Event Report: Walk to School Month at West Woodland

bike fairy fall 13 (Small)by Polly Freeman, West Woodland Elementary

For the month of October, West Woodland students tracked their non-driving trips to school (biking, walking, scootering, bussing) on spreadsheets outside each classroom door.

walkie award at West WoodlandOn International Walk to School Day, we met walkers and bikers outside the school with free breadsticks donated by Great Harvest Bakery. We moved away from giving small trinkets as incentives this year—instead, two high-participating classrooms (K-2 and 3-5) received the first annual “Walkie” award – a golden tennis shoe mounted on a decorative base created by one of our artistic parents and her team of junior artists.

Also, five top walkers and wheelers received headlamps donated by Second Ascent. Winning classes and individuals were recognized during a monthly all-school announcement over the intercom, which reinforced their participation and honored them in front of their peers.we met walkers and bikers outside the school with free breadsticks donated by Great Harvest Bakery.

The “Bike Fairy” was also spotted during Walk and Wheel Month, “catching” walking and wheeling students, and awarding them Hershey’s Kisses and stickers that say, “I got Kissed by the Bike Fairy.”

Kids remembered the Bike Fairy from last year, and were thrilled to spot the Fairy as they walked to and from school.

Breadsticks this Way!

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Walking and Biking and (new) Seattle School Boundaries

Unless you’ve been successfully avoiding all local news and social media (and if so, congratulations), you’ll know the Seattle School District is in the process of redrawing neighborhood school attendance boundaries.

The changes are being driven by a number of real issues—overcrowding, bus routes & schedules, expected demographics, remodeling and construction plans, and so on. And some of these changes are positive, designed to provide relief to schools nearly bursting at the seams. However others are less positive and potentially could take kids away from a walkable neighborhood attendance area, requiring a bus or car trip to school instead.
For details on how these changes can impact walkable communities, make sure you check out Feet First‘s blog post calling the district add another criteria to their school zone plans: Walkability.
The Seattle School District is in the process of changing elementary and middle school boundaries to respond to capacity needs and demographic projections. To succeed in the important task of drawing school boundaries for the greatest benefit of students, Feet First joins a growing number of communities in insisting an additional factor be taken into consideration: walkability. – Feet First

SPS Growth Boundaries Survey

As an organization, Walk.Bike.Schools doesn’t have the staffing or resources to evaluate the plans and changes for each and every school and neighborhood. (In fact we have no staffing or organization, but that’s another post).
We do however, come down solidly on the side of any family who feels their the district is removing the opportunity to attend a local, walkable or bikeable school.
Therefore I urge you (and your friends and neighbors!) to review the district’s maps & proposals to make sure these changes work for you. And then please speak up if you find changes in the plan that would hinder the ability for a child or family to walk or bike to school!
For this issue, the district is recommending use of the survey for feedback. Please share this tool with friends, neighbors and school community members. The survey is open until Oct. 21. If you have questions about the plan you can contact GrowthBoundaries@

seattleschools.org or the board at schoolboard@seattleschools.org

 Next Steps
  • Provide Survey Feedback through Oct.21.
  • Revised recommendations will go to the School Board at the November 6, 2013, board meeting.
  • Board will vote on the recommended boundaries at its meeting on November 20, 2013.