Before it closed, Pratt Elementary in Spokane Valley had a very succesful walking school bus program. In recent years, there has been talk about starting another walking school bus program.

What is a walking school bus? Simply put, it’s a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

Numbers recently came back from a walking school bus in South Providence, Rhode Island, and it turns out the program has helped to address a chronic absenteeism problem at that school. Many of the children living within a mile of the school have parents who work in the morning or don’t have a car, and getting the kids to school each day was a major challenge. With the start of the walking school bus program though, all that changed.

Here’s why it made a difference, from the Safe Routes to School partnership.

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