Flippin, AR, is a rural town that is home to Flippin Elementary School, Flippin Middle School and Flippin High School. All of these schools are on the same campus, and approximately 100 of the 920 students regularly walk to school, despite the limited sidewalks around the school and the highway bordering part of campus.
In 2007, Flippin public schools were awarded a $27,500 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant through the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD). The funds will be used for pedestrian education and the installation of flashing traffic signs along the roads adjacent to the schools. The AHTD plans to construct sidewalks around the school campus. Once installed, the schools plan to organize encouragement activities, such as Walk to School Days, to increase the number of children walking or bicycling to and from school.
While waiting for the infrastructure improvements, the elementary and middle schools began a safety education program in fall 2007. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade will participate in a pedestrian and bicycle safety program called “First Steps to Safety.” The physical education health classes integrated this program into the current curriculum, and a school resource officer helped the teachers educate the students on pedestrian and bicycle safety issues. Upon completion of the pedestrian and bicycle safety education classes, the students receive safety goodie bags filled with age-appropriate items and materials. The bags for the elementary students have coloring books, bracelets, stickers, reflective zipper pulls and pedestrian and bicycle safety brochures. The middle school goodie bags contain pedestrian and bicycle safety brochures, as well as pencils and shoelace lights.
A portion of the SRTS grant will help to deliver pedestrian and bicycle safety education programs and activities to the students at Flippin Elementary and Flippin Middle School. The education components will be incorporated into the physical education curriculum at the elementary school and into the health curriculum at the middle school. The remainder of the grant will be used to purchase four flashing school zone signs — one on each of the four roads adjacent to the school — to warn motorists of the upcoming school zone. The flashing school zone signs will be installed by the fall 2008 school year.
Petra Pershall, Media Specialist
Phone: (870) 453-2233 ext. 6224