The San Francisco Unified School District is encouraging parents and students to get out of the car and walk, bike, use public transit or carpool in recognition of Walk & Roll to School Dat on Wednesday, Oct. 5. (Courtesy photo)

Walk & Roll to school on Oct. 5 with the SFUSD

Today, I’m not going to talk about schools.

Instead, I’ll talk about how our students and staff get there each day. More specifically, about how some of us walk to school.

Every morning, I walk to my office at the San Francisco Unified School District’s headquarters. I love having this time to reflect and plan about the day ahead of me.

Tomorrow, The City is celebrating all of those who make their way to school by walking or rolling — on foot, on bicycles or wheelchairs. More importantly, we use this day to encourage more students to get out of cars to get to school.

Last year, a record-breaking 95 schools with more than 14,000 students took part in Walk & Roll to School Day. Tomorrow morning, even more will participate.

More than just exercise

We know from research that children who walk or roll to school are healthier, and many of them get other benefits as well, including important bonding time with the family and friends who accompany them. Learning to navigate The City builds students’ self-confidence and skills.

It’s also a win-win for the environment: When our kids walk or roll to school, they boost their physical activity and reduce their carbon footprint.

Kicking off a healthy year

Walk & Roll to School Day is the kickoff event for our San Francisco Safe Routes to School Program. The goal is for San Francisco to be a healthy community where students and families safely walk, bike, take transit and carpool to and from school. The event is organized by Walk San Francisco, which works to improve our city’s streets and neighborhoods so our town is more livable. They want San Francisco to be more walkable and pedestrian-friendly by reclaiming our streets as safe, shared public spaces for everyone to enjoy. One example: They brought us all those 15 mph zones near our schools.

I know from my own walks to the office that we need to keep working toward a safer and more pleasant city for pedestrians.

See you on the sidewalks

I’ll be out at Dianne Feinstein Elementary tomorrow with Mayor Ed Lee. We’ll be joining Supervisor Katy Tang as we meet kids near the school, playing a game of “Mayor Says” and then walking together to school.

If your child’s school is taking part, join the fun and learn more tomorrow morning with your child. Kick off a healthy, lifelong habit by participating in Walk & Roll to School Day, then consider walking or rolling on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. For more information, visit sfsaferoutes.org/events/walktoschool.

Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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