Seventeen Arlington Public Schools (APS) locations participated in the second year of Arlington Transportation Partners’ (ATP) Champions, an increase over last year when the program was first introduced to schools. These 17 Champions reached higher and achieved even more, resulting in more awareness of and participation in transportation benefits and options.
More Champions, Higher Levels
Returning Champions revisited the Champions criteria for 2016-2017, which changed slightly to better reflect the Schools program and uniqueness. There was no guarantee that Champions that re-enrolled for their second year in the program would stay at their previous year’s level.
In fact, most Champions achieved even more during this past school year, resulting in a higher number of Silver and Gold Champions. Oakridge worked back up to Platinum, the level it achieved during the 2015-2016 school year. All five Champions brand new to the program worked hard and achieved Silver.
Schools Kicked Off 2016-2017 with Champions Activities
This year’s Champions were all assisted by the APS Go! survey in the fall. Employee commute surveys, like the APS Go! survey, are a good way to create a starting point when joining Champions and provide a way to measure success.
Walk and Bike to School Day in October, Love the Bus Week in February and Bike and Walk to School Day in May are events that reward staff for walking, biking, riding public transportation and carpooling. Promoting staff participation in these events is a Champions activity that also creates an opportunity to inform staff of their transportation options and amenities available to them at their school. Other effective Champions activities this year include creating transportation themed displays and having ATP share information about benefits and options at a staff meeting.
Unique Transportation Activities and Amenities Across Schools
Several schools went above and beyond to achieve Gold and Platinum Levels with the guidance of ATP.
Arlington Community High School, together with Arlington Career Center, hosted a transit training event for students. An Arlington Transit (ART) bus and the Mobile Commuter Store gave students and staff the opportunity to buy iRide SmarTrip cards, ask questions and explore the bus in a low-stress environment onsite.
Swanson Middle School arranged to have showers available to any staff with an active commute. In addition, Swanson scheduled transit training for all sixth graders, providing them with real life skills.
Oakridge Elementary School converted space into a “Commuter Lounge,” complete with cubbies, a drying rack, bicycle pump and bike racks. Priority carpool parking for staff and celebrating Super Commuters were other popular ways for Champions to move up levels.
Silver Level Champion, Ashlawn Elementary School, was designated a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists, with ATP’s assistance.
Schools participating in Champions are spread across Arlington County with different buildings, staff, students, neighborhoods and demands. Each school achieves what works best for them, and no school accomplishes the same thing in the same way. This diversity and flexibility proves that any school can be a Champion – it’s quite possible! Congratulations to all of the Schools Champions for your hard work and achievement!
Keep a look out for Schools Champions 2017-2018, opening back up in late August, and re-enroll or enroll your school for the first time.
Photo Credit: Reema Desai/ReemaDesai.com for Arlington Transportation Partners