When Was the Last Time You Took Your School Bus for a Walk?

The Center for Public and Nonprofit Management at the University of Central Florida signed a contract this week with the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) to manage and evaluate a program called Walking School Bus. This program will work with schools, parents, community volunteers, and elementary school kids within the 9-county DOT district to setup safe walking routes within 1-2 miles of the school. The outcomes: more physically active youth, improved academic performance, and reduced air pollution around schools due to scenes like this:

TP_328884_REPO_traffic

Instead, we want to see scenes like this:

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The Walking School Bus has been proven to be effective when implemented well, and we at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management are honored to take up the challenge. This project aligns perfectly with our four core research areas:

  1. Democracy and Citizen Engagement. This project will rely on volunteer citizens giving of their time to walk kids to school.
  2. Collaborative Governance. This project will also rely on partnerships between the Center, local schools, and community and faith-based organizations.
  3. Diversity and Inclusiveness. This project will target elementary schools in Central Florida and will identify unique challenges of urban vs. rural vs. suburban schools.
  4. Sustainability. Ultimately, in our small way, we want to reduce localized air pollution and demonstrate the feasibility and long-term potential for walking rather than driving to school.

The Center will be hiring a full time coordinator for this project. The ideal candidate will have strong interpersonal skills, organizational skills, and experience working with schools and/or volunteer groups. A masters degree is preferred though would not necessarily be required with appropriate professional experience. The position will be a 2-year contract position, possibly extendable, at a salary of $50,000 per year plus benefits. A formal announcement and solicitation will go out shortly. In the interim, send any interested parties my way.

And enjoy this jingle, get into the beat, and start walking!

walking_school_bus_c

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