School Shout Out Series! Pt 3: Baby Steps
Some of the schools we've been working with are first-timers to the Bike Month game. Rookies, if you will. Greenhorns. Freshmen. Tenderfoots (tenderfeet?). Sand Point Elementary, Spiritridge, ORLA Montessori and Loyal Heights all come to mind as beginners.
You wouldn't know it, though. These ambitious elementary schools have been exemplar upstarts. I want to share a few of their stories with you.
Let's start locally with Sand Point Elementary. Just down the street from our office here in Magnuson Park, Sand Point Elementary re-opened in the fall of 2010, less than two years ago. Having been open for such a short period of time they haven't had a lot of opportunities to build a cycling community. Before Bike Month started there were no bikes outside the school. On Tuesday May 7, five kids rode in. In case you've never gotten a group of elementary students (and their parents) on your side for riding their bikes into school in the morning: it's tough work. Two of them were 5th grade girls and it's always a good sign to see the older kids riding in. Well done, Sand Point!
Spiritridge, in Bellevue, contacts me last week, "We need 700 stickers for Bike to School Day on May 18, we do!" Wow! As of May 3 Spiritridge had 12% of their student body commuting to school on bike. How many more will they get by May 18? I'm thinking a lot! Here's a photo and a quote these newbies sent me:
"But with only two weeks notice and four volunteers, Spiritridge has joined the ranks of the biking schools! In two days, we've gone from a school with one or two kids biking, to a community of cyclists. We've collected 69 permission slips so far (12% of our school), and our 5th graders on Patrol this morning counted 40 bikers!" -Angela M.
ORLA Montessori school is located in Olympia, our great capital. Bike Month is a nationwide event so schools all over the state are participating. Not all are participating in Cascade's, however. ORLA's first time in the game and they ordered 40 Bike to School Day stickers from me. To give you a bit of perspective: their Elementary has 80 kids. That's half of their school, riding bikes, taking to the streets and making their neighborhoods safer and healthier.
Ballard is a great place for bikes. Living in Fremont, it's easy for me to scoot over on my bike and enjoy the Locks, any number of parks or The Field House (because cyclists need ridiculously good smelling candles, too). There must be something in the water, too. As of May 1, Loyal Heights Elementary had 105 out of 419 students registered to ride: their final count was 78 riders on the first day of their first ever Bike to School campaign. A few days later they were up to 95 (almost 25% of their entire student body) -- no doubt a school with a great deal of cowbell. You'll be hearing more from this school in the weeks to come, I'm sure.
The moral of this trip around the compass is this: Bike Month, and specifically Bike to School Month, is off to a flyer. It's amazing to see the passion around the city and around the state for getting kids onto their bikes. Keep it up, everybody!