Students across the city took to the streets on their way to school, celebrating International Walk to School Day on October 4, 2017. Students, staff, and families at the Winship Elementary School in Brighton received an extra dose of encouragement from Superintendent Tommy Chang, Police Commissioner Evans, other city officials including BPS Chief of Staff Rob Consalvo; Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi of the Boston Public Health Commission, City Councilor Mark Ciommo and other officials.
What made the morning extra special, however, was receiving high-fives from Pat the Patriot, the New England Patriots’ mascot. Winship students and families gathered at Rogers Park before walking to school with their friends and city officials. Once at the school, the entire school community gathered together, not only to celebrate the ease and benefits of walking to school, but also to send a message of hope to Houston. The Winship School, through BPS Cares, was partnered with Longfellow Elementary School, a magnet school for the creative and performing arts in Houston, Texas, that was affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Other district and city level officials joining walking included: Tommy Welch, Associate Superintendent at the Guild Elementary School in East Boston; Boston City Council At Large Annissa Essaibi George, MA State Rep Chynah Tyler, and Patrick Kelsey, MassDOT at the Ellis Elementary School in Roxbury; Katia Miller, Data and Evaluation Manager, Health and Wellness Department at Higginson-Lewis K-8 in Roxbury; Erin Reed, MassDOT SRTS Coordinator at the Beethoven in West Roxbury; and Kyle Bonus, MassDOT at the Winship.
Walk to School Days are part of the Safe Routes to School Boston initiative, which represents a collaboration between the district and city agencies to make walking or biking to school safe, popular, and fun. Safe Routes to School is a comprehensive program that utilizes events, education, engineering, enforcement, evaluation, and equity to meet its goal. Beyond fun, biannual walk to school events, the district supports pedestrian education in the schools, provides outreach to parents, evaluates transportation methods, and assesses the local built environment in order to advocate for improvements.