“We will have 100 percent participation again from our elementary schools (25 schools),” long-time Las Cruces Public Schools Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Coordinator Ashleigh Curry said about Las Cruces Public Schools’ 2022 International Walk to School Day.
LCPS is the only school district in New Mexico with total elementary school participation, Curry said.
She expects 2,500-3,000 participants during events that began Sept. 13 and will continue through Oct. 14, as students walk and bike to school, accompanied by school staff, parents and community members.
Here are upcoming IWSD events in Las Cruces, Mesilla, Doña Ana and White Sands Missile Range:
- Tuesday, Sept. 13: Doña Ana Elementary School
- Thursday, Sept. 15: Tombaugh Elementary School
- Tuesday, Sept. 20: 1) Alameda Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at the corner of Palmer and Miranda; 2) Highland Elementary School, meet at 7:20 a.m. at the southwest corner of Emerald and Jade;
- Wednesday, Sept. 21: 1) Sunrise/ César Chávez elementaries, meet at 7:15 a.m. at the corner of Leaping Lizard and Peachtree Hills Road; 2) Columbia Elementary School, events to be announced; 3) Jornada Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. in the State Farm Insurance parking lot off Elks Drive and Heather; 4) Mesilla Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Commemorative Park on Avenida de Mesilla; 5) Sonoma Elementary School, meet at 7:20 a.m. at White Sage Arc by the strip mall; 6) University Hills Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. in the Church of Christ parking lot at corner of Solano and Panlener;
- Thursday, Sept. 22: 1) Conlee Elementary School (this year’s highlight school), meet at 7:15 a.m. at 1505 La Fonda Drive; 2) Hermosa Heights Elementary, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Hadley and north Hermosa Street; 3) Mesilla Park Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Frank O’Brien Papen Community Center, 304 W. Bell Ave.;
- Friday, Sept. 23: 1) Booker T. Washington Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at El Cardon park at the corner of Spruce and north Mesquite Street; 2) Central Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Pioneer Women’s Park, 500 W. Las Cruces Ave.; 3) Fairacres Elementary School, meet at 8:30 a.m. at the school, 4501 W. Picacho Ave., and walk to Mesilla Valley Corn Maze; 4) Hillrise Elementary School, meet at 7:20 a.m. at Apostolic Tabernacle Church, 3001 Missouri Ave.; 5) Loma Heights Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Apodaca Park, 801 E. Madrid Ave.; 6) MacArthur Elementary School, meet at 7:30 a.m. at Valley Verde Park behind Save Mart, 495 N. Valley Drive; 7) Monte Vista Elementary School, meet at 7:20 a.m. at Metro Verde Park, 7125 Metro, Park Drive; 8) Valley View Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Valley View Park, corner of Colorado and Esperanza;
- Wednesday, Oct. 12: East Picacho Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at the southeast corner of Northwind and Westwind;
- Thursday, Oct. 13: Desert Hills Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at Sagecrest Park, 601 N. Roadrunner Parkway;
- Friday, Oct. 14: White Sands Elementary School, meet at 7:15 a.m. at the School Age Care Building 1316 and walk along Ripley.
SRTS began in 2006 at Hillrise Elementary School as a pilot program started by the Mesilla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization. Mesilla Elementary School signed on in 2008, with Ashleigh Curry joining Dawn Sanchez and others as parent volunteers for the program.
Curry became LCPS’ Safe Routes coordinator in 2010, and she has continued to grow the program for the past 12 years, making it today one of the most successful walk-and-bike-to-school programs in the United States.
“Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime,” Curry said. “Walking and biking programs increase safety by reducing traffic around schools as well as by teaching kids good pedestrian and bicycle safety skills. The sense of community also builds as children and parents develop walking and bicycling buddies and chat with neighbors on the sidewalk or path.”