238031 Walking School Bus Community Partnership: A pilot project

Monday, October 31, 2011

Teresa Moran, MS, CHES , Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness, Volusia County Health Department, Daytona Beach, FL
Deborah Saulsbury, MPH, RD , Division of Family Health Services, Florida Department of Health, St. Johns, FL
Many groups in Volusia County promote walking among elementary school children; however, communication between these groups has been limited. This lack of a coordinated approach, especially in low-income communities, was identified as a major barrier to increasing the number of students walking safely to school. The Volusia County Health Department and Florida Department of Health addressed this problem in two ways: 1) identifying key partners in safe walking and establishing a consistent approach to communicating with partners, and 2) offering pilot project mini-grants to six schools in Volusia County with the stipulation that each school must form a walking committee composed of school personnel, safety officers, and parents. The Safe Routes to School Student Tally Form was used to collect pre-program data on mode of transportation and will be used again at the end of the school year. In addition, each school collects data on the number of walking routes and students participating in each route. Walking School Bus Programs have been successfully established at six elementary schools in low-income communities with a total of 19 walking routes, 1 bike route and over 300 students regularly participating. Partners for the program include: school district, sheriff's office, traffic safety teams, park district, PTAs, department of transportation, and Boys & Girls Club. Preliminary results of this demonstration project suggest that a coordinated community effort in addition to the formation of school walking committees lead to an increase in the number of students walking safely to and from school.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify community partners and their roles in establishing safe walking programs among children in Volusia County elementary schools. 2. Describe the ideal composition and responsibilities of a walking committee in a low-income school. 3. Assess the success of the Volusia County Walking School Bus Program based on program sustainability.

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct the Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness for the Volusia County Health Department.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.