How often does your child walk home in the winter?                          ___ days/week 
     
        7. Does your child ride a bike or scooter to and from school?                     ____Yes ____ No 
     
        8. What are the barriers that prevent your family from walking or biking to/from school? 
        ____   crossing roads                               ____   time constraints 
        ____   traffic concerns                             ____   after school commitments 
        ____   walking alone                                ____   distance 
        ____   do not like to walk                          ____   potentially unsafe neighborhood 
        ____   health issues                                ____   weather 
        ____   other __________________________________________________________________ 
     
        9. What would encourage your family to walk to/from school? 
 
     
        10. Do you participate in the ‘Walk to School Day’ in October?  
            ____Yes  ____  No  ____  Not sure  _____  N/A  
     
        11. Do you carpool?  ____Yes   ____  No       If yes, how often?   ____ days per week 
 
        12. If there was a group of adult volunteers to walk groups of children to/from school, how 
            likely is it that your child(ren) would participate in walking to school in the morning?  
            ____very likely  ____ somewhat likely    _____unsure     _____unlikely 
 
        13. If there was a group of adult volunteers to walk groups of children to/from school, how 
            likely is it that your child(ren) would participate in walking home from school?  
            ____very likely   ____ somewhat likely    _____unsure     _____unlikely 
 
        14. How likely would you be to volunteer to walk children to/from school? 
            ____very likely   ____ somewhat likely    _____unsure     _____unlikely 
          
        15. What ideas do you have to promote wellness in our school?  (Use back if necessary.) 
 
        16. I would like to be contacted for more information about walking to school: 
 
Name:___________________________________________________________________ 
Phone:___________________________________________________________________ 
e‐mail:___________________________________________________________________
 
 
Greetings, 
 
Our school is offering an exciting opportunity to children within the school’s walking 
boundaries called a “Walking School Bus”.  In order to encourage students to walk 
safely to school, and decrease morning traffic around the school, we are organizing 
adults to walk with students along designated routes.   
 
What is a walking school bus? 
A walking school bus is made up of one or more adult leaders,  
who gather students at designated stops along a specific route  
and walk with them to school.    
 
Who are the drivers? 
The drivers are parents and other community volunteers who commit to driving the bus 
one or more days a week.   
 
How does it work? 
The ‘bus’ will designate specific stops for children to gather.  The driver will start at the 
beginning of the route and pick up children along the way.  The ‘bus’ will not go directly 
to houses, but will pick children up at stops on various corners in the neighborhood.  
The Walking School Bus will run rain‐or‐shine each morning year‐round (except on late 
start days).  Children can use the bus every day or as many days as the family schedule 
allows.  Walking School Buses will be established on the routes most heavily used by 
students and will be dependent upon the availability of volunteers. 
 
How can I help? 
Get your exercise while you volunteer!  We need volunteers to walk to school each 
morning.  Whether you can offer your time once a month, once a week or once a day, 
we would welcome your help!  The Walking School Bus coordinator is now organizing 
volunteer leaders for each walking route. We would love to hear from you!  
 
 
Sincerely,  
 
 
Attachment:  Interest Survey 
Dear Parents, 
 
Our school is offering an exciting opportunity to children within the school’s walking 
boundaries called a “Walking School Bus”.  In order to encourage students to walk 
safely to school, and decrease morning traffic around the school, we are organizing 
adults to walk with students along designated routes.   
 
What is a walking school bus? 
A walking school bus is made up of one or more adult leaders,  
who gather students at designated stops along a specific route  
and walk with them to school.    
 
Who are the drivers? 
The drivers are parents and other community volunteers who commit to driving the bus 
one or more days a week.   
 
How does it work? 
The bus will designate specific stops for children to gather.  The driver will start at the 
beginning of the route and pick up children along the way.  The ‘bus’ will not go directly 
to houses, but will pick children up at stops on various corners in the neighborhood.  
The Walking School Bus will run rain‐or‐shine each morning year‐round (except on late 
start days).  Children can use the bus every day or as many days as the family schedule 
allows.  Walking School Buses will be established on the routes most heavily used by 
students and will be dependent upon the availability of volunteers. 
 
