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November 18, 2015


Safe Routes to School Friends,

Much for which to give thanks! What a beautiful fall for biking and walking. It was an amazing 58 degrees this “Walking Wednesdays” morning when eight hundred or so Seward students walked to school. Children marveled at the green grass, breathed in the humid air, and even rescued worms from deep puddles as if it were spring…It was a different landscape altogether at the end of October when Pillsbury Pedal Power showed their grit and mettle biking through sleet, wind, and cold in an unforgettable five mile ride.  Kudos also to fifth graders at Bethune Community School who rode a three mile loop using the MPS Bicycle Fleet during P.E. class, conquering the heights of the Van White bridge and the helix swirl at Bryn Mawr Meadows. Thank you also to parents at Whittier, Burroughs, Hiawatha-Howe, and Seward for organizing Free Bikes for Kidz bicycle drives at their schools and to Edward Davis, Grow-Your-Own teacher at Lucy Laney, for donating eighteen bicycles during the drive! Thank you!

Thank you as well to the recent media stories shining a positive light on Minneapolis Public Schools. Loring teacher Nancy Duwenhoegger’ s efforts are profiled in this Asian American Press article. She leads a walking bus, created zero hour PE, organized a Bus Stop & Walk, wrote a grant for recess bicycles…and more! Of walking to school Ms. D says, “Kids really like walking with us, and they can either jog or walk. They connect with their friends and get caught up with one another, while releasing all of their energy, and then they are more prepared to study when they get to school.” Efforts to get more students bicycling and walking at Seward, Northrop and South High are highlighted in this Minnpost story. Says principal of Seward Montessori Tammy Goetz about Walking Wednesdays, “Kids are happy. Just that fresh air and exercise sets a tone for them for the day, and we know research out there says physical exercise for movement really does wake the brain up and make it more open to learning right away in the morning.”

Below you’ll find Safe Routes to School information and news and ways to give back during this time of giving. As always, let MPS SRTS know what is happening in your school community and how we can support your walk-bike dreams.


Bicycle volunteers wanted  | Minneapolis Public Schools | Safe Routes to School | short survey

Minnesota now has a statewide pedestrian and bicycle safety curriculum Walk! Bike! Fun!, the biking portion of which culminates with students putting their learning into action by bicycling in the streets with their teachers and classmates. Nine MPS schools have implemented this curriculum during the school day and many more in after school clubs. Volunteers are needed to bring these life-changing bicycle experiences to students. While biking all the way to Stillwater is not required, volunteers can help by biking along with Minneapolis Public Schools teachers and students as they gain access to the 118 miles of on-street bikeways and 92 miles of off-street bikeways we have in our city.  Even helping once or twice a year will make a difference.

Please take a two minutes survey to indicate your interest: http://goo.gl/forms/3z1yUp3RY0

Learn more about MPS Safe Routes to School efforts at the MPS SRTS website.


Volunteers wanted  | Northside Bike Giveaway | Cleveland Neighborhood Association

Here’s a great opportunity to step up and take an active role in your community. The Cleveland Neighborhood Association is looking for several volunteers to help with their December 5th Bike Giveaway. They need about 40 wonderful volunteers to help make sure 150 kids and their families receive a bike and with it the knowledge and community support to embrace biking and a healthy lifestyle.  Learn more or sign up here.


Input wanted  | Statewide Pedestrian Plan | MnDOT & MDH | surveys open until Nov 29

As part of Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) work to achieve the Minnesota GO Vision, MnDOT has teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Health to develop a Statewide Pedestrian System Plan. Happy streets mean healthy communities: they’re good for health, for business and for the environment. Whether you walk to work, to the corner store, or just for fun, we want to know what makes walking enjoyable or challenging for you. Where would you like to walk? How far do you walk? What would make walking easier for you?

Please take the pedestrian surveys on features to improve your walking experience (Deadline: Midnight Sunday, November 29th).


Recent publication  | Journal of School Health | Critical Connections: Health and Academics | Volume 85, Issue 11 | November 2015

The November Issue of the Journal of School Health is devoted to the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model. One article in this issue focuses on Health and Academic Achievement. Some excerpts: “Despite these [reform] efforts, there has been minimal improvement in student achievement. One reason might be that these education-specific approaches are not addressing health-related barriers to learning… Researchers have been examining the association between physical activity and academic achievement for almost 50 years…[research] consistently showed that physical activity had a significant positive association with students' cognitive functioning (eg, concentration and memory)…. In addition, a recent review, based on a meta-analysis of 20 experimental studies, concluded that students participating in physical activity had improved academic achievement including better concentration and attention, higher achievement tests scores, and higher math scores compared with students who did not.” Read the article.



More in the news:  | Hennepin County | Midtown Greenway | new MN SRTS coordinator  | MPS calendar | biking & attention

·         The League of American Bicyclists has named Hennepin County a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community. No standalone county in the nation has higher status. Read more.

·         The Midtown Greenway was named to the Trails to Rails Hall of Fame: http://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/?tag=Hall+of+Fame

·         Dave Cowan has been named the new Minnesota Safe Routes to School Coordinator. A quote from Dave: “The most important meeting of my day begins every morning at 8:05 as I begin my walk (and sometimes roll) with my two daughters on the way to school. We walk and talk. We explore ideas, connect with our community, and spend the relatively few “disconnected” moments of my day connecting with each other. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

·         The Board of Education will vote in December 2015 on the new district calendar for 2016-2019. Read more

·         A school in Utah says a middle school before-school bicycle program changes lives—helping students focus in class, making students happier, and giving them purpose: The Today Show


MPS Safe Routes to School Email List

MPS Safe Routes to School (MPS SRTS) is part of Safe & Healthy Students and is located in Operational & Security Services (OSS). It is funded through grants from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Safe Routes to School and the Statewide Health Improvement Program.

MPS SRTS sends occasional emails like this one to walk/bike friends, enthusiasts, and champions across Minneapolis Public Schools with bike/walk/wellness information, opportunities, and events. Please email Jennifer.bordon@mpls.k12.mn.us to be added to or removed from this list. Please share as you see fit.