Press releases

Record-Breaking Year for International Walk to School Day in South Carolina

October, 2012

South Carolina’s International Walk to School Day hit an all-time record for the number of registered events in the state.  With 210 events registered, South Carolina ranked in the top 5 states in the nation with the highest number of schools participating. This exceeds the state’s prior record – 177 activities recorded in 2008 – by 33 events!  We had 74 more events than we did last year. That’s a 54% increase! We even moved up one spot to place 5th in the nation. Last year South Carolina placed 6th.The Resource Center congratulates all of those schools that organized events and registered them to be counted.

For many schools, participation in International Walk to School Day is an annual tradition that students look forward to each year. Schools have figured out how to get students excited about waking up a bit earlier and walking to school.  This year, event organizers even brought in celebrities, like the Carolina Panthers’ mascot, Sir Purr, to talk to kids about why walking is fun, healthy, and good for the environment.

Schools have also gotten creative with their events, to increase student participation and get more kids active.  By organizing park-and-walk sites, or walk at school events, even students who live too far from school to walk each day, can participate during IWALK.  

October is Walk to School Month all month! For more information on getting an event started, visit the Encouragement page and Walk and Bike to School Day site for resources and information, or call the South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center, at 1-855-472-7787 to work with a school outreach coordinator in your area.  

South Carolina Schools to Celebrate Walk to School Day 2012

September, 2012

More than 194 schools and over 78,000 students, parents, educators and neighbors across South Carolina will participate in International Walk to School Day events on Wednesday Oct. 3, 2012 and throughout the month of October.

International Walk to School Day is a global event where communities from over 40 countries walk and bike to school on a single day. It began as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. Today, the event has grown to include thousands of schools. Join families, schools and communities around the globe as they walk and bicycle to school in celebration of Walk to School Day every October. 

The South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center is highlighting three events this year.

  • In the Upstate, students and their families at Sterling School in Greenville are invited to celebrate International Walk to School Day by either walking or bicycling to school on October 3rd.  The Nicholtown Spinners, a youth bicycle club, will meet at the Nicholtown Community Center to ride together to school.  Meanwhile, students and families will meet at the Fieldcrest Apartments playground to enjoy a healthy breakfast, listen to the Sterling Band, and then walk together over to the school. Approximately 100 people are anticipated to walk or bicycle.
  • In the Midlands Region, over 200 students, parents, and community supporters at Dover Elementary, of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5, are meeting at the North Town Hall at 7:00 AM and are walking to school with the help of law enforcement escorts. The Mayor of North, W. Earl Jeffcoat, has participated in Dover Elementary’ s Walk to School Day event in the past and has been invited to participate again this year.
  • And, in the Lowcountry, Goose Creek’s Westview Primary and Westview Elementary schools have set up two park and walk locations at local churches. From both of these locations over 200 students are expected to walk down the City's Hiker Biker Trail to the school crossing guards, where they will safely cross and continue the rest of the way to the school. The City of Goose Creek Planning Department prepared a safe walking routes map to send home to parents, and the local police department will have officers stationed at each location to ensure safety. The Mayor of Goose Creek, Dr. Michael J. Heitzler will also be attending the event and walking with the students from one of the locations. 

To find participating schools in your area and to learn more about walk events go to: www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/.  The South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) provides materials and support to South Carolina’s International Walk to School Day events through the SC Safe Routes to School Resource Center.  Contact SC’s SRTS School Outreach Coordinators or go to www.SCSafeRoutes.org for more information about events, materials, and opportunities to participate.  

Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion, create concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

For additional information, please visit these Web sites:

SC Safe Routes to School Resource Center                            www.scsaferoutes.org

International Walk to School in the USA                               www.walkbiketoschool.org                                

National Center for Safe Routes to School                            www.saferoutesinfo.org    

International Walk to School                                                  www.iwalktoschool.org

 

CONTACT: Rodney Oldham, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator, SCDOT (803) 737-4073.

Area Schools Plan First Annual South Carolina Walk to School Day on March 7, 2012

February, 2012

Students from schools across South Carolina will be walking and biking to school along with parents, teachers, and community leaders on March 7, 2012, as part of the first annual South Carolina Walk to School Day.

