Carl Schneider, a third- through fifth-grade special education teacher at the school, told FOX13 he actually feels a little silly about all the attention.
“This is just part of my routine and it's something that I look forward to,” said Schneider. “I was kind of surprised but at the same time I'm also really glad that people know the teachers in this community are really invested in the community.”
It started as an effort three years ago to make sure the nearly 200 Whitney Achievement Elementary students make the mile and a half walk home safely.
“When we started to launch the school we recognized that there was a need in the community for children to be able to get home safely,” said Principal Debra Broughton.
But it’s turned into more.
Schneider told FOX13 it’s helped break the formal boundaries of teacher-and-student and build a more open relationship with the kids.
“I have a student on a behavior so every day I give his dad a copy of his behavior sheet and we have a quick debrief about the behavior of the day,” said Schneider. “I don't teach kindergarten but I have three to four kinderdartners who look for me every day and we all hold hands and walk together.”
Schneider has four other teachers helping him walk the 40 students home: Kevin Sullivan, Auriel Rolle-Polk, Allison Thompson and Valeria Bostick. All of them wave and shout “hello” as they walk past not only parents but also neighbors passing by.
“When you build healthy relationships with students, with parents, with partners in the community, that's how transformation really takes place,” said Broughton.