BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang, Red Sox Mascots, and City and School Officials Accompany Students on Their Walks
BOSTON - Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - An estimated 4,000 Boston Public Schools (BPS) students from over 22 elementary, middle, and K-8 schools took to the streets today in the 2nd Annual BPS "Walk to School Day" event. This event celebrates the efforts of "Safe Routes to School Boston," a city-wide initiative aimed at making walking to school safe, popular, and fun.
"Boston truly is a walkable city, and I'm proud of that. Growing up in Dorchester, I was able to walk everywhere, easily and safely," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "Children growing up today deserve that same level of freedom and mobility. That's why people from across the city, including those in our police, school and transportation departments, have come together to create safer environments that make it easier for students and all of our citizens to walk our streets."
Red Sox mascots Wally the Green Monster and his sister, Tessie, joined the movement by greeting students walking to the Ellis Elementary School in Roxbury.
Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill said the benefits of walking to school go beyond exercise. "Research shows that physical activity prepares students to learn. For this reason, walking to school is a great way to start the day," he said. "We want to give all of our students the chance to achieve academic success and this is one way to meet the needs of the whole child."
BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang said the Safe Routes to School Boston effort aligns with the district's overall mission of promoting the health and wellbeing of all students.
"Something as simple as walking to school can be part of the solution to closing achievement gaps," said Dr. Chang, who joined students walking to the Haley Pilot School in Dorchester. "Not only does walking provide students with needed physical activity to support health, it does wonders for a child's mood and readiness to learn."
Safe Routes to School is a national program with a comprehensive approach that encourages students and their families to walk, bike, or use other forms of active transportation to commute to and from school. It teaches students and families safe walking habits; works with city agencies to improve infrastructure; and engages families through events such as the annual Walk to School Day.
"These efforts not only boost students' health and academic readiness, but they support the BPS Wellness Policy," said Amalio Nieves, Assistant Superintendent for Social Emotional Learning and Wellness. "BPS has one of the most comprehensive wellness policies in the country. Safe Routes to School Boston is an initiative that promotes physical activity across the school day, and provides students with the tools to be active adults."
The 2nd Annual BPS Spring Walk to School Day celebrates these efforts and kicks off the spring walking season. Children who walked to school today got more than some healthy exercise. Walkers, many of whom were accompanied by city officials, were congratulated with stickers and other prizes. Students walking to the Ellis Elementary School got a surprise greeting by Red Sox mascots Wally the Green Monster and his sister, Tessie
The Safe Routes to School Boston program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is one of the CDC's Hi-5 initiatives, meaning this program has the greatest potential to positively impact health across the population.
For more information about Safe Routes to School Boston, visit the following websites: