Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national initiative to support more students in safely walking and biking to and from school.  The program encourages implementing changes using the “5E’s” approach – Encouragement, Education, Evaluation, Engineering and Enforcement.  Many schools in the Franklin Grand Isle region work collaboratively with students, staff, families, municipalities and community partners to provide all the necessary tools to support that endeavor because the evidence shows that students who are more active throughout their days are more attentive in class. Research also shows these students can learn better, and acquire the skills necessary for a lifetime of physical activity that helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Walking and biking to school is really part of the solution.

With such great benefits to the student and the community, SRTS initiatives are strengthening region-wide.  How will you know if your school is a SRTS school?  Connect with your school principal.  She or he will be able to tell you what steps are being taken.  But remember, getting these processes established and institutionalized takes an entire community.  It is possible your school has a SRTS program plan but would benefit from greater involvement.  Maybe there is a wellness team you could support.  Perhaps you could be a Bike Train or Walking School Bus leader.  There is always a need for helping to raise awareness throughout the community about driver safety and safe pedestrian responsibilities as well.

Together, we can establish an environment that supports the health and education of our youth.  For more information, contact the Safe Routes to School Regional Program Expert, Amy Brewer, NMC Health Educator at (802) 524-1296 or abrewer@nmcinc.org.