The statewide events are a spring version of the widely popular International Walk to School Day held each October.

More than 130 schools across South Carolina participated in International Walk to School Day in 2011. Event organizers from the South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center are anticipating the momentum to carry over to the new spring event. Incentives and planning support are provided to events registered for South Carolina Walk to School Day. Registered schools should be officially partnered with the Resource Center.

Walk to School events help to promote safer routes for walking and biking, and emphasize the importance of increasing physical activity for children. In areas where children may live too far from school to walk or bike safely, school leaders can offer a “Walk at School” event, or designate a “Park and Walk” site, where parents can park nearby and walk the remaining distance to school with their children. However the events may be structured, they can emphasize pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion, and building better connections between families, schools and the broader community.

SC Walk to School Day helps schools initiate conversations about how walking and biking can:

  • Enhance health by increasing the amount of physical activity
  • Improve air quality by reducing automobile emissions in the school zone
  • Make the streets safer by relieving traffic congestion

The Safe Routes to School Resource Center is a federally-funded project of the South Carolina Department of Transportation that provides education, encouragement, and planning support to K-8 schools throughout South Carolina that wish to partner with the Resource Center. Services and materials are provided at no cost to the schools and their communities.

To register a school event, please visit http://scwalktoschool.eventbrite.com. For more information, please go to www.SCSafeRoutes.org or call the Resource Center hotline at 1.855.4SC.SRTS.

International Walk to School Day 2011

October, 2011

The South Carolina SRTS Resource Center reports that South Carolina has another record breaking International Walk to School Day. This year there were more than 130 schools registered to participated in iWalk. No matter how simple or elaborate the event, the Resource Center congratulates each and every school in participating in iWalk. 

Many communities engaged elected officials, law enforcement, health and safety professionals and families to participate. Many schools hosted walking school buses and bicycle trains from near and far. We also heard from schools who encouraged their entire student population in Walk at School events. Here are some highlights from across South Carolina:

  • More than 130 South Carolina Schools registered and held Walk to School Day events.
  • More than 50,000 students, parents, educators, and neighbors in SC participated in International Walk to School Day events on October 5, 2011.
  • South Carolina ranked 6th in the US in participation in International Walk to School Day (#2 in the Southeast region behind Florida).
  • The Mayor of Fountain Inn issued a proclamation for Walk to School Day.
  • The Mayor of North Charleston participated in Walk to School Day at Chicora School of Communications.
  • Mellichamp Elementary School held a Walk to School Assembly that featured a WTSD song, WTSD rap, steppers, dancers and a WTSD poster and essay contest for each grade. They then topped it off by having Orangeburg-Wilkerson High School marching band drum line play for them throughout the entire school walk.

See highlights in these clips from local media outlets: BeaufortGeorgetownSpartanburgGreenville.

Safe Routes to School Resource Center Held Statewide Kick-Off Meetings

May, 2011

South Carolina's Safe Routes to School program announced the opening of its new Resource Center -- a program of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) at kick off meetings held across the state on May 16 and 17. The meetings provided information about the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program to community stakeholders, schools, school districts, and advocacy groups. Twenty-five schools in SC were also recognized at the meetings for having been awarded grants for SRTS projects. 

SCDOT has adopted the Resource Center model for the program to reach K-8 Schools throughout the state. The greatest benefit of the Resource Center is the staff. Local School Outreach Coordinators have been hired for the Lowcountry, Midlands, and the Upstate of SC. These individuals will work directly with schools to build unique SRTS programs and provide additional support to existing efforts. The Resource Center will equip schools wishing to participate with SRTS with free educational and training resources, evaluation tools, and promotional materials and incentives. 

For non-school community organizations, the Resource Center has opportunities for them to work with the School Outreach Coordinators to help with school events, develop programs, and teach health and safety fundamentals. The bottom line of the SC SRTS Resource Center is to offer free resources, provide individualized assistance, foster community-wide support, and to create sustainable SRTS programs.

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