By Lindsey Derrick Dalton Public Schools contributor
Blue Ridge Elementary staff have done a lot of work to make sure the school’s students that walk to and from school are safe.
Georgia Safe Routes to School (SRTS) recognized these efforts and awarded the Dalton school with the Northwest Region Outstanding Partner of the Year Award.
“We have worked closely with SRTS to improve the safety of students who walk to and from school,” said Blue Ridge Assistant Principal Alan Martineaux.
With a grant received from SRTS, Dalton Public Schools and the city of Dalton constructed new sidewalks, painted crosswalks and completed other capital upgrades. The school has also incorporated walker safety into the health and PE curriculum, school officials work closely with the Dalton Police Department to ensure safety, there is a Wellness Design Team that encourages healthy lifestyles, and SRTS-trained personnel participate in pedestrian safety.
School staff also participate in national and state Walk to School Days and take tallies of how many walkers the school has — approximately 200 Blue Ridge students walk to and from school each day.
The school was asked to enter the contest by the local SRTS coordinator, and Blue Ridge officials found out they had received the award about a month ago.
“We are very honored to receive this honor,” Martineaux said. “We have a team of teachers, our Wellness Design Team, who work to design experiences for our community that encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Participation in the SRTS program is a part of that team’s work, and they deserve all the credit for bringing this award to Blue Ridge.”
For next year, the school is working with the Dalton Police Department to provide pedestrian safety education for parents.