Are you interested? 
We would like to hear from you if you are interested in sending you children to walk 
with the group.   If there is enough interest, we plan to start one or more routes every 
school day morning.   
 
Can you volunteer? 
Since this is a free service, led by volunteers, we are also looking for parents who can 
volunteer to lead the route.  We need volunteers who are available in the morning – 
whether it is daily, once a week or once a month, we could use your help!  There will be 
a coordinator to organize parent volunteer leaders for each walking route.   
 
Volunteers and interested parents are welcome to attend an informational meeting 
prior to the kick off of the Walking School Bus.  Check the school newsletter for coming 
details. 
 
Sincerely,  
 
 
Attachment:  Interest Survey 
Dear Parents, 
 
Our school is offering an exciting opportunity to children within the school’s walking 
boundaries called a “Walking School Bus”.  In order to encourage students to walk 
safely to school, and decrease morning traffic around the school, we are organizing 
adults to walk with students along designated routes.   
 
What is a walking school bus? 
A walking school bus is made up of one or more adult leaders,  
who gather students at designated stops along a specific route  
and walk with them to school.    
 
Who are the drivers? 
The drivers are parents and other community volunteers who commit to driving the bus 
one or more days a week.   
 
How does it work? 
The bus will designate specific stops for children to gather.  The driver will start at the 
beginning of the route and pick up children along the way.  The ‘bus’ will not go directly 
to houses, but will pick children up at stops on various corners in the neighborhood.  
The Walking School Bus will run rain‐or‐shine each morning year‐round (except on late 
start days).  Children can use the bus every day or as many days as the family schedule 
allows.  Walking School Buses will be established on the routes most heavily used by 
students and will be dependent upon the availability of volunteers. 
 
Are you interested? 
We would like to hear from you if you are interested in sending you children to walk 
with the group.   If there is enough interest, we plan to start one or more routes every 
school day morning.   
 
Can you volunteer? 
Since this is a free service, led by volunteers, we are also looking for parents who can 
volunteer to lead the route.  We need volunteers who are available in the morning – 
whether it is daily, once a week or once a month, we could use your help!  There will be 
a coordinator to organize parent volunteer leaders for each walking route.   
 
Volunteers and interested parents are welcome to attend an informational meeting 
prior to the kick off of the Walking School Bus.  Check the school newsletter for coming 
details. 
 
Sincerely,  
 
 
Attachment:  Interest Survey 
 
 
Dear Parents, 
 
Our school is offering an exciting opportunity to children within the school’s walking 
boundaries called a “Walking School Bus”.  In order to encourage students to walk 
safely to school, and decrease morning traffic around the school, we are organizing 
adults to walk with students along designated routes.   
 
What is a walking school bus? 
A walking school bus is made up of one or more adult leaders,  
who gather students at designated stops along a specific route  
and walk with them to school.    
 
Who are the drivers? 
The drivers are parents and other community volunteers who commit to driving the bus 
one or more days a week.   
 
How does it work? 
The bus will designate specific stops for children to gather.  The driver will start at the 
beginning of the route and pick up children along the way.  The ‘bus’ will not go directly 
to houses, but will pick children up at stops on various corners in the neighborhood.  
The Walking School Bus will run rain‐or‐shine each morning year‐round (except on late 
start days).  Children can use the bus every day or as many days as the family schedule 
allows.  Walking School Buses will be established on the routes most heavily used by 
students and will be dependent upon the availability of volunteers. 
 
Are you interested? 
We would like to know what the interest is for setting up a Walking School Bus network 
at our school.  We would be grateful for your assistance in completing the Interest 
Survey attached.  Please return it to the school within one week.   If there is enough 
interest, we would like to start one or more routes every school day morning.  This is a 
free service led by volunteers.  A coordinator will be assigned by the school to organize 
parent volunteers who act as drivers for each bus route.   
 
Volunteers and interested parents are welcome to attend an informational meeting 
prior to the kick off of the Walking School Bus.  Check the school newsletter for coming 
details. 
 
