Schools across New Jersey participated in this year’s Walk & Bike to School Month, which occurs each October. “Walktober” is a month of celebrating the benefits that the whole community experiences when kids take the active route to school by ditching the car and walking or biking. In the towns featured here, community members came together to celebrate Walktober with fun events like walking school buses and walk to school parades. In many instances, several different local groups partnered to plan and staff the event, such as parent-teacher organizations, transportation management associations (TMA), police departments, and municipal committees.
Currently, 177 schools in New Jersey are registered on WalkBiketoSchool.org to participate in the month-long celebration. Below, we’ve highlighted just a few of these events!
Students at Kelly Elementary School in West Orange took a walking school bus to school. They held colorful banners and posters that reminded motorists to drive safely. Folks from the EZ Ride TMA provided the following photos of the participants!
The township’s Board of Education posted an article about the event along with more photos. Parent and event organizer, Lori Kapferer said “Walking to school helps families make connections with each other and our neighbors, explore and make discoveries in our neighborhoods, and start the day active and engaged.”
Lawrence Township in Mercer County made a strong showing this International Walk to School day. Several elementary and intermediate schools participated, including Slackwood Elementary, Maurice Hawk Elementary, Wicoff Elementary and Lawrence Intermediate School. The Greater Mercer TMA, which provides and promotes a wide range of transportation options in the area, joined with an activity table and took photos of the festivities.
HART TMA partnered with schools throughout Hunterdon County to encourage kids to “Be a Superhero–Walk or Bike to School!” Students (and parents) could dress up as their favorite superhero and walk, bike, or fly to school!
Students at Bartle Elementary School in Highland Park walked to school with encouragement from Keep Middlesex Moving, the area’s TMA as well as Principal Benjamin and Teacher Ms Kirk. Those who walked received a sticker!
As part of Bradley Elementary School‘s Walktober celebration, the mayor and several city council members walked to school with some lucky students. As winners of the Walk to School day raffle, the mayor and council members met the students at their homes and walked with them to school. The Asbury Park Sun posted a news article about the event along with photos.
Atlantic Highlands Elementary School celebrated International Walk to School Day with a “walking train.” The Atlantic Highlands Herald posted an article and photos from the event. School principal Janet Walling said that the police department and school staff were very involved as event chaperones and crossing guards.
The Berkeley Heights school district designated October 11 and 25 as Walk to School Wednesdays. According to a local news article, despite the rainy weather, over 300 students participated from the township’s three elementary schools: Mountain Park, Thomas P. Hughes, and William Woodruff. They were led by a group of Columbia Middle School students.
Berkeley Heights is also building up their Safe Routes to School program. In an article from Tap into Berkeley Heights, Council Vice President Jeanne Kingsley said she is working with the school district, PTOs, and police department to form a team of volunteers. They are collecting data on how people currently travel to school and plan to host more walk to school events.
Valley Road School has held a walk to school event twice per year since 2014! According to an article in the Township Journal, this October dozens of students participated in a walking school bus event organized by several partner organizations including the school district, TransOptions TMA, and the Stanhope Home and School Association. Upon arriving at school, students received snacks from volunteers with the Home and School Association, who were also selling mums as part of their annual fall fundraiser.
According to an NJ.com article, over 2,000 Westfield elementary school students participated in International Walk to School Day! Students signed banners, received stickers, and entered to win a walk to school with a variety of local celebrities–police officers, their principal, fire fighters, or their school mascot! The Westfield Parent Teacher Council and the BRAKES (Bikers, Runners, And Kids are Entitled to Safety) Group worked together to coordinate the event.