Safe Routes to School Racial Equity Analysis

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Happy kid on bike with adult helpingThe Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is a citywide effort to end institutional racism and race-based disparities in City government. The Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) lays out a formal process and a set of questions to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies, initiatives, programs, and budget issues to address the impacts on racial equity.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a local, state, and national movement to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to and from school. The Seattle Department of Transportation uses a combination of strategies to achieve this goal:

  • Education: ensuring that everyone learns how to travel safely
  • Encouragement: promoting walking and biking in the school community
  • Engineering: building projects like new sidewalks, safer crosswalks, and improved streets for biking
  • Enforcement: partnering with the Seattle Police Department to enforce traffic safety laws
  • Evaluation: tracking progress toward our shared safety goals
  • Empowerment: providing resources to school champions

Racial Equity Vision

Our vision is for Seattle school children to start their days experiencing the benefits of walking and biking to school, including:

  • Having fun
  • Feeling safe
  • Strengthening connections to their communities,
  • Arriving to school in time for breakfast and ready to learn
  • Improved physical and mental health

To support Seattle's effort to end institutionalized racism and build a more equitable city, we are focused on students in these groups: communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant and refugee communities, individuals with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, the LGBTQ community, and girls.

Racial Equity Analysis Process

Safe Routes to School is committed to working with communities to better understand how we can improve the Safe Routes to School program to serve Seattle’s students of color in the best ways possible. We are taking an equity-driven approach to promote more active commuting among students because all children have the right to health, happiness, and academic success, regardless of race.

In 2015, the Safe Routes to School program launched Safe Streets, Healthy Schools and Communities: A Safe Routes to School 5-Year Action Plan for Seattle. This plan directs us to apply the RET to our program in 2017 to ensure that the Safe Routes to School program delivers services equitably.

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) RET process will:

  • Set racial equity outcomes for the SRTS program
    •  Involve stakeholders impacted by the SRTS program
    •  Analyze available data
    •  Identify root causes creating these racial inequities
  • Assess alignment of the SRTS program with racial equity outcomes
    •  Develop strategies to create greater racial equity
    •  Document unresolved issues
  • Identify evaluation metrics and reporting mechanisms
  • Share the RET document with Department Leadership, Change Team, and community members

Over the next year, our racial equity analysis will:

  • Fall 2017
    • Analyze data on how we have served communities in the past
  • Winter 2018
    • Involve people impacted by our program through conversations and surveys
  • Spring 2018
    • Develop new strategies and partnerships to reach our racial equity vision
    • Identify evaluation metrics to measure our progress toward this vision
  • Summer 2018
    • Report back to communities

We are partnering with the following schools based on their students’ racial, ethnic, and language diversity:

Wing Luke Elementary
West Seattle Elementary
Dearborn Park Elementary
Concord Elementary
Dunlap Elementary
Bailey Gatzert Elementary
Aki Kurose Middle School
Rainier Beach High School

We want to hear from you!

Be on the lookout during for our survey in the mail, online, and at schools and community organizations across Seattle.

kids crossing safely in a crosswalk