Thousands of APS students regularly walk and bike to school with assistance from the 25+ Crossing Guards who make up the Arlington County Police Department Crossing Guard Unit. Most guards cover more than one school at both arrival and dismissal time each day. In addition to helping students who walk and bike, Arlington’s Crossing Guards also help ensure that school bus riders arrive at school safely.
Crossing Guards are vital to SRTS. They provide adult supervision of students walking to and from school and help to ensure student safety. Crossing guards also model proper pedestrian behaviors and encourage students to make use of crosswalks and signals. Thanks to Crossing Guards, walking to school can be one of the best parts of a student’s dayl.
Crossing Guards also do their job every school day, in all weather conditions. With shorter daylight hours, cold temperatures and sometimes treacherous conditions, February can be one of the toughest times on the job for Crossing Guards. Crossing Guard Appreciation Week is a way to remind them how much we appreciate and value their service every day.
Crossing Guard Appreciation Day/Week is a national Safe Routes to School celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the SRTS network. The annual event is held during the second week of February. APS honors our Crossing Guards by celebrating the one-day event over an entire week – Crossing Guard Appreciation Week. Scroll down for our other February celebration – Love the Bus Week!
Due to COVID-19 and ongoing school closures, the 2021 APS celebration will be different. In the past, APS SRTS has encouraged families to nominate guards for Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Award, handed out gifts like lunchboxes, sunglasses and water bottles, and asked individual schools, PTAs and students to show their appreciation any way they wanted during our week-long Crossing Guard Appreciation celebration.
This year, since APS schools haven’t reopened, our Crossing Guards are not yet back on the job. And with many school divisions across the state learning virtually, the Virginia SRTS Program has made the decision NOT to host the Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Awards this year. But we still appreciate our Crossing Guards!
Find a Way to Celebrate Crossing Guards in February 2021
APS encourages students, families, and schools to recognize these committed individuals throughout the month of February as part of APS SRTS Crossing Guard Appreciation 2021. Need ideas? Here are resources and tips for 2021 from Virginia SRTS. Scroll down for “evergreen” suggestions from APS SRTS.
How Can You Reach Your Crossing Guard(s)? Since you may not be seeing your Crossing Guard this February, feel free to forward your greetings (in words, pictures or video), or take a photo of your handmade card, drawing or note and send by e-mail to APS Safe Routes to School Coordinator at email@example.com.
Or to send directly to the Arlington County Police Department’s Crossing Guard Unit, here is the mailing address:
Public Safety Support Supervisor
Arlington County Police Department
1425 N. Courthouse Rd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Be sure to share your 2021 experience on Twitter using the hashtag #CGAD2021 and #crossingguardappreciation, tag the Arlington County Police Department, @ArlingtonVaPD and APS Safe Routes to School, @APSsaferoutes
Hopefully next February we can resume our traditional Crossing Guard Appreciation celebrations and bring back the Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Awards. When that time comes, or once students return to school this year, here are some “evergreen” suggestions for recognizing our Crossing Guards (see Virginia SRTS Resources for templates, signs, graphics, and more):
- Make thank you cards to give to your Crossing Guard on the way to or from school (find thank you card templates here)
- Write and sing songs or recite poems thanking your Crossing Guard for their help
- Bring your guard some cookies, donuts or other treats they can enjoy after their shift
- Write thank you notes from parents and school staff to deliver in person or send in with students. Principals may also write official letters of appreciation for students to deliver
- Check out ideas in the Virginia Safe Routes to School Crossing Guard Appreciation Learn It Do It Live It Guide
- Use these social media graphics to get the word out to your school community!
- Share your experience on Twitter using the hashtag #APSCrossingGuard, tag the Arlington County Police Department, @ArlingtonVaPD and APS Safe Routes to School, @APSsaferoutes
Love the Bus Week is a national event hosted by the American School Bus Council to express appreciation of school bus drivers. Like Crossing Guards, bus drivers report before sunrise and complete their last route after dark. Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP), APS’ partner in supporting APS Go!, understands the importance of riding buses. After all, riding the bus, just like biking, walking and carpooling, is a healthy, sustainable way for APS students to commute to/from school.
Find a Way to Celebrate Love the Bus Week in February 2021
- If your child is school-bus eligible, be sure to let them ride the bus when schools reopen!
- If your student is back on the school bus already, suggest they make a Valentine to give to their driver to celebrate Love the Bus in February.
- Whether or not your student is on the bus this February:
- Then to deliver your greetings, send any messages, photos and videos — or take a photo of your handmade work — and send by e-mail to APS Safe Routes to School Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send by USPS mail to:
Safe Routes to School Coordinator
APS Facilities & Operations
2770 South Taylor Street
Arlington, VA 22206
- Students K-12 can get an iRide SmarTrip card. The iRide card gives students discounted $1 rides on ART buses 24/7 (full-price fares apply on Metrobus and Metrorail). Riding the bus is just one way to encourage independence in teens.
