MassDOT Announces 2021 Safe Routes to School Awards, Including First-Ever Crossing Guards of The Year

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In full transparency, the following is a press release from MassDOT submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), through the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, conducted its annual Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Awards Ceremony virtually to recognize SRTS partner schools, community champions, and crossing guards in their efforts to allow and encourage students to safely walk, bike, and roll to school.

“The Safe Routes to School Program serves as a great resource for communities statewide to help facilitate pedestrian and bicycle safety,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler.  “Through one-on-one trainings with individual schools, annual flagship events, technical assistance and assessments and changes to infrastructure surrounding schools, the Safe Routes to School initiatives make it easier and safer for families to develop healthy habits and routines.”

The annual SRTS awards event honors schools, community collaborators, and individual stakeholders who help make Massachusetts a healthier, greener state by fostering strong SRTS initiatives in their local neighborhoods and communities.

This year, the SRTS Program also launched a Crossing Guard of the Year Award which received 173 nominations from across the Commonwealth. 

Five crossing guards were selected as top winners with specific awards announced during the ceremony. The awards are open to all partner schools, alliance partner representatives, and community stakeholders.

At the event, certificates for “Resiliency and Adaptability” were distributed to over 100 partner schools and honors were announced, including Exemplary Program Awards by region, the Community Collaboration Award, Crossing Guard of the Year Award, and the Nikki Tishler Memorial Award. 

The following schools, community partners, crossing guards, and individual stakeholders were recognized at this year’s awards ceremony:

Exemplary Programs by Region Winners:

  • Western Massachusetts: Edward P. Boland Elementary School, Springfield
  • Central Massachusetts: Florence Sawyer School, Bolton
  • Northeastern Massachusetts: Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School, Groveland
  • Southeastern Massachusetts: Teaticket Elementary School, Falmouth

Community Collaboration:

  • Bike to School, Concord

Crossing Guard of the Year:

  • Dave Leger, Leominster (Winner)
  • Jim Laramie, Marblehead (Honorable Mention)
  • Rosemary Chirillo, Hingham (Crossing Guard Champion)
  • Annette Dilley, Braintree (Crossing Guard Champion)
  • Kevin Shrayer, Beverly (Crossing Guard Champion)

Nikki Tishler Memorial Award:

  • Betsy Goodrich and Elecia Miller, Mayor’s Health Task Force, Lawrence

Sponsored by MassDOT and with funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the Massachusetts SRTS Program promotes safer routes for students to get to school through a focus on the six E’s—Education, Encouragement, Evaluation, Engagement, Engineering, and Equity.

The Program hosts annual flagship events such as Massachusetts Walk, Bike, and Roll to School Day, and offers pedestrian and bicycle training activities, walk and bike assessments, and arrival/dismissal observations at schools. Additionally, SRTS administers two grant-style programs, the Signs and Lines Program and the SRTS Infrastructure Project Funding Program. Project solicitations for both programs are expected to be announced this fall. SRTS works with schools and their local communities to help customize safety-focused activities, provide resources to help facilitate safe student travel, and offer one-on-one assistance for each school’s specific needs. By fostering partnerships between advocacy groups, municipal officials, law enforcement, education leaders, and public health departments, the Program currently serves over 930 public elementary and middle schools in over 240 communities across the Commonwealth.  

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