Monday, February 17, 2014

Walking School Bus Program Takes on Chronic Absenteeism

Before it closed, Pratt Elementary in Spokane Valley had a very succesful walking school bus program. In recent years, there has been talk about starting another walking school bus program.

What is a walking school bus? Simply put, it's a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

Numbers recently came back from a walking school bus in South Providence, Rhode Island, and it turns out the program has helped to address a chronic absenteeism problem at that school. Many of the children living within a mile of the school have parents who work in the morning or don't have a car, and getting the kids to school each day was a major challenge. With the start of the walking school bus program though, all that changed.

Here's why it made a difference, from the Safe Routes to School partnership.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.