FOR MARCH 22, 2018
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Atlanta Public Schools
offer “Shifting Gears,” first-of-its-kind Atlanta bicycle education program in four elementary schools
-- Local nonprofit partners include Bearings Bike Shop and Free Bikes 4 Kidz
(ATLANTA)--The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) is partnering with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to create Shifting Gears, a program to embed bicycle safety into the Physical Education (P.E.). curriculum at four of the district’s elementary schools. The organizations will work with local nonprofits, and enthusiastic teachers, principals, and parents to teach kids to bike safely and confidently.
Schools participating in the pilot year of Shifting Gears include Benteen, Thomasville Heights, Kindezi Gideons, and Dunbar Elementary. Schools will focus on training second-grade P.E. teachers. Shifting Gears is supported by the APS Office of Partnerships and Development and APS P.E. Coordinator Daryl Rice. APS was recently awarded the ABC “Blinkie” Award for Bike-Friendly Agency of the Year.
“It was once the norm for children to bike around their neighborhoods and to school,” said Stephen Spring, Education Coordinator at ABC. “Biking represented increased independence for growing kids, while providing physical activity and access to social networks. Today, many children miss out on the iconic experience of learning to ride, due to safety concerns or because they don’t have a bike.”
To address that barrier, Shifting Gears will provide bicycle safety training and access to bikes for second-graders. By instilling an awareness of bicycling and traffic safety at a formative age, children’s health outcomes can be improved, creating a lifetime love of being active.
The seven-class pilot is the first of its kind in the city of Atlanta, modeled after a successful program embedded in all Washington, D.C. public schools. ABC’s goal is to expand the program to one day reach every second-grader in APS. The curriculum is aligned with national and state P.E. standards.
Spring, who is spearheading the Shifting Gears initiative for ABC, has been working closely with teachers providing professional development and on-site support. Spring has worked in public schools in many capacities for over two decades and has been car-free for 31 years.
Shifting Gears Showcase at Benteen Elementary School March 22, 2018
On March 22, from 1:15-2 p.m., Benteen Elementary P.E. Teacher Nicole Hayden will highlight Benteen second-grade students' progress in the Shifting Gears program, as the students near the end of their seven-lesson unit.
About The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has been providing bicycle safety education alongside advocacy for a safe, bikeable Atlanta for 26 years. For more information about the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s work or to sign up for an adult class, visit www.atlantabike.org or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @atlantabike.
About Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 89 schools and programs. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us , follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPublicSchools/ and @apsupdate on Instagram and Twitter.
About Bearings Bike Shop
Bearings Bike Shop is a local nonprofit youth development organization that teaches life skills through earn-a-bike and technical training programs. Bearings is providing material support to the Shifting Gears program as well as teaching bike maintenance classes to accompany the safety curriculum.
About Free Bikes 4 Kidz
Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. Free Bikes 4 Kidz is providing bicycles to the Shifting Gears program.