Schools encourage students to walk, bike

Three elementary schools in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. will join dozens around the state asking students to walk or bike to school on Wednesday as part of International Walk to School Day.

Columbus Signature Academy — Fodrea Campus, Schmitt and Parkside elementary schools are planning to participate. The Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership, which works to increase the number of children safely walking and biking to school throughout the state, and Health by Design are encouraging schools and parents to join in.

At least 50 other Indiana schools had signed up to participate through the national website, walkbiketoschool.org, as of last week.

“We’re seeing increased interest in walking to school as educators, parents and school staff experience the benefits of physical activity for students, especially at the start of their day,” said Kim Irwin, executive director of Health by Design.

Parkside has 70 to 100 elementary students who walk or bike each day when the weather is nice, Principal Casey Voelz said. That’s more than any other BCSC elementary, she said.

Teachers have been helping to educate Parkside students about the upcoming event, while information was also included in newsletters and posted on social media, she said.

“I’m anticipating we’ll have a lot more than normal,” she said. “We have a lot of parents that bike with their children.”

Voelz also said the extension of the People Trail allows children to get to school safely by bringing them to the back of the building near its playground.

Schmitt also is gearing up for the event that will provide prizes such as bike and reflective tags to participants, Principal Brett Boezeman said. He said the school typically has 50 to 70 elementary students participate in International Walk to School Day, depending on weather conditions.

However, Boezeman said he hopes to see an increase in the number this year.

CSA Fodrea Principal Lyndsey Linneweber said she is expecting a good response this year as well.

Fodrea families, students and staff look forward to it each year, she said.

“I want students to get enjoyment out of walking to school,” Linneweber said. “Walk to School Day gets students thinking about small changes in their lives that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

Having students walk or bike to school is beneficial in many ways, said Laura Garrett, community initiatives lead with Healthy Communities.

Students who participate in a physical activity retain more information during the school day, according to studies, Garrett said.

She aencouraged parents and their children to be active together.

“It’s good for us and it’s fun,” Garrett said.

Who is participating

Three Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. schools are participating in Wednesday’s International Walk to School Day:

  • Columbus Signature Academy — Fodrea Campus
  • Schmitt Elementary School
  • Parkside Elementary School

How to learn more

For more information, visit walkbiketoschool.org.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com