Tulsa, Oklahoma: Zarrow students walk to school

Introduction

Henry Zarrow International is a kindergarten through fifth grade magnet school in Tulsa, Okla. Being a magnet school, students, if accepted, can attend Zarrow regardless of the distance. Only six Zarrow students live in the school’s neighborhood, half of whom walk or bicycle to school. As for the rest of Zarrow’s students, either their parents drive them to school or they ride they bus. In addition to its magnet school status, Zarrow is part of the Schools for Healthy Lifestyles program and wanted to combine the promotion of healthy activities with school safety. In Oct. 2003, Zarrow’s physical education teacher decided the answer was to involve Zarrow in International Walk to School Day. The school has participated in International Walk to School Day every year since 2003.

Activities

Students and families enjoy Zarrow Walk to School Day.In the weeks leading up to International Walk to School Day, the school sends announcements and fliers to the parents and students to inform them of the upcoming event. Meanwhile, a Homeroom Mom helps to coordinate the event by recruiting local celebrities and athletes to participate with the students. In 2007, Zarrow’s superintendent, the area superintendent and one of the players from the Tulsa 66ers NBA team joined the students for Walk to School Day. Zarrow partnered with a local Lutheran Church located a half mile away from the school. The church funds the yearly event and provides a healthy breakfast for the participating students and parents.

Zarrow students and staff are ready for Walk to School Day.On International Walk to School Day, the students, parents, teachers and local celebrities meet at the school and then walk the half mile to the church, where they enjoy a healthy breakfast and listen to physical activity messages. After learning about the importance of physical activity and hearing public promotion of walking to and from school, the students and the local celebrities walk back to school.

In addition to Walk to School Day, Zarrow organizes a health fair every two years for law enforcement officers and emergency personnel to come and discuss the importance of pedestrian safety with the students. Previously, the school has worked with Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, a nonprofit organization, which donated signs sold at the health fair. Teachers also work to raise students’ awareness of safety by creating and delivering lesson plans centered on bicycle safety.

Milestones

Approximately 95 percent of Zarrow’s students and their families participated in Walk to School Day on Oct. 3, 2007, a success rate that encourages the continuation of the event. In addition to the event’s continuation, there are plans to expand its media coverage and to organize more assemblies at which a law enforcement officer would come to discuss the importance of pedestrian safety.

Contact

Francie Hamer
Physical Education Teacher, Henry Zarrow International
2714 S. 90th East Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74129
Email: hamerfr@tulsaschools.org
Phone: (918) 925-1560