SMSD Joins in International Walk to School Day Festivities

SMSD Joins in International Walk to School Day Festivities
Shawnee Mission School District

Multiple school communities across the district joined an international celebration of traveling to school on foot.

International Walk to School Day was Oct. 2.  More than 250,000 students across the country were estimated to have participated in the event by walking or biking to school.

This year, Brookwood Elementary School collaborated with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to host an event in honor of the day. The community partners were celebrating multiple bike racks, new crossings, a school zone, and a pedestrian-activated light at the Brookwood school building, which opened in the spring.

The Indian Woods Middle School jazz band greeted elementary students and their family members with music. Johnson County Safe Kids and Fed Ex Express and Fed Ex Ground sponsored vehicle tours to teach safe strategies in traffic. Many community partners, parents, and a couple of mascots were on-hand to greet students as they arrived.

Transportation alternatives are among the Shawnee Mission School District Sustainability priorities, defined by Shawnee Mission students. The district collaborates with multiple organizations to provide safe strategies to support students and families walking to school.

Earlier this year, the Shawnee Mission School District hosted the Kansas City Regional Safe Routes to Schools Summit at the Center for Academic Achievement. The event brought together bicycle/pedestrian champions, community partners, public health experts, teachers, district administration, parents, elected officials, and city staff from Kansas and Missouri to learn and share ideas about how to promote safe routes to school.

Safe routes are a priority for so many individuals in our community because of the many benefits of walking and biking to school, Joan Leavens, coordinator of sustainability and community engagement noted.

“Students who walk or bike to school arrive ready to learn,” Leavens said.  “Families walking together with improved crosswalks, crossing guards and school zones increases safety and security, changes driver behavior and builds stronger, safer communities.