Crescent Heights High School

As teacher Jonny Barrett looks at the jumble of tires, chains and handlebars nestled in a stairwell at Crescent Heights High School, he doesn’t see bikes.

He sees exciting and new learning opportunities for students.

His colleague, Jenna Seagrove, a Phys-Ed specialist, fundraised and spearheaded a collaboration with local charity Two Wheel View to get a bunch of bikes, stands, and tool kits; then, a group of staff honed their bike maintenance and repair skills by getting the used bikes refurbished and road ready.

It’s been a challenging year with Covid restrictions keeping kids out of the classrooms, so the bikes haven’t been used to their full potential. And they are still need some helmets and safety gear. Seagrove’s Physical Education classes used them to cycle a route around Prince’s Island and on the pathways around the school. They’ll also loan them to students to get to and from school.

But next year! They have big plans.

“We have an amazing science teacher here, who’s part of this bike project, and she’s created a course that meshes Outdoor Ed and Science, to make it more accessible and interesting for kids,” said Barrett, and they’ve been out on them. Science, outdoors and bikes go really well together. There are many curriculum connections with gears and physics and biology and the outdoors, for example.

Barrett teaches a specialized mental health class and, well, most folks would agree that health and nature go hand-in-hand. CHHS also has a LEAD program (Literacy, English, Academic Development). It’s a program for students who are attending school for the first time, but are high school age. Students are often refugees escaping strife and economic hardship. He can’t wait to expose them to the bikes. Many of them will have to learn to ride.

“It’s empowering. Kids can have freedom. They don’t have to rely on anyone else,” said Barrett. He’s excited about finding a way to create a culture for active transportation at the school. “We want to make it more accessible. We think once a few try it, things will start to roll. Especially with something as awesome as bikes.”

Barrett rides to school most days – he loves the freedom, fresh air and exercise.

“Starting your day on a bike is awesome! Why wouldn’t you do it if you can before getting inside a classroom for the day,”

What this bike crew have done at Crescent is what Youth En Route want to facilitate at every school. We want to help teachers get these kinds of experiences for every student.

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