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Partner of the Year Award

Since 2011 the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center has recognized outstanding partners with the Partner of the Year Award. Winners of this award were chosen based on the progress of their SRTS programs during the past year in getting more students to walk and bike to school and increasing the awareness of SRTS within its community.

2016 Outstanding Partners

Congratulations to all nominated Partners and a shout out to those selected!  Read about each of the five winning schools below and get inspired for the coming year!

East Central Region: River Ridge Elementary(Evans, Columbia County)

River Ridge Elementary school has embraced the Georgia Safe Routes to School program as part of its culture. With a wonderful champion and Physical Education Coach, George Adkins, students are learning the importance of physical activity. Active transportation is also integral to the objective of getting students to and from school safely. Not only have walking and biking safely become the focus of school teachers and administration, but parent involvement has been a key to success. With everyone working together, more students are walking and fewer parents are driving, minimizing traffic around the school. The school’s achievements are evident with over 400 students participating in International Walk to School Day, an annual Bike to School day, and an overall focus on physical activity!

Coastal Region: Charles Ellis Montessori Academy (Savannah, Chatham County)

As a gold partner who has completed a Safe Routes to School Travel Plan, Charles Ellis Montessori Academy is a school that knows how to prioritize the safety and well-being of its students. School officials work to make continuous improvements to walking and biking routes. Parents, teachers, and administrators work together to host bike and walk events throughout the school year. Their focus on helping students learn how to be safe and giving students the infrastructure to walk safely is the right formula for increasing the number of students that walk and bicycle to school. Keep up the great work, Charles Ellis!

Metro Atlanta Region: Morris Brandon Elementary (Atlanta, Forsythe County)

Morris Brandon Elementary School’s Safe Routes to School program reached a new level during the 2015-16 school year, with high student participation rates in walking events and strong community involvements. Busy as the bees that are the school’s mascot, 2,054 students participated in walking events during the year. Their biggest walking event of the year, BeeHappy, Walk! included neighbors and local business sponsors. Event organizers created buzz by offering a t-shirt for the first 600 students and teachers that signed-up and sending out email blasts with reminders about the benefits of walking. The day of, neighborhood signs alerted everyone to slowdown and City Council President, Cesar Mitchell kicked off the event. These Bees really know how to elevate community safety!

North Georgia Region: Turner Middle School (Lithia Springs, Douglas County)

In April 2015, Turner Middle School completed a Safe Routes to School Travel Plan. Their continued commitment to the Safe Routes to School program is evident with their Walk to School and Walk at School events. Students have caught the bug of walking and biking safely; so much so, that students are often planning events themselves! Making safety a priority, Turner Middle School held a Bicycle Rodeo in 2016 to help students learn how to bike safely. Way to go, Turner Middle! 

Southwest Georgia Region: Hand-in-Hand Primary (Thomasville, Thomas County)

From speaking at the Georgia Regional Summit to promoting safety on a daily basis, the teachers, administration, and families of Hand-in-Hand Primary School are a shining example of a Safe Routes to School Program. The key to their success is their focus on promoting safety. Coach Hanah Taylor, program champion, gets the students of Hand-in-Hand participating in all Resource Center events. Hand-in-Hand Primary School prioritizes the health and safety of the students while walking during International Walk to School Day and other similar events. What an example, Hand-in-Hand!

2015 Outstanding Partners


Congratulations to the 2015 Winners!  Read about each of the five winning school below and get inspired for next year!


East Central Region:  River Ridge Elementary (Columbia County)

River Ridge Elementary demonstrates its commitment to supporting students walking and bicycling to school through its participation in Georgia Walk to School Day and International Walk and Bike to School Day.  School leaders used these events to promote awareness and safety among its students and staff, and the local sheriff department’s bike team helped teach students about walking and bike safety. Additionally, new sidewalks have been installed to help students walk and bike from their neighborhoods. As a result of the school’s efforts, the number of students and parents participating in these events has been steadily growing, demonstrating the dedication and success of this SRTS Partner.


