October is national Walk to School Month and next week some Kodiak schools will celebrate this by competing in the annual Walk and Roll contest. The two week competition encourages students to walk or bike to school, when it is safe to do so, and provides prize incentives.
Tom Pogson is the local Safe Routes to School coordinator through Island Trails Network and has worked with the districts wellness coordinator, Gloria Scalzo, to help put on the program.
“And in an ideal world, if we didn’t have all the barriers to safe walking and biking, we would want all the kids that live close enough to school to walk and bike safely to school.”
However, Pogson acknowledged that there are quite a few barriers, especially this time of year, for kids when they try to walk or ride their bike.
“We have darkness, we don’t have sidewalks or safe walking environments in many of our neighborhoods, we have bus stops that aren’t well lit, we have bears that wander the neighborhoods.”
In an effort to keep students safe, Pogson said this year’s program will be pretty flexible, and students can record any bike or walk on their punch card, not necessarily one that took them to or from school.
“Either during recess, an assembly, in an organized group with the teachers – and a lot of teachers have agreed to host the program. And we’re even expanding it to include any walking or biking during the two week period, which is the 14th until the 28th of October.”
Students will record their activities on a punch card. If they have 10 punches by the end of the competition they will receive a prize, and two classes at each school with the most punches will qualify for a candy apple party this fall.
The Middle School, East, Peterson, Main Elementary and some classrooms at North Star have agreed to participate in the competition.