Indiana Area School District
Walking School Bus
The Indiana Area School District made history when it became the first school district in Pennsylvania to launch a Walking School Bus program. This component of the Safe Routes to School program is the latest, safe, fun and healthy way for kids to travel to and from school. Each walking school bus has at least one adult “driver” who walks with the kids.
The children walk to school in a group, picking up additional kids along their route. The “bus” runs rain or shine and along the way kids can visit with their friends, learn valuable pedestrian safety skills and enjoy some independence.
Moms and dads like it, too! It eases fears about crossing busy streets and lack of supervision. Parents feel good about their kids getting more physical activity, improving their health and performing better in school. As an added bonus, parents do not have to chauffer kids to school!
Horace Mann and Eisenhower elementary students that are not bused to school are eligible to participate if there is a route available in their neighborhood.
Routes are established when there are at least five children identified in close enough proximity to each other that it makes sense to walk as a group to and from school. Routes are no more than one mile long and take about 15 minutes to walk one way. The routes have been color-identified, and will later be signed, to easily distinguish them.
“Drivers” walk. They are the volunteers interested in walking with the kids and they are assigned to routes according to personal interest and route needs.
Stops are made along the way on designated routes that go past a student’s home. Other students, living off the main route, can join the group at a nearby location on the route (designated by the parent). A new route can be established in areas that don’t have one as soon as enough student and volunteer interest is identified for that area.
What if my child wants to participate, but I am not able to walk with the kids? That’s okay. Other neighborhood parents that are able to, individuals from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), responsible junior and senior high school students, and other community members volunteer to participate and we are able to assure your child will walk with a group of kids having at least 1 “driver” per 5 kids.
Does my child have to walk both to and from school to participate? No, you can indicate whether your child will be participating before school, after school, or both.
...What about every day? No. We understand that everyone’s schedules will vary and we have designed the program to allow for flexibility.
What if it's raining? The Walking School Bus runs rain or shine! Students are encouraged to dress appropriately and students on each route will be given ponchos or umbrellas that correspond to their route color.
What if I don’t feel comfortable letting my child walk with the person “driving”? Every effort is made to assign at least one volunteer per route that is known to the parents of the children on that route. However, the Route Leader maintains a driver schedule and it is always available for your review. You may choose to withdraw your child at any time if you are not comfortable with a situation.
My child wants to participate; whom do I contact? The school’s Transportation/Safety Supervisor (Mike Travis, 724.463.8713). He will let you know if there is an existing route that can serve your child or if you will be put on an “interested in participating” list for possible development of a new route.
I’m interested in participating, but don’t want to be confined by a rigid schedule. No problem. As stated earlier, the program is flexible! You will be given the name and phone number of a Route Leader who maintains the driver schedule and student roster for your route and these can be changed as needed.
I’m interested in “driving.” How do I sign up? Contact the Transportation/Safety Supervisor (Mike Travis, 724.463.8713), who maintains a comprehensive driver data base. You will be asked to complete a Driver Information Form by providing your name, address and phone number, indicating the days and times you are available to walk, and the routes for which you are interested in participating.
How do I “drive” the Walking School Bus? The school Transportation/Safety Supervisor will issue you a new driver packet, which will include a driver schedule, route map, and route summary and detail reports that will indicate the times of your stops, the address of each stop, the names and number of children at each stop, and the approximate length of time it should take to travel to the next stop. You will also be issued a Driver ID tag so the parents and students on your route can identify you.
AM Drivers Report to the 1st stop on the route approximately five minutes prior to depart time (approximately 8:10 am). Safety vests are located at the first stop on the route. Upon completion of the route, the drivers leave the vests in the school office.
PM Drivers Report to the school office at approximately 3:15. Then pick up the safety vests and any notes regarding changes in student roster, or a child’s participation for that day. Allow a few minutes for group to gather before departing school (approximately 3:24 pm). Upon completion of the route, the drivers leave the safety vests at last stop on the route.