Coastal Region: Windsor Forest Elementary (Chatham County)

Windsor Forest Elementary School’s teachers are dedicated to helping their students lead healthier lives and strive to lead by example. Windsor Forest participated in Walk to School Day last fall, which was so successful that the third Friday of every month is now a walk to school day. Students meet at Woody’s Skate Park, talk about safety and healthy eating, and then walk to school together. The school also offers school assemblies on walking and biking, which serve as a venue for parents, teachers, students, Safe Routes to School, Safe Kids, Healthy Savannah, and other programs to have a dialogue about what the community can do to get more sidewalks built and make the neighborhood a safer and more enjoyable place to walk. Windsor Forest Elementary is an outstanding SRTS Partner.  

Metro Atlanta Region: Oakhurst Elementary (City Schools of Decatur)

Oakhurst Elementary students, staff, teachers, and parents have embraced the Safe Routes to School program as part of the core culture of the school. Over 60% of students regularly walk and bike to school—the highest percentage of any City of Decatur school—and they constantly strive to improve that number. The school sponsors a monthly Walk and Roll to School Day celebration, with fun themes and prizes to encourage participation, donations from local businesses, and bicycle bells for kids. Safety tips are included in the school’s weekly newsletter, and all 450 students learn basic bike safety at the annual Fall Health and Wellness Festival. With a strong School Leadership Team and the support of the City of Decatur Active Living, the Decatur Police Department, the Georgia SRTS Outreach Coordinator, and City of Decatur schools, Oakhurst is an enthusiastic and highly successful Partner in the SRTS program.

North Georgia Region: Mountain View Elementary (Cobb County)

Mountain View Elementary is a strong leader in health, wellness, and bicycle and pedestrian safety. The school hosts six Walk to School days each year, including Georgia Walk to School Day and International Walk to School Day, which are fun, well-attended events. It also hosts a wide variety of other events throughout the year, including Veggie Taste Tests, encouraging students to try new vegetables; weekly Wellness Wednesdays, supporting healthy snacks; bi-monthly Morning Milers, promoting group walking around the track before school; Dance with Dad & Move with Mom, encouraging families to get fit together; and more. Additionally, Mountain View initiated a pedometer program to promote walking amongst staff members, enabling teachers to serve as role models for the students.

Southwest Georgia Region: Webster County Elementary (Webster County)

Webster County Elementary has only been a Partner for a year, but it has quickly proven itself as an exceptional addition to the SRTS program. Students learned safe walking and bicycling habits, which they used during this year’s March Georgia Walk to School Day and May Bike to School Day. The staff’s zeal and willingness to go above and beyond with any type of data collection is invaluable to the program. Coach Batts is one of Webster County’s champions—he always participates in SRTS events and helps incorporate safety into gym activities. You can also always reach a person when you call the school rather than voicemail, which makes working with the school so easy and enjoyable.



2014 Outstanding Partners

Congratulations to the 2014 Winners! The five winning schools for 2014 are shown below.


East Central Territory

Hampton Elementary School

School District: Henry County

Hampton Elementary School has been an active Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Partner for several years. Students participate in wellness activities and fitness programs, including SRTS, to inspire them to lead healthy lives. Hampton has several students who walk, bike, or ride scooters to school daily. Police officers serve as Crossing Guards to ensure students arrive to school safely. To celebrate International Walk to School Day, the schools held an “outdoor café” as walkers arrived at the school and provided coffee, juice, and snacks to students and parents. For Georgia Walk to School Day students were greeted with hot cocoa on a chilly March morning.


