Monday, June 11, 2012

Centreville High School bike program

Centreville HS bike program kids
Christina Saindon is a physical education teacher at Centreville High School. A few years ago her school received a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education to buy bicycles for use in PE classes. I met Christina at the Bike Safety Education meeting that was part of the Bicycle Master Plan process. I was intrigued by her bike program and she agreed to answer some questions. She also sent these photos.

What grades can participate?
I teach 9th grade although I will take some students from other classes in 10th grade on occasion.

How many students participate?
We have 35 students per class and I teach 4 sections each year. Although if I can get a full class set of bikes for next year I want to try to teach twice that amount.

Are students required to participate or is the class an elective?
It is required for my students. However, they and their parents sign an agreement to participate. If a student really doesn’t want to ride I have them help in some other way.

How many bikes do you have?
We have about 22 bikes. Although I am looking to acquire more and sometimes students bring their own in from home.

Do you provide helmets?
Absolutely! We require all students to wear them at all times. Students also have the option to use their own.

Learning hand signals
What curriculum do you use?
I use the Bike Safety Curriculum from Oregon. It’s a few years old and geared towards middle school students, so I am looking for newer material. This is only my second year teaching biking.

What's the name of the teacher who taught you to teach the class?
Misty Boyd, Physical Education Department Chair at TC Williams (She is a BikeSmart instructor).

Do you ride off school grounds?
The first few days we practice drills on campus. Then we ride around Braddock Park and eventually Braddock and Union Mill Road trails.

Have you ever heard of the prohibition against bike riding in FCPS schools?
No I haven’t. Special Education students bike all the time. So far I have had no injuries of any sort. Many schools throughout the United States teach biking. As long as they are taught the proper guidelines and take it seriously – it’s very safe. I can see the concern however with going out on the road with such a large group.

Do you think that students who go through your class are better drivers when they get their license?
I doubt they are better drivers. However, it does give them an advantage going into driver’s ed classes. It also helps them respect bicyclists on the road better.

Thanks to Christina for agreeing to answer my questions about the program. I hope she's able to get a full contingent of bikes for next year.

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