Oregon Walk and Bike News

Join the Walk+Bike Network and See What's Possible

Once upon a time, there was a parent named Sisyphus Jones. Sis was determined to encourage walking and biking at his kids' school, Elysian Fields Elementary. Everyday, he got up early to walk his kids to school and set up a table by the front doors to pass out incentives to students who walked and biked. Some days there would be a slight increase in kids walking and biking, but most days not. Sis never gave up. He just kept pushing forward knowing that one day, all his hard work would pay off. Families would arrive at school, happy and healthy after a great morning exercise. Kids would be ready to learn! The air quality would be so much cleaner! But right now, the reality of the situation seemed bleak.

Sisyphus

One day, he found out about the Walk+Bike Network from Cassandra, a teacher at Minotaur Elementary across town. Sisyphus thought about not listening to Cassandra, he just had so much to do. "It's easy and only takes one minute," she said, persuading him to join the Network.

Over the next year, Sis found out about fundraising opportunities, trainings, retreats, and much more. When he had a problem, he would call into the monthly mutual aid call and get ideas from new friends across the state working to increase the number of families walking and biking. He was able to tell teachers at Elysian Fields about innovative curricula. He networked with parents, teachers, and city staff and even called his Oregon representative to promote legislation that would  help his school.

In four years, Elysian Fields Elementary will experience a cultural shift. The first page of the student handbook will read: "At EF, we walk and bike to school whenever possible." During PE classes, students will learn safe walking and biking through hands-on instruction. The school district will own its own bike fleet so that classes can take field trips by bike. Crosswalks will be added to streets that have needed them for years! Sis will be the Sustainability Chairperson on the PTA with a team of parents to help promote sustainable and healthy living. Elysian Fields and Sis will be recognized with the Chiron Award at a citywide awards ceremony for influential people in the movement toward a healthier community. Friends and  family will start calling him Chiron, kind of as a joke, but he'll like it.

Feel like Sisyphus? Join the Walk+Bike Network. We can help.

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“Whoo Hoo!” Gresham School Wins Prize of the Week

When I told Mike the news he exclaimed, "Woo-hoo! My lucky day!"

Mike at J-tree

Mike Mann is the Language Arts teacher and Walk+Bike Coordinator at Dexter McCarty Middle School in Gresham. He was entered into a drawing for a Columbia backpack for tracking how many students walked and biked last week as part of the Walk+Bike Challenge

Congratulations to Mike and the 228 students who walked or rode to school!

We asked Mike to share some of his thoughts on the Challenge.

BTA: What is your favorite story from the Walk+Bike Challenge so far?

Mike: My favorite memory so far has been the excitement of my first period students when I enlisted them last week in making sure all the first period classrooms in the whole building were stocked with Tally posters and/or tally booklets. My students went out in pairs, made sure the classrooms were stocked, and explained to the teachers how to use the items. They felt like they had a role in promoting biking and walking, and are going to visit each class once a week to trade out the posters and make sure kids are filling them out.

BTA: Do you recommend the Challenge to other schools? Why?

Mike: EVERY school should participate because it promotes a healthy alternative for students and staff, and it comes at the perfect time of year to spend time outside enjoying our area's beautiful spring weather.


Join Mike and 135 other schools across Oregon as they increasing the number of kids walking and biking, one student at a time.

Its not too late to sign up for the Walk+Bike Challenge!

"The Mayor will love to hear this!"

Patricia Calvillo is a 5th grade teacher at Duniway Elementary and has been such a wonderful supporter of her students learning to bike safely. Thanks, Patricia, for sending us this great story!

When my class and I were on our community ride last week, we rode by the Mayor's house.  Nancy, Mayor Hales' wife, came out to walk their dog and talked to those of us who were at the end of the line of students.  I told her what we were doing and about the bicycle safety program.

She was very impressed and said, "The mayor will love to hear this! I wish I had my camera."

And last night at our annual auction, I only heard praise about the program from our parents.

Thanks again for a fabulous week!


Do you have great stories about a bike safety class?
Send them to LeeAnne and we might share them here on the blog!