The inaugural ‘Walking School Bus’ for students attending Gibson Elementary took place on Tuesday, September 20. Principal Mark Douangchanh and Vice Principal Darryl Penny accompanied approximately 30 students from the designated meeting place at Delview Park down 92 Avenue, across 116 Street and along the path behind Delview Secondary in plenty of time to reach their class.
“Encouraging students to walk to school enables them to spend more time being active outside which research has shown supports lasting changes in physical, mental and social well-being,” said Principal Mark Douangchanh. “It also means less traffic congestion around the school, resulting in improved air quality and safer traffic conditions for students, families, staff and the surrounding community.”
The Walking School Bus is part of Gibson Elementary’s Active School Travel (AST) Pilot Program, an initiative led by BC Healthy Communities Society (BCHC) and funded by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
“The school’s previous principal, Lily Potter, was instrumental in getting the Walking School Bus initiative off the ground,” said Vice Principal Darryl Penny. “We’ve been working in partnership with Fraser Health, Safe Active Transportation TFN Delta, the Delta Police Department, City of Delta Engineering, ICBC, school district staff and Delview Secondary on this initiative for more than nine months. A huge amount of effort has gone into researching the safest drop-off location and route to the school. In addition, the City has made a number of upgrades to the Walking School Bus route to enhance its accessibility.”
Parent volunteers will lead the Walking School Bus to Gibson before school, and students from nearby Delview Secondary will lead it back to the designated meeting place after school. More than 30 Delview students have signed up to lend their support to the program already.
“We had no idea how many students might show up, so we were absolutely thrilled to have so many join us this morning. We hope even more students will participate in the coming days and weeks. And a huge thank you to students at Delview Secondary. Yet again, they have stepped up to take a leadership role and support their younger peers.” said Principal Douangchanh.
“It was so exciting to see the first Walking School Bus head off to school,” said Lily Potter, Principal, Ladner Elementary. “We are hoping that the initiative will inspire other schools in the district to set up a Walking School Bus in their community.”
If your child attends Gibson Elementary and you would like them to join the Walking School Bus, please drop them off at Delview Park (in the northeast parking lot on 92 Avenue) at 8:20 a.m. The Walking School Bus will depart at 8:30 a.m. prompt for the walk to Gibson. It will return to the designated meeting place after school at approximately 3:20 p.m.
If you are a parent/guardian and are interested in volunteering for the morning Walking School Bus, please contact Principal Mark Douangchanh or Vice Principal Darryl Penny.