by Laura Kelly
Yes, it takes a group of dedicated volunteers to scan.
Yes, it’s a weekly (or monthly) commitment during the school year.
Yes, it’s effective in encouraging active transportation and creating habit.
Several elementary schools in Marin County have been making green travel a weekly habit by using Activ4.me, a web application that tracks green trips by child, classroom, and school. The tracking system generates real-time statistics including C02 reports and miles traveled. Active4.me captures every trip and can instantly notify a parent by text, email or phone that their student has arrived on campus.
Volunteer school teams using Active4.me conduct weekly (or monthly) scan days at school entrances. As students arrive on campus, parent volunteers and/or student green teams scan barcodes located on a mini-sneaker that hangs from the child’s backpack. A student receives a scan if they arrive to school by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard, carpool or bus. Active4.me reports can provide students with immediate feedback on their green trip totals.
Old Mill Elementary School in Mill Valley
“Showing students their updated trip count and mileage totals encourages a green travel movement at our school” said volunteer parent Renee Shelton. “Students enjoy positive feedback and you can see the sense of accomplishment light up their faces when their barcode tags are scanned.”
Old Mill is also using the “Trip” based virtual badges whereby kids receive blue ribbon, perfect attendance and rain day special awards.
Hidden Valley Elementary School in San Anselmo, California
Active4.me helps to get parents out of their cars and moving by foot or bicycle to school with their child. Scanning staging areas are social, fun and build green travel pride. “Please scan me!” says kindergartener Stella Lofrano at Hidden Valley. Her mother, Lacey Lofrano, says scanning is a “big deal” every week for her 5-year-old daughter. “She wants the scan for her kindergarten class to receive points to possibly win the golden sneaker award. I believe the active transportation habit that these young students are developing now will carry through to the middle and high school years.”
Parent volunteers for Safe Routes to Schools at Hidden Valley host green trip classroom competitions using the Active4.me database. A report generates the top producing classrooms for green trips every week. Golden sneaker trophies are presented to classrooms with the highest active transportation totals at the school assembly.
Safe Routes to Schools would like to acknowledge these outstanding elementary school parent volunteers for their dedication in using Active4.me and inspiring green travel at their schools from 2015 to 2017:
Hidden Valley Elementary
Karen Stead Baigrie; Karen Zamarano
Old Mill Elementary
Kim McFerrin; Garin Bougie; Renee Shelton
Laura French; Chad Sigler; Greg Benson; Karla Pavkovic
Wade Thomas Elementary
The cost for an elementary school to implement Active4.me is $300, not including backpack tags. For more information about implementing Active4.me at your school, please call (530) 402-8250 at Active4.me.