Coastal Territory 

East Broad Street K-8 School

School District: Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

East Broad Street K-8 School is located in downtown Savannah – a historic, walkable, tree-lined community with more than a third of students walking to school on a regular basis. East Broad K-8 has demonstrated its commitment to supporting students as they walk to school and making it a safe and fun journey. The school participated in International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day in an effort to continue to promote awareness and safety among its students and staff. The school also coordinated with local safety advocates to provide pedestrian safety education to all grades. East Broad Street School’s administrators and staff coordinated with the Resource Center, City of Savannah, local law enforcement, and other partners to modify arrival and dismissal procedures to improve safety for pedestrians and further improve the school’s SRTS program.


Metro Atlanta Territory

Renfroe Middle School

School District: City Schools of Decatur

The School SRTS Team, led by Champion and Renfroe Middle parent, Tamara Jones, has done an outstanding job motivating children at Renfroe Middle School to walk and bicycle to school. In October, 55% of the students participated in International Walk to School Day.  More than one third of the students rode bicycles or walked on Georgia Walk to School Day, too. The principal not only supports the program, Mr. Thomas and other staff bike to school on the Walk and Roll Days. He even leads one of the many bike trains! With a strong, school-based SRTS Team and the support of the City of Decatur Active Living, City Schools of Decatur, and other partners, the school is an outstanding SRTS Partner.


North Georgia Territory

David C. Barrow Elementary School

School District: Athens-Clarke County Schools

On the first Friday of each month at David C. Barrow Elementary School, students walk and bike to school en masse. Two of the Guidance Counselors organize walking school buses from nearby neighborhoods to ensure students arrive safely. Barrow partners with the University of Georgia Athletic Association. Every month, several UGA student-athletes greet all students no matter how they arrived at school and remind them about Safe Routes to School and the importance of being safe. Barrow also holds Principal’s Coffee right after their Walk to School Day events, which provides a time for the principal and parents to interact and encourages parent support of this successful SRTS program.


Southwest Georgia Territory

Hand-in-Hand Primary School

School District: Thomas County

Hand-in-Hand Primary School may be a new Resource Center Partner, but they are outstanding in many ways. Hand-in-Hand students are on 'trikes' weekly, practicing helmet and safety rules. As part of their Georgia Walk to School Day, Hand-in-Hand took tips from the NHTSA Child Pedestrian Curriculum to help teach their students the basic safety rules of walking with traffic. The school sends safety education information home with students, and collected student travel data. Hand-in-Hand Primary School is an exciting new Partner steadily moving its way up the Safe Routes Partner levels.


2013 Outstanding Partners

Congratulations to the 2013 Winners! The six winning schools for 2013 are shown below.

School Name Region Partner Level
Peeples Elementary School Central Georgia Bronze
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School Coastal Georgia Gold
Clairemont Elementary School Metro Atlanta Gold
Arcado Elementary School Northeast Georgia Gold
Blue Ridge Elementary School Northwest Georgia Gold
J.D. Davis Elementary School South Georgia Gold


Central - Peeples Elementary School, Fayette County

Partner-level: Bronze

Peeples Elementary School is committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle through programs such as Safe Routes to School, Get Fit - Get Active Program, and Running Club. This bronze level partner began its SRTS program with a community outreach survey of school families to determine the level of interest and to solicit ideas and volunteerism. With the survey results in hand, a committee of parent volunteers planned, mapped, and promoted safe walking/biking routes while along existing cart path systems and pedestrian crossings. The school purchased and installed new bike racks at the school, just in time for its first Walk and Bike from School Day event in October 2012 (for International Walk to School Day).  The event was a huge success, with 30% of the school population participating. A spring event was just as successful.

Coastal - St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School, Private

Partner-level: Gold

St. Frances Cabrini School is a small Catholic pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school in Savannah. The school became a Resource Center partner in 2011 with the support of the Home and School Association. Though few students live nearby, the school has embraced Safe Routes strategies. In October 2012, the school hosted International Walk to School Day with a park and walk event. Over 100 students, parents and volunteers participated, assisted by volunteers from the local Safe Kids Coalition and cheered on by the mascot from Armstrong Atlantic State University.  All students have received bicycle and pedestrian safety education.  Students subsequently led walk and bicycle audits. The school's weekly bike train rides over two miles, and these students provide bike safety education to fellow students as part of May's Bike Month events. 

