Wednesday, September 19 , 2018, 6:50 pm | Fair 69º

 
 
 
 

Lompoc District Awarded $411,000 to Expand Safe Routes to School Program

The Lompoc Unified School District announced this week that it had been awarded a $411,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation to expand its existing Safe Routes to School program and enhance safety for students traveling to and from the district’s campuses.

The grant ensures that the Safe Routes to School program will remain an important component of the district’s comprehensive efforts to improve academic achievement for all students.

Not only has the district invested heavily over the past year in strengthening its curriculum, technology and professional development initiatives to help boost student performance in core subjects like math and language arts, but district leaders have also placed a high priority on strengthening support programs that enhance students’ health and well-being, understanding that student success is determined by a number of factors, all of which need to be addressed collectively in order to impact student outcomes.

“To move Lompoc Unified forward and prepare our students for college and career success, we must take a holistic approach to improving our students’ academic experience,” Superintendent Trevor McDonald said. “Increasingly in education, that involves expanding our focus beyond classroom instruction and looking to address key areas of our students’ health and wellness that can impact their ability to perform at a high level in the classroom. If students are being bullied or are afraid for their safety, if they have not eaten a nutritious breakfast, or if they have unaddressed medical or dental issues, all the technology and curriculum enhancements in the world are not going to help them achieve their full academic potential.”

In 2013-14, his first academic school year as superintendent in Lompoc Unified, McDonald led successful efforts to launch anti-bullying initiatives known as the Stand Tall Program; the conflict resolution programs Art of Peace and Imagine; health and wellness partnerships with the Orfalea Foundation and Breakfast in the Classroom; and a community health collaborative with the El Camino Community Center.

The Safe Routes to School program, also launched last year, relies upon the support of parents, schools and community leaders to enable and encourage students to walk and bicycle to school by providing safe, accessible routes between neighborhoods and the district’s campuses. With the help of local, state and federal government funding, the district has helped implement a number of efforts to reduce and calm traffic around its campuses to enhance student safety while walking or bicycling to and from schools, helping to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age.

The latest grant from the California Department of Transportation represents an acknowledgement of the district’s successful implementation of the Safe Routes to School program and opens new opportunities to expand the program to only further enhance student safety and wellness.

“We have enjoyed so much external support for the innovative initiatives we have implemented here in Lompoc Unified, and are strengthened by our communities' buy-in to what we are starting to accomplish in our classrooms,” McDonald said. “We have already made tremendous progress across on a number of fronts, all aimed at boosting student performance and preparing them as best we can for success in college and in the increasingly competitive 21st-century economy.”

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