Daily Archives: February 15, 2015

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Ellsworth & Norway: Two New Communities Join Maine's Walking School Bus Program!

School & local leaders from Norway meet with WSB Program as part of the grant application process.

School & local leaders from Norway meet with WSB Program as part of grant application process.

The Maine Walking School Bus (WSB) Program is very pleased to announce that Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway and Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School are the two latest recipients of grants to start daily walking school bus programs in their communities.  The 2-year grant will provide a stipend for a WSB program coordinator who will be based in each school and receive ongoing technical assistance from WSB Program staff.

WSB Program staff and community leaders walk potential routes in Norway as part of vetting their application.

WSB Program & community leaders walk potential routes in Norway.

Both schools scored very highly for their WSB Program applications submitted this past fall – and during their site visit meetings and route review walks in December.  The two communities have participated in Safe Routes to School activities in the past – for example, holding events, conducting bicycle and pedestrian safety education, attending previous Walking School Bus trainings, and working on infrastructure improvements in their communities.  All of these help foster a successful Walking School Bus Program.

Community Workshop in Ellsworth - led by the Walking School Bus Program.

Community Workshop in Ellsworth – led by the Walking School Bus Program.

The schools recently held their WSB program community workshops and we were very impressed by the extent of community support and enthusiasm for the program shown by participants. Both WSB programs are due to launch in the spring. Portland’s East End Community School piloted a WSB program starting in 2013 and is now funded through the statewide Walking School Bus Program as well; it continues to be an excellent example of success.

Ellsworth and Norway have both celebrated walking and biking to school for several years. This photo from Ellsworth.

Ellsworth and Norway have both celebrated walking and biking to school for several years. This photo from Ellsworth.

The Maine Walking School Bus Program is funded by a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and is administered by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine Safe Routes to School Program. The program also partners with the Maine Department of Transportation. Interested communities will have another chance to apply to the program in Fall 2015.  For more information please sign up for our e-mail newsletter in the right sidebar.