Swanson Middle School, located in Westover Village on Washington Blvd, has a long and proud history. The school opened in 1940, meaning it has been in continuous use as a junior high school or middle school for 75 years. Swanson students are known as the Admirals, so called in honor of Claude A. Swanson, a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Governor of Virginia (1906-1910) and Secretary of the Navy for six years (1933-1939).
Swanson is facing a capacity issue, which impacts students and parents, and of course, staff. Trying to get everyone safely to class in the morning creates logistical challenges as it is, and increasing numbers of students means increasing numbers of staff and parents. Finding a way to minimize the traffic and increase safety is crucial. But crucial doesn’t need to be painful – Arlington Transportation Partner’s Champions is just the tool to help Swanson!
Designed along the same lines as the recognition program for employers, residential properties and property and commercial properties, Champions for schools recognizes and rewards schools for participating in healthy, sustainable transportation-related activities for both students and staff. Each school or APS site can determine what activities best fit their school and neighborhood (ie. biking, walking or reduction of parent drop-offs/pick-ups), participating in a range of activities throughout the year to support that goal.
Swanson Middle School is currently a Bronze Level Champion with its eye on Gold by the end of the academic year. Although there is a long list of activities that Swanson plans to accomplish throughout the year, top goals include adopting a nearby ART bus stop, promoting ridematching websites for students/parents/staff and on-site transit training. Raising awareness of transportation options, as well as teaching Swanson Admirals how to use them, will start to develop new habits that become part of Swanson’s culture. By shifting some of the daily traffic away from personal vehicles, Swanson will be better equipped to handle overcrowding in the years to come, and be a leader for Arlington Public Schools (APS).
Swanson Middle School is recognized as July’s Champion of the Month for being a leader and innovator in the Arlington Public Schools system when it comes to sustainable transportation. We salute you, Admirals!