‘Tis the season to count our blessings – especially school drop off volunteers and Mrs Hansen

School drop off volunteers honored at thank you breakfast. From left to right David Alfonso, Katie Mangel, Amy Lepre, Boz, Principal Gina Hansen, Cecile Seth, Rebecca Coniglio, Heather Huber

School Drop off at Allen W. Roberts school has been running so smoothly, that a family catered a breakfast for our front circle volunteers!  Thank you again Youk Yung Kim, Steve Kim, and your 5th grader for such a wonderful thank you breakfast!

Benefits to parents and drivers

Our current school drop off routines were rolled out in Fall of 2015 and have had the following impacts:

1. Less waiting in traffic

When dropping off in the morning at Allen W. Roberts’s front circle, it could take 45 minutes, even on nice days.

2. Our kids have more instructional time

When we started our traffic counts, an average of 65 cars arrived in the drop off line after 8:30.  That’s when kids are suppose to be in their seats ready to learn.  Kids would continue to trickle in until almost 9 a.m.  Some families would arrive late on purpose to avoid traffic.  Now, drop off finishes at or near 8:30 a.m. even on the first day of school.

3. Drivers are calmer, courteous, respectful

Before, frustrated parent drivers were quick to anger. We had three drop off circles accessed from Jones Drive:

  • Front of the school accessed from Jones Drive.  Most Kindergarten through 4th graders used this.
  • North Court parking lot was accessed from Jones Drive through the teacher’s parking lot.  Near 5th and 6th grade classrooms.
  • Commerce Drive had minimal morning traffic.

A North Court car would “cut line” by an average of 10 cars relative to a Front Circle car when making the round trip from Hawthorne to Jones Drive and back.  To make it worse, the North Court traffic would sometimes gridlock the Front Circle.

Mrs. Hansen summed it up.  “Who would have thought that eliminating a drop off would improve things by so much!”

4. Pedestrians and bikers are much safer

The biggest improvement is for those using the Jones Drive sidewalk.  We feared that mini-vans jockeying for position would not see a child darting across the North Court crosswalk.

5.  We’re encouraging a walking and biking culture

New Providence Safety Officer helps school drop off volunteers

New Providence’s Safety Officer, Joe DiParisi

Since more kids are walking and biking, we see younger kids walking on their own. Their parents know so many others will be out, especially on a Walk and Roll Wednesday.

6.  Drivers follow well-established drop-off etiquette

  • Pull all the way forward, follow the flow and unlock your door as soon as you stop.
  • Double check that your kids are on the sidewalk side.
  • If someone else will be driving your kids, then please encourage them to review drop off and pick up procedures:  AWR and our other schools.

Benefits came from improving efficiency

No construction, new regulations, or cost to the taxpayer.

School Drop Off volunteers touted the benefits.

  • “We have a dedicated group of front circle volunteers large enough to make it easy to be flexible and consistent.  With 5 or 6 volunteers, if one of us has a sick kid or an issue we just text.”
  • “When you are out in town, kids remember you and thank us.  It is a great way to get to know the kids and their families.”
  • “Most people are so gracious and grateful”
  • Only takes 15 minutes each morning from 8:15 to 8:30
  • Great exercise
  • Starts my day out right.
  • Want to join AWR’s  front circle team?  Just contact awrsafety@gmail.com or a circle volunteer.

What about Salt Brook?

We hear an elf has been working Salt Brook’s front circle for 7 years now, but this is her last year.  In fact, New Providence’s Safe Routes to School Program started at Salt Brook almost a decade ago, with great support from Mrs. Drexinger.  Everything is easier with enough volunteers and enthusiastic support from the rest of the community.

Interested in helping?  Then speak with your elf, saltbrookpta@gmail.com, or contact us.

And remember to thank your local elves!  We all play a part in our wonderful village.




Cecile Seth

Trying to make our world better. Mom to 3. Recovering Management Consultant. MBA. STEMshoots.com Founder.

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