Sincerely,  
 
 
 
Attachment:  Interest Survey 
                 Newsletter / Website Article

Step aboard the Walking School Bus

The feet on the bus go up and down, up and down! Don’t look for any wheels on this
bus! It’s a Walking School Bus! Kids are joining their neighbors and making friends
as they walk to school along a designated route, stopping along the way to pick up
other walkers. Schools and neighborhoods are working together to form Walking
School Buses made up of elementary students, parents and adult volunteers to help
kids walk safely to and from school. Any child along the route is welcome to join the
bus, even if their parents aren't able to be drivers.

Lesson for the day: there are many great reasons to walk to school! Walking
together on the Walking School Bus helps kids get to school safely and responsibly
by giving them support and adult supervision. We all know that walking is a great
way to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. It also helps kids achieve the
recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity. Walking together with
neighbors helps creating a sense of community awareness and belonging, which
decreases crime. Walking to school minimizes traffic congestion and harmful
exhaust emissions around the school which benefits all students. And let’s not forget
that the price of gas makes us all think twice about the cost of staring up the car!

With so many benefits, everyone will want to lace up their tennis shoes and step
aboard a Walking School Bus! For more information, check with the school office or
read more at: http://www.walkingschoolbus.org.
             Rules of the Road
       for the Walking School Bus
                                                                 Behavior Expectations for Walkers: 
                                                              
                                                                  1. Listen to the adult ‘bus driver’.  The driver 
    Review safety rules with your child: 
                                                                      is in charge. 
                                                                  2. Be on time – the bus doesn’t wait! 
      •    Do not go inside other people’s houses.                3. Obey all traffic rules and signs. 
      •    Young children should be accompanied                   4. Cross the street with the crossing guards or 
           by adults or older children when crossing                  the driver. 
           the street.                                            5. Stay with the group and  
      •    Talk about pedestrian safety rules as a                    follow your driver. 
           family.                                                6. Walk on the sidewalk. 
      •    Follow the same rules you want your                    7. Be respectful of other walkers. 
           child to follow.  Be a good role model.                8. Respect neighborhood property. 
      •    Teach children to stop, look and listen                9. Walk responsibly to and from the 
           before stepping out into the street.                       designated stop. 
      •    Remind your children to wear light                     10. Never accept a ride from a stranger 
           colored clothing or reflectors when                        without permission from a parent. 
           walking at dusk or dawn.                               11. For safety reasons, wheels are not allowed 
                                                                      on the Walking School Bus (bikes, 
                                                                      scooters, wheelies, skateboards, etc). 
        
        
        
        
                                Weather and the Walking School Bus 
            
           The Walking School Bus runs rain or shine!  Don’t avoid walking when the weather doesn’t 
           cooperate.  Walking is the best way to keep warm outdoors – just be sure to dress properly: 
            
                   Winter 
                   • Keep hands and head covered to prevent heat loss. 
                   • Wear warm waterproof boots in cold weather. 
                   • Wear a coat that is waterproof and deflects the wind. 
                   • In extreme cold, keep your skin covered – wear a scarf  
                      over your face and mouth. 
                   • Layers of clothing, wool, insulated jackets will help retain the heat 
                   • Change wet clothing – tuck an extra pair of socks and mittens in your backpack 
            
                                   Spring and fall:  
                                   •  Wear rain boots in wet weather.  
                                   • Carry an umbrella when the forecast predicts rain. 
            
                       Warm weather: 
                       • Apply sunscreen 
                       • Wear a hat to give protection from the sun 
                       • Drink lots of water throughout the day and carry a  
                          bottle of water on your walk to and from school. 
        The Walking School Bus
       WE NEED ADULT VOLUNTEERS -




                                                                        Volunteers Needed!
      CLIMB ABOARD AND WALK WITH US !

        A Walking School Bus
is simply a group of neighborhood kids
   walking to school with an adult.
The group makes stops along the way at
 designated places to pick up students.