Metro Atlanta - Clairemont Elementary School, Decatur City

Partner-level: Gold

Clairemont Elementary School’s outstanding program is a result of strong partnership between parents, school, and community. The school has a vibrant SRTS program, due to years of development through their Walk and Roll to School Day program. This program was established by a resident of Decatur and volunteer walking school bus leader in 2008. In 2012-13, the ‘Clairemont Crew’ will have completed ten Walk and Roll to School Days, each with a distinctive theme to energize participants. One especially successful event was Walk, Roll, and Recycle, where children were encouraged to recycle litter found along their route. Participants in each Walk and Roll Day events receive marbles for display at the school entrance. "Bike Dude" and extra recess time for outstanding participation motivate students to Walk and Roll regularly. This Gold level partner school was also the recipient of the prestigious "Silver Slipper Award" from the SRTS Resource Center for the highest percentage of participation in a Georgia Walk-to-School Day competition among the seven Decatur City Schools.


Northeast - Arcado Elementary School, Gwinnett County

Partner-level: Gold

Arcado Elementary School joined the Resource Center in 2009 and continues to be a showcase school for Gwinnett County. Arcado participated in International Walk to School Day, Georgia Walk to School Day, and a Bike Rodeo this school year.  The school increased the number of daily walkers and Walking School Bus participants and used the Resource Center's frequent walker cards and incentive items to encourage participation. Bike and pedestrian safety is integrated into PE and health curriculum for all students. Through coordination with the Environmental Committee, Student Green Team, and Clean Air Schools, the school participated in Clean Commute Week.

Northwest - Blue Ridge Elementary School, Dalton City

Partner-level: Gold

Blue Ridge Elementary School has been a Partner of the Resource Center since 2010 and reached Gold-level during the 2012-2013 school year. The number of daily walkers increased to 200 after Dalton City Schools cut bus routes within a mile and a half of all schools in 2010. The school and community have embraced this change and made safety a priority by improving sidewalks and crosswalks near the school. Blue Ridge celebrated International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day this school year. Additionally, the School Counselor and Physical Education Teacher have received pedestrian safety training from the Resource Center and incorporate walking safety into the school's health and PE curriculum. The school also has a Wellness Design Team that works to design experiences for staff and students that encourage a healthy lifestyle including SRTS.    


South - J.D. Davis Elementary School, Muscogee County

Partner-level: Gold

J.D. Davis Elementary has been a Partner since 2010. School faculty, staff, parents, and community partners join together to support multiple events throughout the year including International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day. Students in 3rd-5th grades strive to become members of the school's Safety Patrol. These role model students practice and demonstrate safe pedestrian behavior while assisting students across the school parking lot to the crossing guard. All students receive pedestrian safety education each year and participate in pedometer based walking activities during Physical Education classes. SRTS is integrated into a variety of school goals including safety, combating childhood obesity, reducing pollution, promoting healthy habits, encouraging community involvement, and strengthening family ties.

2012 Outstanding Partners

Congratulations to the 2012 Winners! The six winning schools for 2012 are shown below.

