Throwback: Safe Routes to School 2011

This video was created in 2011 by the great parents at Clairemont Elementary to celebrate their six years of Safe Routes to School. In 2011 the school was recognized by the GA Safe Routes Resource Center. It still gives me the chills every time I watch it.

Enjoy seeing children and adults celebrating walking to school!

Back to School Safety Tips

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The first day of school is fast approaching so it is a good time to review safety rules with your family. The City of Decatur encourages children to walk and bike to school through the Safe Routes to School Program, and we want them to arrive at school safely.

Walk Safely!

  • Children should always walk on the sidewalk or path and cross only at crosswalks or at traffic signals. Obey the crossing guards!
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • It’s a good idea to make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle before crossing.
  • Be careful at driveways where cars may back out and not expect a pedestrian.
  • Put down the cell phone and electronic devices and pay attention!

Bike Safely!

  • Before your child rides his/her bike, be sure to give it a safety check. Is there enough air in the tires? Do both brakes work? Check the saddle, handlebars, pedals, and chain. If you need some repairs and are not able to do them yourself, bring the bike to a bike shop. It is worth the money to keep your children safe.
  • WEAR A HELMET! Head injury is the leading cause of death in cycling accidents. Helmets should fit snuggly and cover the forehead – not more than two fingers width above the eyebrows. Parents – be a good role model and wear your helmet as well.
  • Learn hand signals. Cars cannot guess when a cyclist will be turning or stopping. Review hand signals with your child and teach them what road signs mean
  • Teach your child about road safety when riding a bike. Cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic and not against it. Ride with someone else if possible, and always ride single file. . Bicycles are considered vehicles and must obey the same rules of the road as cars.
  • Light up! All cyclists should have bike lights – a white one of the front and red on the back. Put the back light on flash when riding at any time of day. This will make riders more visible to cars.
  • If riding the sidewalk, make sure your child always yields to pedestrians. Children should be aware that sidewalk riding is actually more dangerous in many situations. Cars are not expecting a bike and riders should be especially cautious when approaching driveways and crosswalks. Bikes should be walked across, not ridden, in crosswalks.

School Bus Safety!

  • Children should stand at least three giant steps back from the bus stop while waiting on the bus.
  • Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before getting off and never walk behind the bus.
  • If the child needs to cross in front of the bus when exiting, remind them to take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver, and cross when the driver indicates it is safe. Children should look left, right and left again before crossing.
  • For a list of the City Schools of Decatur school bus safety rules, visit

Drive Safely!

  • Drivers should be on high alert in residential areas and school zones and watch for children on both the road and sidewalk.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways before turning.
  • Put down your cell phone! It is illegal to text when driving.
  • Follow the speed limit and slow down in a school zone.
  • Stop for school buses with flashing lights! Flashing yellow or red lights indicates the bus is about to stop (yellow), has already stopped (red), or children are getting on or off.

For more information on the Safe Routes to School Program visit Contact for more information on pedestrian and bicycle safety.




Crossing Guard Appreciation Week

The City of Decatur Active Living and Police Divisions honored our wonderful crossing guards this week with a  breakfast to show appreciation for keeping our children safe as they make their way to and from school. The guards also received a special Safe Routes to School water bottle and a certificate of appreciation.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Lindley who is retiring at the end of 2016 after 33 years at Oakhurst!

Be sure to thank your crossing guards!

For more information on Decatur’s Safe Routes to School program, visit

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It’s Crossing Guard Appreciation Week!


Be sure to say “Thank You” to our wonderful City of Decatur Crossing Guards this week. Consider having your child made them a card, bring a flower, or simply say Thank You! as they cross the street.

Our Crossing Guards brave all types of weather to keep our children safe as they walk and bike to school. Let’s show them how much they are appreciated!

Click here for a thank you note template and other ideas.

Decatur Has Record Participation for International Walk & Roll to School Day!

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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 or visit


Congratulations to Jessie Hadley, SRTS Champion of the Year!

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Congratulations to Jessie Hadley, Safe Routes to School Champion of the Year for the metro area!

Jessie took over as Parent Champion at Winnona Park Elementary in Decatur for the 2014-2015 school year.  Mrs. Hadley immediately went to work to increase the numbers of walkers and bikers at the school. Jessie has a lot of energy and for International Walk & Roll day in 2013, 50% of the students participated and that number increased in 2014 to 56%.

The school holds special Walk & Roll Days the first Wednesday of each month, and the numbers remain consistent and even increase during the nice Spring weather. They also participate in Bike to School Day.

Jessie has used various ideas and methods to increase student’s participation. She created a special sign that they display the day before their Walk & Roll Days to remind both parents and students.

On walk days, the students all earn a marble upon arrival at school that is put into a special “Marble counter.” On GA Walk & Roll day this past March, the marble counter was overflowing so she had to add a bucket to collect the rest of the marbles! The school had the highest participation in Decatur for this special day and was awarded  our special “Golden Shoe Award” which was presented at a student community circle time.

Jessie has also recruited several parent volunteers to assist with the Walk & Roll Days.  Not only do the students receive the marbles and other incentives such as stickers, etc. but the parents are offered coffee and they love hanging out and visiting with each other.

Jessie has created a great feeing of community around Walk & Roll to School!

Congratulations to Jessie for a job well done!

Congratulations to DHS Boys Soccer – State Champions!

2016 Boys Soccer Trophy

Congratulations to Decatur High School boys soccer and Coach David Harbin for winning the State AAA Soccer Championship Thursday afternoon at Mercer University in Macon!!!

 The score was 3-2.


DHS Soccer News – Semifinals!

imagesZLYDL92ZShow your Decatur spirit and cheer on the DHS Girls and Boys in Soccer Semifinals!!! 

DHS Girls Soccer Semifinals vs Blessed Trinity at 7pm Tuesday May 10th at Decatur High School!

DHS Boys Soccer Semifinals vs Oconee County High School at 7pm Tuesday May 10th at Oconee County High School outside of Athens!

Click here for more information.


Bike to School Day is Wednesday

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From the National Center for Safe Routes to School:

CHAPEL HILL (May 3, 2016) – If you see more young bicyclists on this road this week, it’s for a good reason. This Wednesday communities across the country will kick things into high gear for the fifth annual National Bike to School Day celebration. Students, teachers and families nationwide will bike and walk to school on May 4 to promote safer routes to school, healthier habits, and plain old fun. As of today, over 2,100 schools in 47 states have registered Bike to School Day events on And the total number of events is expected to grow as celebrations continue throughout May, National Bike Month.

“Improving bicycle and pedestrian safety is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez. “That’s why we’re proud to support National Bike to School Day and we’re encouraging safe bicycling skills  – no matter the age of the rider.”

National Bike to School Day
Established in 2012, National Bike to School Day provides an opportunity for schools across the country to celebrate bicycling to school each May. It is an energetic, kid-centric part of National Bike Month and builds on the popularity of International Walk to School Day, held each October. In 2015, over 2,600 schools and community organizations registered Bike to School Day events nationwide, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. For more information, visit


Westchester Celebrates Tax Day with Walk & Roll!

We love all of our Safe Routes to School Parent Champions because they make walking and rolling to school so much fun! Westchester Elementary Walked & Rolled on Tax day and this young man was happy to participate!