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Miller Elementary Students Kick Off New Walking School Bus on Earth Day

by Press Release
April 15, 2019

On April 22, 2019 Miller Elementary School students - grades 3-5 - are invited to join their classmates in the first ever Holliston Walking School Bus.  This morning event will be the first in the series of Monday walks for students interested in meeting up with classmates outdoors and enjoying the physical, social and environmental benefits that come from walking to school. Participating in this pilot walking school bus program puts Miller students in good company, joining cities and towns around the country that have been exploring ways to more opportunities to counteract the growing decline of children walking and biking to school.
 
“Introducing a walking school bus to our elementary students is a great way to take advantage of our amazing rail trail and show kids how walking to school can be a fun way to connect with friends, outside and moving before school starts,” said Tina Hein, who is coordinating this initiative.  “It is also an important way to put a spotlight on just how many students are arriving in cars at school and identify areas where, with some safety improvements, we could help bring the real benefits from walking on a regular basis to more of our students.”

A walking school bus is just one of the recommended initiatives championed by the National Safe Routes to School program.   Walking school buses are simply a group of students walking together on their way to school with the help of a few parent “bus drivers” chaperoning the group along the way.  For the Holliston Miller walking school bus, children will be able to join two “bus routes” which will leave in the morning from Willow Brook Farm on Rt. 16 travelling down the rail trail and the Baptist Church on High Street using the sidewalks.  These two drop off points for the walking school bus were chosen after extensive research and planning with input from the schools and local safety officials.  Local police will be participating on April 22, supporting the crossing at key intersections.

 
Walking school bus programs around the country have cited many benefits for participation, including not only the health benefits by establishing an early example of walking as a means of transportation in and around your community, but that students participating learned pedestrian safety skills, and saw focus improve in the classroom from the increased outdoor movement prior to the school day. 
 
From an environmental perspective, increasing the number of students that can safely walk or bike to school greatly reduces the number of cars on the road and makes the school areas even safer for all students.  Currently, based on surveys conducted in school this January, 25% of Miller students arrive at school by car.  Further, the establishment of a walking school bus pilot program makes the Town of Holliston eligible to take advantage of state grant funding through the Safe Routes to School program in the future which can be applied to infrastructure improvements around walkability and biking, benefiting all residents.
 
Students interested in participating are encouraged to sign up here:  https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/10C0548ADAC2EA7F58-sign?

 

 

 

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Comments (1)

What goes around comes around! From my first day at the Wilder School in 1948 to graduation day at the "new (1957)" High School in 1960, every student within a mile of Wilder, Andrews, Cutler and "new" HH (now Miller) Schools walked every day. It was always freezing rain and uphill both ways! Buzz Brigham and I walked through what is now the Poitras Conservation Land from Winter Street to the Cutler/High Schools for six of those years and we weren't alone. Walking didn't do one bit of harm to any of us (53) in the Class of "60".

- Dean Schofield | 4/18/19 9:18 AM

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