School Name Region Partner Level
Jacob G. Smith Elementary School Coastal Georgia Gold
Cornelia Elementary School Northeast Georgia Gold
East Side Elementary School Northwest Georgia Gold
Kingsley Charter Elementary School Metro Atlanta Georgia Silver
Clubview Elementary School South Georgia Silver
Stockbridge Middle School Central Georgia Silver

Jacob G. Smith Elementary School has partnered with Safe Routes to school since 2009.  They have participated in walking school buses and bike trains at least twice a year since then, encouraging students and parents to walk and bike to school from home or from park and walk sites. Most recently, the school partnered with other local schools and community groups for National Bike to School Day. Over 100 students participated in the ride to school.  The number of students that regularly walks or bikes to school continues to increase. To better identify walking and biking needs around the school and community the school completed a walkability assessment. A new trail for both transportation and recreation benefits was constructed. To promote safe behavior, Jacob G. Smith uses speakers to talk with students about safety skills for walking and biking. They hosted a bike rodeo last spring with a neighboring school and partnered with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, the local bicycle advocacy organization, to provide helmets and education to students.

Cornelia Elementary School has been a Partner with the Georgia SRTS Resource Center since 2009. In its first year of partnership, the school applied and was awarded technical assistance to create a Safe Routes to School Travel Plan.  With the help of City staff and the Police Department, they have implemented many of their non-infrastructure strategies such as International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day events. For these events, students make banners and posters and carry them to school. Parents, teachers, police officers, City staff and other stakeholders regularly join in on the activities. The Town of Cornelia has also started implementing sidewalk and intersection projects to make the school zone more walkable. The strength of this program comes from the pride cooperation of the entire town.

East Side Elementary School became a Gold-level Resource Center Partner in 2010.  They have participated International Walk to School Day, Georgia Walk to School Day, and their own themed monthly walks.  In cooperation with Safe Kids Cobb, East Side held their first Bike Rodeo in spring 2011. In the fall 2011, East Side Elementary kicked-off its first Walking School Bus, with several students excited to start walking to school on a regular basis. Finally, to improve safety around the school and to reduce vehicular congestion overall, East Side Elementary School encourages parents who do not walk, have their children take the school bus.

Kingsley Charter Elementary School began its partnership with the Georgia SRTS Resource Center in 2009.  Joining the Resource Center Partners was an easy decision as Kingsley Charter Elementary School already had a Safe Routes to School program in progress. One of the most outstanding features of the Kingsley Charter culture is Captain Kingsley, a superhero who encourages students to get involved in school activities and practice a healthy lifestyle. As a result, over 90% of Kingsley Charter students routinely walk to school. Their example has inspired other neighboring schools to join the movement and now they participate in walking and biking events as well.

Clubview Elementary School has been a Safe Routes partner since 2009, rising to the Bronze Level.  This year they participated in both International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day.  They integrate Safe Routes messages and goals into their curriculum with students doing a semester-long project on how students around the world travel to school. The PE teacher started a walking club where students keep a log of how much they walk and earn prizes for walking. Recognizing the importance of engaging their community they have had Safe Kids Columbus present pedestrian safety seminars and the Columbus Police Department Bike Unit conduct bicycle safety assemblies. They were a host school for Safe Routes Pedestrian Education Workshop which enabled area schools to increase their participation in safety assemblies.

Stockbridge Middle School has been a Partner with the Georgia SRT Resource Center since 2010. As a relatively new Partner, Stockbridge Elementary School has done an impressive job with hitting the ground running.  The school lacks sidewalks within a mile of campus, but is committed to teaching the students and their families about how safe walking is part of an active lifestyle and how regular activity could help prevent such a disease. Stockbridge Middle School walks with all grade levels one day a month during connections classes, with about 675 students participating. The school participated in International Walk to School Day and Georgia Walk to School Day and hosts Walk and Talk lunches.  The school community looks forward to improving their walking and biking infrastructure and will have many students walk and bike to school in the future.

2011 Outstanding Partners

The six winning schools for 2011 are shown below.

School Name Region Partner Level
West Chatham Elementary School Coastal Georgia Gold
Timothy Road Elementary School Northeast Georgia Gold
Kincaid Elementary School Northwest Goergia Gold
Crabapple Crossing Elementary School Metro Atlanta Georgia Silver
Sylvester Road Elementary School South Georgia Silver
Cowan Road Elementary School Central Georgia Silver