Walk to school day around the corner

August 21, 2013 

Students in the Lee’s Summit School District will be lacing up their walking shoes again this year in celebration of International Walk to School Day. So far, five schools are set to celebrate. The official Walk to School Day is Oct. 9, but because Wednesdays are late-start days in the district, other walk-to-school days that week have been chosen. For example, Lee’s Summit Elementary School has chosen Oct. 8, with a rain date of Oct. 10.

In addition to Lee’s Summit Elementary, four other elementary schools have announced participation: Highland Park, Longview Farm, Prairie View, and Westview.

The principals are excited to lead their students in the Walk to School Day celebration. Here are some reasons for participation and some great ideas about how to celebrate:

Tracy Sample, principal of Lee’s Summit Elementary, said, “Walk to school day is an opportunity for students, families, and Lee’s Summit Elementary staff to partner together in being role models for healthier life styles and a green environment. This is also a prime opportunity for parents to foster relationships with their children, instilling the importance of being at school on time with a positive outlook on his or her day. The Lee’s Summit Elementary staff will be walking with groups of students from various neighborhoods talking about the positive effects on learning of physical exercise as well as tips for staying safe when walking in our neighborhoods.”

Ryan Rostine, principal of Longview Farm Elementary, told me that, “Reaching out and building relationships with community is part of our school’s mission. We realize the importance of community and service. Walk to School Day allows us to visually see the power we have in such a huge number of participants…students, parents, community leaders. We realize that together we can positively impact our community.”

Rostine added, “We will be meeting in six to seven different locations that morning with team leaders at each location. We’ll start in Winterset Meadows and head to Highland Meadows. From there we will travel west to meet up with teams from Bridlewood and Longview Farm. Continuing west we will meet up with our families from New Longview and New Longview Apartments. We will all be approaching Longview Farm Elementary at 8:45 a.m. that morning. We’ll be decked out in our new First Friday T-Shirts! Be watching for us.”

Dave Boulden, principal of Westview Elementary, shared that “The Westview community has participated in this day for the past several years. Our PE teacher, Jeremy Witzke, incorporates this day into his PE class to support healthy lifestyles and highlights how walking promotes general fitness. Our Westview staff has joined in the walk to school campaign by creating a ‘Walking School Bus.’ Teachers go out into our neighborhood to meet kids from all directions and then meet and walk to school as a group. In past years we have had several students joined by their parents on this day when they chose to walk to school rather than ride the bus or travel by car. The number of students who participate has increased each year. It is such a positive day for our kids and our students, families and teachers begin the day with a nice walk while socializing together. “

It’s not too late for parents to plan to walk to school with their children or for other schools to join in the celebration, but Walk to School Day is just around the corner!

Kathy Biagioli is a Lee’s Summit resident, middle school teacher and chair of the Education and Encouragement Subcommittee of the Lee’s Summit’s Livable Streets Advisory Board, a mayor-appointed, volunteer board whose goals include working to make our community and our streets more “livable,” safe and accessible for all of our citizens.

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