The City of Decatur Schools take part in International Walk & Roll Day each year and 2016 saw the highest number of students participating since the program began. A total of 2357 children walked or biked to school on Wednesday, October 5. This number is up from the 1893 that participated in 2015. Mayor Patti Garrett also participated and walked a group of children from the Decatur Housing Authority to Glennwood School.
Westchester Elementary had the highest participation with 84% of students walking to school and will receive the City’s “Golden Shoe Award”. According to school Principal Ms. Lofstrand, “the car pool was reduced to a trickle.” There was at least one story of a family that had been reluctant to walk before but came out today for the first time, because the children were so enthused.
Decatur has had an active Safe Routes to School Program since 2005. The program has won the Golden Shoe Award from PEDS for Pedestrian Friendly School System and three schools have been named Metro Atlanta Partner of Year by the GA Safe Routes to School Resource Center. Initially the program was coordinated by volunteer parent committees at each school. Beginning with the 2008 -2009 school year, the Decatur Active Living Division took on the management and development of Decatur’s program.
The success of the program still depends on the fabulous parents at each school who volunteer to be School Champions along with their school committees and the Principals at each school who not only support the program but understand the value of children walking and biking to school. The city and parents also work closely with the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center.
Currently the City’s program includes all 5 elementary schools, Renfroe Middle School, College Heights and Saint Thomas More Catholic School. We are very proud the great work the parents and schools do to promote walking and biking every day.
For more information on Decatur’s Safe Routes to School Program, contact Cheryl.Burnette@decaturga.com or visit www.decaturga.com/srts.