On April 24, 2006, forty-two physical education teachers from Houston ISD attended a six-hour Texas SuperCyclist Curriculum training geared toward teaching fourth and fifth grade elementary students bicycle safety. To date, Texas Bicycle Coalition has provided the free bicycle safety curriculum training to more than 2,800 teachers across the state.
With great enthusiasm, the Houston ISD teachers participated in the training that was scheduled in response to the tragic deaths of two Houston-area schoolchildren in bicycle-automobile crashes in 2005. With the implementation of the Texas SuperCyclist education materials in classrooms by Houston ISD teachers, tragedies like these may be avoided in the future.
At the beginning of the day, teachers were greeted with a continental breakfast and welcomed by Texas Bicycle Coalition staff members, field instructors and volunteers. Staff directed the teachers to split into three groups and proceeded to instruct them in the Texas SuperCyclist Curriculum, a teaching guide to help them in turn teach their students how to ride and walk safely.
Field instructors Joel Bloom, PhD, Regina Garcia, Laura King, Rhonda Lore and Audrey Warren did a fantastic job teaching the classes during this exciting day. Donny Sanders and Twilight Freedman observed the training to learn the new curriculum and educational activities so that they can lead future trainings.
Part of the day included an outdoor portion of the training where the PE teachers were instructed how to build two courses in which students can practice safe cycling. The teachers were taught safe hand signaling for turns and stops and learned to avoid obstacles that could cause crashes. Many of the teachers brought bicycles and rode the courses first hand. The teachers had fun negotiating the courses while four different local news crews came to film the event and Houston teachers and Coalition staff gave several interviews.
Community involvement was a key element to this very successful training. Texas Bicycle Coalition is very thankful for the support from Houston Trek dealers, Acme Bicycles and Bike Barn. It is rare that the Coalition is able to provide prizes for every participant at a training event; thank you Acme Bicycles and Bike Barn for the bike bells, water bottles and gift certificates. Congratulations to Houston teacher Rodney Hogans, the grand prize winner of the Trek 7200 bicycle.
Special thanks to Houston ISD’s PE Coordinator Rose Haggerty for playing a key role in make the training happen. Thanks also to Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator Lilibeth Andre from the City of Houston’s Bikeway Program for bringing Houston cycling information and observing the training. The Coalition appreciates the attendance of other special guests including Muriel Jackson, school liaison for Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services; Al Russell, representative for District A; and Scott Newsom and Tom Compson from BikeHouston.