        What would I do as a volunteer?
           Sign up according to your schedule: daily, once a week,
           once a month or randomly as your schedule allows.
           Pick up the supplies provided at school: a safety vest,
           whistle, umbrella and hand held stop sign.
           Arrive at the beginning of the route at the start time.
           Walk with students approximately one mile or less from
           their homes to school.
           Help children cross streets safely and develop safe habits
           as pedestrians.
           Report any issues to the coordinator at school to handle.
                FOR MORE INFORMATION            CONTACT:
                 Neighborhood Walkability Survey
                               for the Walking School Bus

Take a walk and use this checklist to rate your neighborhood’s walkability.
How walkable is your neighborhood?

Location of your walk:
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Did you have a place to walk?

There were sidewalks or shoulders to walk on                      Yes            No
Sidewalk started but then stopped                                 Yes            No
Sidewalks were broken, cracked or uneven                          Yes            No
Sidewalks were on too steep a grade                               Yes            No
Sidewalks were blocked with signs, trees, shrubs, dumpster, etc. Yes             No
Too much vehicular traffic on the streets for comfort             Yes            No
Other comments: _____________________________________________________________________
Locations of problems ________________________________________________________________

Overall Rating (circle one):
 1=excellent 2=very good           3=good   4=some problems       5=multiple problems

2. Was it easy to cross streets?

There were crosswalks and walk/don’t walk signals                 Yes            No
Road was too wide to comfortably cross                            Yes            No
Timing on walk signal was long enough                             Yes            No
Parked cars blocked the view of traffic                           Yes            No
Trees or plants blocked the view of traffic                       Yes            No
There were curb ramps in good repair                              Yes            No
Other comments: _____________________________________________________________________
Locations of problems ________________________________________________________________

Overall Rating (circle one):
 1=excellent 2=very good           3=good   4=some problems       5=multiple problems

3. Did drivers behave well?

Drivers looked for pedestrians at intersections and
when backing out of parking                                     Yes            No
Drivers yielded to people crossing the street                   Yes            No
Cars entered into crosswalk when people were crossing           Yes            No
Drivers sped up to make it through traffic lights or
drove through red lights                                        Yes            No
Other comments: _____________________________________________________________________
Locations of problems ________________________________________________________________
Overall Rating (circle one):
  1=excellent 2=very good 3=good 4=some problems 5=multiple problems

4. Was it easy to follow safety rules? Could you . . .

Cross at crosswalks where you could see and
be seen by drivers?                                               Yes            No
Easily see both directions before crossing streets?               Yes            No
Walk on sidewalks or on shoulders where there
were no sidewalks, facing traffic?                                Yes            No
Cross with the light?                                             Yes            No
Other comments: _____________________________________________________________________
Locations of problems ________________________________________________________________

Overall Rating (circle one):
 1=excellent 2=very good          3=good     4=some problems       5=multiple problems

5. Was your walk pleasant?

Needed more grass, flowers, trees, or interesting sights          Yes            No
There were intimidating dogs                                      Yes            No
There was good lighting                                           Yes            No
There were maps, or signs to help me find my way                  Yes            No
Clean, not much litter                                            Yes            No
Other comments: _____________________________________________________________________
Locations of problems ________________________________________________________________

Overall Rating (circle one):
 1=excellent 2=very good          3=good     4=some problems       5=multiple problems


Walking Wishes
Now that you have reviewed and summarized your work, think about the five most
important changes you would like to see in your neighborhood. Write down five
specific “walking wishes” in the space provided below.
1. ______________________________________________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________________________________________
3. ______________________________________________________________________________________
4. ______________________________________________________________________________________
5. ______________________________________________________________________________________

Participant Name: _____________________________________________________________________
Daytime Phone: _______________________________________________________________________
E-mail: _________________________________________________________________________________

   Thank you for letting us know what you think about walkability in your neighborhood!
Walking School Bus Club Card   Walking School Bus Club Card




Walking School Bus Club Card   Walking School Bus Club Card




Walking School Bus Club Card   Walking School Bus Club Card




Walking School Bus Club Card   Walking School Bus Club Card
         Walking School Bus ID                          Walking School Bus ID 
                                                
