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Smart School Siting

How school locations can make students healthier

Model Legal Document
Child Care & Schools
Healthy Neighborhoods

Forty years ago, almost half of all students walked or biked to school. Now, only 14% of children do.

Why this change? The biggest reason is because today’s schools are located too far from children’s homes for walking or biking to be practical. In recent decades, schools have increasingly been built on the outskirts of communities, too far from children’s homes for walking or biking to be practical. Meanwhile, obesity rates in children and adolescents have more than tripled, and a third of children are overweight or obese.

But school locations can help make students healthier. When schools are located near where children live, kids can walk and bicycle to school, as well as use school playgrounds and facilities for physical activity outside of school hours.

ChangeLab Solutions developed a package of school siting policies for school districts that want to ensure that their school siting decisions support the educational success, physical health, and overall well-being of students and their community.

PLEASE NOTE: The Model School Siting Policies for School Districts were updated in January 2015 to reflect recent Supreme Court decisions that affect how race and ethnicity may be considered in the school siting process. Any Supreme Court decisions subsequent to January 2015 are not reflected in the model policies.