An Interview with Wendi Kallins, Marin County Safe Routes to Schools
Tell us about your work with Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) policies and the process for getting policies adopted by school districts.
We use the template that the California School Boards Association developed and include all of the programs and activities that the schools are currently doing, such as educational classes, task forces, and parent champions. We also include optional components that could be added to the program. For the City policies, we draw on examples from other cities and initiatives from local bicycle and pedestrian plans. We work with a champion, either elected official or staff, to refine and tailor the template to the city or school district’s needs, then bring it to city council or [school district] board to be passed as a resolution with the policy suggestions as an attachment.
How many school districts in Marin County have a SRTS policy?
All of the big school districts in the county (five total) have adopted policies and we are now working with the smaller school districts. The Town of Fairfax has a SRTS policy and we are working with two other cities to adopt policies.
What challenges have you encountered along the way?
School districts and cities are sometimes hesitant to adopt policies that might cost money beyond staff time, so we use language that recommends or encourages actions, but tend to refrain from using stronger language, such as “shall.” In some cases where a member of a task force or school board is involved, we’ve been able to use stronger language.
How have the SRTS policies been implemented on the ground?
We provide the template, facilitate the process, and keep things moving if there are issues along the way.
What advice would you give to school districts or other communities wanting to adopt a SRTS policy?
The template is very helpful and carries a lot of influence because it is from the California School Boards Association. Having a champion or someone deeply involved in the program helps to ensure that important components of the program such as education are not left out of the policy.
Other SRTS Policy Resources
- Changelab Solutions’ SRTS District Policy Workbook
- SRTS National Partnership’s SRTS Local Policy Guide
- SRTS National Partnership’s Getting Students Active through SRTS: Policies and Action Septs for Education Policymakers and Professionals
- Live Well San Diego’s Incorporating SRTS into School Wellness Policies: A resource packet for school district wellness committees
- National Center for SRTS and SRTS National Partnership’s School Bicycling and Walking Policies: Addressing Policies that Hinder and Implementing Policies that Help
- SRTS National Partnership’s Healthy Students, Thriving Districts: Including Safe Routes to School in District Policies
- WALKSacramento SRTS Summit Workshop #2: Policy Development
Example SRTS Policies