Walker’s Name _______________________          Walker’s Name_______________________ 
Family Name _________________________          Family Name_________________________ 
School Bus Route  _____________________        School Bus Route _____________________ 
Parent/Guardian phone numbers:                 Parent/Guardian phone numbers: 
Work:_______________________________           Work:_______________________________        
Home: ______________________________           Home: ______________________________ 
Other:  ______________________________         Other:  ______________________________


          Walking School Bus ID                         Walking School Bus ID 
                                                
Walker’s Name_______________________           Walker’s Name_______________________ 
Family Name_________________________           Family Name_________________________ 
School Bus Route _____________________         School Bus Route _____________________ 
Parent/Guardian phone numbers:                 Parent/Guardian phone numbers: 
Work:_______________________________           Work:_______________________________        
Home: ______________________________           Home: ______________________________ 
Other:  ______________________________         Other:  ______________________________


         Walking School Bus ID                          Walking School Bus ID 
                                                
Walker’s Name_______________________           Walker’s Name_______________________ 
Family Name_________________________           Family Name_________________________ 
School Bus Route _____________________         School Bus Route _____________________ 
Parent/Guardian phone numbers:                 Parent/Guardian phone numbers: 
Work:_______________________________           Work:_______________________________        
Home: ______________________________           Home: ______________________________ 
Other:  ______________________________         Other:  ______________________________


         Walking School Bus ID                          Walking School Bus ID 
                                                
Walker’s Name_______________________           Walker’s Name_______________________ 
Family Name_________________________           Family Name_________________________ 
School Bus Route _____________________         School Bus Route _____________________ 
Parent/Guardian phone numbers:                 Parent/Guardian phone numbers: 
Work:_______________________________           Work:_______________________________        
Home: ______________________________           Home: ______________________________ 
Other:  ______________________________         Other:  ______________________________
                      Route Plan for the Walking School Bus 
              Route name or location: ___________________________________ 
 
    Stop #    Location Description     AM pick    PM drop       Names of Walkers 
                                       up time    off time 
                      Route Plan for the Walking School Bus 
              Route name or location: ___________________________________ 
 
    Stop #    Location Description     AM pick    PM drop       Names of Walkers 
                                       up time    off time 
            Volunteer Roster for the Walking School Bus 
 
              Home phone          Address               Morning                 Afternoon     
    Name           and             and                Availability             Availability    
               Cell phone      e‐mail contact     M    T    W    TH    F    M    T    W    TH    F 
Certificate of Appreciation
                     In honor of


   ____________________________________


        for volunteering to lead our students
             on the Walking School Bus.

 We appreciate all you do for their health and safety!



Presenter’s Name ____________________________

         on this date_____________________
                         This

    Certificate of Participation
                    is presented to

       _________________________________________

            for staying healthy and active

     and reducing pollution in our environment

by walking to school on the Walking School Bus


    Dated this __ __ day of ______________, 20____.

    Signed:
   Certificate of Participation
                    presented to


             ______________________
          for staying healthy and active
    and reducing pollution in our environment
by walking to school on the Walking   School Bus

 Dated this ____ day of ______________, 20____.


               Signature:
                                                                                         board!
                                                                                 Climb A

           - Walk this way!
 H ey Kids
• Talk with your parents to get permission to
  join the Walking School Bus.

• Find out the routes for your school.

• Sign up at school.

• Follow your driver and listen to the
  driver’s directions.

• Obey traffic signals.

• Walk responsibly to and from the
  designated stop.

• Be respectful of other walkers.

• Walk in pairs on the sidewalk.

• Cross with the crossing guards or the
  Walking School Bus Driver.

