What is a Back-to-School Blitz?
A Back-to-School Blitz is an outreach campaign at the beginning of the school year to promote walking, bicycling, carpooling, and taking the bus to school. Families set transportation habits during the first few weeks of the school year. Because many families are not aware of all available transportation options, most families will develop the habit of driving to school.
Orientation events are particularly valuable for the parents of kindergartners, who are attending school for the first time and forming new travel habits.
Ideas for a Back-to-School packet:
- Suggested Route Maps to inform parents about good routes to walk or bicycle to school
- Carpooling resources, including information about 511.org's SchoolPool Tool
- Information about School Site Transportation Policies, including designated drop-off and pick-up areas, recommended traffic circulation, and bike parking locations
- Transit and bus information with transit and school bus stops and schedules
- Pledge Forms to encourage families to reduce the number of times they drive to school; entries can go into a raffle drawing – SchoolPool Marin offers a pledge for families who don’t need to sign up for SchoolPool
- Information about the Safe Routes to School Program offered at the school. Solano County Safe Routes to School has a glossy Parent Information Flier in English and Spanish that provides information about the program activities and how parents can become engaged.
How to Distribute this Information to Parents:
- Articles in the school newsletter
- A packet given to each family – Marin Safe Routes to School’s Back-to-School Flier is an excellent example of information for parents that encourages them to try an alternative to driving
- A cover letter from the principal encouraging parents to create transportation habits with students that promote physical activity, reduce congestion, increase school safety, and improve air quality
- A table at the back-to-school night with materials and trained volunteers who can answer questions about transportation issues
- Opportunities for parents to connect for Carpooling or Walking School Buses and Bike Trains by posting a map showing all student households; parents can find other families in their neighborhood who are interested in walking, biking and carpooling to school together
- Information posted on a website – Palo Alto Safe Routes to School has posted Back to School Safety information for families, including tips for students in different grades and safety tips for walking and biking
These resources can be accompanied by activities to reinforce new transportation habits while discouraging parents from forming bad habits.