Champions for Schools is the newest addition to Arlington Transportation Partners’ Champions recognition and reward program, with the 2015-2016 academic year as the inaugural year. Since Arlington Public Schools (APS) already has a Safe Routes to Schools program in place, Champions worked to build upon existing student activity by focusing on APS employees.
Champion schools receive credit for student activities, but even more credit for the staff-focused actions. The more a school commits to mode shift with employees, the higher level a school could rise, from Bronze to Silver to Gold to the ultimate level, Platinum. As the first school district in the nation to actively engage its student and staff populations in regards to transportation, Champions fosters a healthier community for all.
Each of the 15 participating Champions had a different reason for signing up – being healthier and more active, reducing traffic around the school or supporting school sustainability goals. Bike and Walk to School Day, which took place on May 4, was a good day to focus on all three reasons and build more excitement over biking and walking. Students and staff recognize that biking and walking is better for the environment and helps keep them in shape, and these ideas will stay with them throughout the rest of the school year.
Even though everyone at APS is busy now with end of the year activities, now is the time to keep up the good work that has been done so far – summer is just around the corner, and biking, walking, riding the bus and carpooling are the best ways to enjoy the time off. Cram in a bit of last-minute, pre-summer reading to learn more about biking around Arlington and debunking some public transportation myths.
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