Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Local Celebrities Join in Walk to School Activities

Introduction

Longfellow Elementary School has participated in Walk to School Day for more than ten years and just joined Safe Routes to School.

Activities

Children arriving at school are greeted by the local baseball team's mascot.For their Walk to School Day, staff at Longfellow Elementary increased participation by recruiting local celebrities to walk with the students on their way to school. Those involved included University football players, Longfellow Elementary staff, law enforcement officers and the local baseball team’s mascot. The University football players wore their jerseys and met the students before walking with them to the school. Students who could not walk safely from their houses were dropped off at secure locations and walked to school from there, which still allowed them to participate in the event. Upon arriving to school, the participating students received a to-go breakfast, which also motivated children to participate. The principal at Longfellow Elementary also encourages physical activity by targeting each grade and providing them with the opportunity to walk with her during their noon recess. The large numbers of children beginning to walk to and from school required a change in the dismissal program, so cars are not blocking crosswalks or double parking when they come to pick up their children.

University football players join in the Walk to School Day activities by walking to school with children.Although Walk to School Day only occurs once a year, Longfellow Elementary also participates in Walking Wednesdays and wellness activities, such as walking during recess. SRTS is run by the faculty and staff at Longfellow Elementary, and since they do not receive any state or national funds, they rely on volunteers from the community and local University. Infrastructure improvements, such as painting sidewalk curbs and cross walks and changing parking signs, have been made along the school route to increase the safety of the students. Additionally, two crossing guards assist children with crossing busy intersections.

Milestones

The SRTS program at Longfellow Elementary has been one of its most important changes, and it has greatly aided in showing students and parents the safest walking routes to school. The program has encouraged more families to walk instead of driving to school. An estimated 75 to 80 percent of students participate in Longfellow Elementary’s Walk to School Day, a significant increase since the program began.

Contact

Holly Larson
Partnership Coordinator
Longfellow Elementary School
512 Balcom St. Eau Claire WI 54703
Phone: (715) 852-3800
Email: hlarson@ecasd.k12.wi.us