This is the fourth posting in a series of blogs about International Walk to School (IWALK) events, intended to help schools, parents and volunteers organize IWALK events in October. Learn more about IWALK here.
IWALK Steps for the Start of the School Year
During the summer, many IWALK planners have formed planning teams, and have begun to make basic decisions about the size, shape and scope of their events.* With the start of the school year, now is the time make it real. Your main tasks at this point are to coordinate your event to other school happenings, and to cast the net as wide as possible for involvement from others. This short checklist should help:
Meet with your principal to share your goals and ideas. At a minimum, you need the principal’s buy-in, but he or she can also become your strongest ally. See if there are ways to align your event with the school’s educational objectives, or to coordinate with other upcoming events. Invite your principal to lead a walking school bus or greet walkers at school on event day.
Get your date on the school calendar. All schools have a shared calendar for staff, either posted on a wall in a communal space or kept electronically. Check your desired date(s) against this calendar, adjust your plans if necessary, and speak with the school secretary (or whoever keeps the calendar) to get your event posted.
Get on the agenda of your first PTA meeting, and/or arrange to have a presence at your start-of-school family event. Use these opportunities to recruit more parent volunteers, both for your planning team and for the event day. Send around a sign-up sheet so that you end up with a contact list of potential volunteers.
Communicate with school staff to let them know about the event and to invite them to get involved. Try one or more of these ways to reach out to teachers and other staff:
Ask to speak at a staff meeting.
Ask your principal to send an “all-staff” email that you compose.
Write a half-page description of the event, make copies, and place them in staff mail boxes.
In all cases, be sure to have a specific “ask” for staff, including your contact information, a sign-up sheet, or other easy way to act on their interest.
Inform all school families. Write an article previewing your event and get it published in the first school newsletter. Be sure to include the who, what, where, when, why and information about how to get involved. Your school secretary and/or PTA president will best know how to submit an article….and if you haven’t already done it…
These are core tasks to help keep your planning on track. For more suggestions and considerations, check out these Feet First tools and resources
. Please add comments below if you have other thoughts, questions or suggestions. Feet First is here to help you every step of the way!
*If you have not actively been planning this summer don’t panic! Check out Feet First’s past IWALK blogs to bring yourself and your team up to date:
Past IWALK Blogs from Feet First: