The East End Community School in Portland was selected as the pilot location for the Maine Walking School Bus Program in the Fall of 2014. Being in its final months of grant funding, East End is showing that its Walking School Bus program is going strong.
The East End Community School’s Walking School Bus celebrated Winter Walk to School Day back in February with schools in Canada and other Northern Tier States! Portland minor league sports mascots Crusher and Slugger joined the students on their walk to school, while the Cat in the Hat accompanied walkers to commemorate Dr. Suess’ birthday on Read Across America Day.
East End Walking School Bus Coordinator Elise Moody-Roberts is constantly out in the community spreading the word about the Walking School Bus. Elise was recently invited to speak at Portland Trail’s Annual Meeting, a TED-style forum of ideas, with snappy, dynamic presentations from speakers engaged in work and play related to Portland Trail’s mission. Elise did an amazing job celebrating the program’s success as she only had 15 slides–with 15 seconds per slide!
East End Community School is currently exploring a variety of avenues to sustain the Walking School Bus program for next fall. The administration, students, and community all agree that the Walking School Bus program is an asset and a staple within the school as well as Portland’s community.
For additional questions about the East End Community School’s Walking School Bus Program, please contact Elise Moody-Roberts, Walking School Bus Coordinator via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (207) 671-9207 or visit the Portland page on the Maine Walking School Bus website.
The Maine Walking School Bus (WSB) Program is very pleased to announce that the Downeast School in Bangor and the Albert S. Hall School in Waterville 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.
Both schools scored very highly on 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 walk to school events and conducting bicycle and pedestrian safety education. These help foster a successful Walking School Bus Program.
School principal, Al Mooers, said, “The Downeast School is excited to be able to offer our students a safe, fun and organized way to walk to school and community members are eager to be a part of this program. Together we can organize and implement a Walking School Bus program which will benefit students, parents, the community and the school”
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. They join the three schools currently running WSB programs as part of the state-wide program: Portland’s East End Community School, Norway’s Guy E Rowe Elementary School, and the Ellsworth Elementary Middle School.
The Maine Walking School Bus Program is funded by a grant from the Maine 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 2016. For more information please sign up for our e-mail newsletter in the right sidebar.