On Wednesday, October 8, 2014 San Miguel Elementary School in Sunnyvale, “Kicked-Off” International Walk and Bike to School Day. Principal Christina Ballantyne and her staff encouraged students and parents to “Walk and Roll” to school. Two walking school buses were formed and were led by Sunnyvale City Council Members and Sunnyvale School Board Members. Sunnyvale’s Department of Public Safety Officers, Santa Clara Public Health-Safe Routes to School staff, and Sharkie, the San Jose Shark’s Mascot, greeted and passed out stickers to students who “Walked and Rolled” to school that morning. The event concluded with a short assembly with Superintendent Benjamin Picard, County Health Officer Sara Cody, Vice Mayor Jim Davis, and Officer Brain Gantt saying a few words to the students about how they were taking important steps to improve health, traffic safety, air quality and learning in school. With funding from VTA, Caltrans and the City of Sunnyvale, the Safe Routes to School Program, “Walk and Roll” has collaborated with the Sunnyvale School District for the past three years.
In some capacity the Santa Clara County Public Health Department continues to support all of the 10 schools in the Sunnyvale School District. The department provides resources and services to support events such as International and National Walk and Bike to School Day, walk and roll to school days, trainings for Safe Routes to School parent coordinators or volunteers, free helmet fittings and distributions, monthly traffic safety newsletter articles, and connecting the schools to resources such as The Bay Area BikeMobile. At a city-wide level the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s partners (school district administration, law enforcement, engineering, city staff, parents, etc.) are working to improve communication, secure funding, and develop sustainability around Safe Routes to School in Sunnyvale.
For more information, questions or if you would like to get involved in your school’s Safe Routes to School Program please contact Tonya Veitch at email@example.com or 408-793-2700.
Contributor: Tonya Veitch, Health Planning Specialist, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention