More than 250 students in grades kindergarten through fifth attend Polk Elementary School in Baton Rouge, La. In 2007, Polk Elementary was the target school of the Walk this Way program, which focuses on a different school within the Baton Rouge school district each year.
The Walk this Way program was designed to teach safe behavior to motorists and pedestrians and to create safer, pedestrian-friendly communities. Based upon parent surveys, it became apparent that many children were not wearing helmets or riding their bicycles properly. To address this issue, the principal made announcements, which included safety tips in the days leading to International Walk to School Day. On Walk to School Day, a state trooper provided information about pedestrian safety to the students and faculty during a school assembly. Also, the safety council provided water bottles with pedestrian safety messages to display the importance of hydration while walking.
Another important piece of the program was to encourage students to walk to school. Polk Elementary held a Walk to School Day event in fall 2007. Prior to the event, a bulletin board was hung at the school’s main entrance to promote walking to school. Along with the principal’s safety announcements, a daily countdown to Walk to School Day was broadcast over the school’s loudspeaker. A parade with more than 30 students and adults occurred on Walk to School Day. The teachers and the adults used this parade not only as a chance to encourage walking but also to teach the children how to walk safely on the sidewalks to cross the street correctly.
The primary success of the Walk this Way program at Polk Elementary is the education and increase in awareness that was provided to the students. Since the activities took place as part of the Walk this Way program, Polk Elementary only will offer pedestrian and bicycle safety information for one year. The school still plans, however, to continue reminding, educating and informing its students on pedestrian safety and the health benefits of walking to school safely.
Polk Elementary School
Phone: (225) 383-2611