• Never accept a ride from a stranger
  without permission from a parent.             Steps to a Healthier Rochester
                                                Olmsted County Public Health
• For safety reasons, wheels are                   2100 Campus Drive SE
  discouraged on the Walking School Bus.            Rochester, MN 55904
  This includes bikes, skateboards, scooters,           (507) 328-7500
  wheelie shoes and rollerblades.
          Walking School Bus?                      Walking S
What is a                                                     chool
                                                                    Bus B
                                                                         enef
A walking school bus provides a fun, safe and                                 its
                                                   Social benefits                                   Active K
active way for children to travel to or from
                                                   Students and adults make friends and get to                ids - Healthy Kids
school with adult supervision - an activity that
even the youngest students can enjoy!              know families in the neighborhood which
                                                   builds healthier, safer communities.
Each bus walks along a set route, with at least                                                     Here’s what we know:
one adult ‘driver’ picking up or dropping off      Economic benefits
                                                   Walking reduces the number of short car trips     • Only 16% of our nation’s children are
children at designated stops near children’s                                                           walking or biking to school, down from 42%
homes.                                             which saves gas and money.
                                                                                                       a generation ago.

The Walking School Bus can be flexible to          Environmental benefits
                                                   Walking reduces our dependence on oil, and        • The majority of our children do not meet the
transport a variation in the number of students                                                        recommendations for 60 minutes of daily
participating.                                     lessens the harmful emissions and air pollu-
                                                   tion that cause respiratory problems for those      physical activity.

‘Drivers’ are volunteer parents and community      with allergies, asthma and lung disease.
                                                                                                     • Children who are less active are more likely
members who commit to walking with children                                                            to be overweight.
as their schedule allows. Parents can              Safety Benefits
volunteer by calling the school office for         Walking together can provide a safer
                                                   environment for children and reduce traffic       • In the last thirty years the number of
additional information.                                                                                 overweight children has tripled.
                                                   congestion around the school.
The Walking School Bus operates only within                                                          • The health of our children depends on
the walking boundaries where children are not      Physical Benefits
                                                   Walking provides kids with physical activity        increasing their physical activity.
eligible for busing. It does not replace or
change bus routes.                                 which helps sleep, behavior, concentration at
                                                   school and personal health and fitness.           • Walking to or from school is an easy way to
                                                                                                       introduce exercise into a child’s daily
                                                                                                       routine.
                     Walking School Bus Resources 
                                                   
  The Steps to a Healthier Rochester Walking School Bus Resource Manual was developed 
      utilizing a variety of resources. Following is a list of the sites that supplied valuable 
information and tools used and modified to develop this manual for our community.  Credit 
  also goes to the two pioneer schools implementing the first Walking School Bus Programs 
            in our area:  Folwell and Sunset Terrace Elementary Schools in ISD #535. 
 
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center ‐ detailed outline for putting together a 
Walking School Bus program: http://www.walkingschoolbus.org 
 
Safe Routes To School Information Center  
     • Brief description of walking school bus or bicycle train program: 
          http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/encouragement/walking_school_bus_or_b
          icycle_train.cfm 
     • Detailed outline for putting together a Walking School Bus program: 
          http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/guide/walking_school_bus/index.cfm 
 
Green Communities Active and Safe Routes to School:  Resource Guide 
http://www.saferoutestoschool.ca/asrtsrg.asp 
 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – brief description of walking to school 
concept; includes community slide presentation and walk‐to‐school planning guide: 
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/index.htm 
 
Program Examples:  
 
Van Derveer Elementary School, Somerville, New Jersey 
http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/community/srts/pdf/ss_somerville.pdf  
 
Clearwater, Florida Parks and Rec 
http://www.clearwater‐fl.com/gov/depts/parksrec/bikeways/startwalkingbus.asp  
 
Additional International Sites: 
 
England:  http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/walkbus.pdf 
Australia: www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/wsb  
South Australia: www.transport.sa.gov.au/environment/travelsmartsa/schools.asp  
New Zealand: www.pinnacleresearch.co.nz  
Canada: http://www.activelivingresources.org/assets/walking_school_bus_gfg.pdf  
  
Greenhouse Information 
 
The car greenhouse calculator ‐ a useful educational tool is the car ecometer. Calculate 
the impact of your family car on the environment and your pocket: 
www.epa.vic.gov.au/Air/CarEcometer/#sysreg  

				
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