- APS employees and parents can ride public buses (and other transit) to get to APS schools as well! Every APS school and site has at least one bus route that stops within a half-mile radius, making the bus convenient as well as environmentally friendly.
- Try one of several websites to help plan your trip on a public bus, including Google Maps, Car Free Near Me, CarFreeAtoZ, or Metro’s Trip Planner. Transit is a good app to download to your smart phone for trip planning on the spot. And be sure to check out the whole list of Transportation Choices on the APS Go! website.
- Share your experience on Twitter using the hashtag #APSBusLove and tag the APS Transportation Department, @APSSchoolBus, as well as Arlington Transportation Partners, @ATPCommutes
Taylor Crossing Guard Honored as One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2019-20
For the fourth consecutive year, an Arlington crossing guard has been named Most Outstanding Crossing Guard. The Virginia Dept. of Transportation selected Taylor Elementary’s Zeleke Taffesse from among 70 crossing guards and 300 nominations received throughout the state.
“Mr. Z,” as he is known, is a positive role model, who received over 30 nominations from the Taylor Elementary School community and also serves nearby Dorothy Hamm Middle School. Read more about Mr. Z and his fellow honorees here.
Thank you for joining APS in celebrating our Crossing Guards — in February and all year long!
**Help Arlington County Police @ArlingtonVaPD Hire More Crossing Guards!**
Jamestown Crossing Guard Honored as One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2018-19
Jamestown Elementary School Crossing Guard Kathy Patterson has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for 2018-19.
Nominated by multiple Jamestown families, Patterson is one of six Crossing Guards state-wide to receive the honor for 2018-19. VA SRTS received nearly 200 nominations for 72 different crossing guards throughout the Commonwealth this year.
The recognition is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual Safe Routes to School celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.
MEET KATHY: Check out this fun video, Chapter #6 of Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Stories, which introduces you to Kathy — and a few members of her Jamestown/APS fan club!
Kenmore Crossing Guard Almaz Abebe Named One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2017-18
Kenmore Middle School crossing guard Almaz Abebe has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for the 2017-18 school year. VA SRTS received over 150 nominations for 76 different crossing guards throughout the Commonwealth this year. Abebe is one of six crossing guards state-wide to be recognized as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding. The honor is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual VA SRTS celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.
Nominated by a Kenmore family, Abebe is the ever-vigilant crossing guard who is at her post on busy Carlin Springs Road before dawn and again at afternoon dismissal every school day, in all weather conditions. Known for her strength, awareness, and professionalism, she maintains firm control over the flow of buses, cars, construction vehicles, pedestrians, and occasional cyclists who travel through her intersection, remaining focused on ensuring student safety.
The family who nominated Abebe recalls how, “One day in early September, she saved an over-eager sixth grader from nearly being run over.” According to the student’s parent, “All of the traffic lights surrounding Kenmore were blinking yellow. The police department stationed a cruiser to stop traffic so that the crossing guard would be able to cross the children safely. My child, new to middle school and oblivious to her surroundings, stepped off the curb into oncoming traffic. Ms. Abebe physically lifted her out of the street and back onto the sidewalk. I saw the entire incident from two blocks away, and all I could think until Ms. Abebe got her back onto the sidewalk was ‘My child almost died on her first day walking to middle school.’ I am incredibly thankful.”
Abebe has been with the crossing guard unit since February 2015. She has been stationed at 3rd Street and S. Carlin Springs Road since she started. She also has a second crossing at Patrick Henry Elementary School. “We are very proud of Almaz for receiving this recognition,” said Kenmore Principal David McBride. “She makes students feel safe while crossing Carlin Springs Rd., and hers is the first smile they see as they come to school.”
Ashlawn Crossing Guard Ana Hernandez Recognized as One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2016-17
Ashlawn Elementary School crossing guard Ana Hernandez was recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program as Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards during Crossing Guard Appreciation Week 2017.
Hernandez, who was nominated by Ashlawn parents, is one of six crossing guards to receive the honor. Hernandez is the ever smiling crossing guard at Ashlawn who is present rain, snow, or shine. She is described by those who nominated her as cheerful and caring, always taking the time to explain to kids the importance of pedestrian safety. Hernandez is known to have a firm control over the flow of buses, cars, construction vehicles, bikers, and pedestrians who travel through her intersection, working patiently but firmly to ensure the safety of students. If you are being unsafe, you are sure to hear her whistle!
One parent who nominated Hernandez claimed that, “everyone is secretly glad when one has to wait by her side for traffic to pass because Ana brings instant sun into your life, no matter the actual weather.” The same parent went on to say that, “after 20 years of walking this route (between my own children attending and now as Ashlawn staff), I can say no other crossing guard comes close to the cheerful, skilled, and gracious Ana Hernandez!”
“Each school day, our crossing guards are out in the community creating a safe environment for children to walk and bike to school. Ana consistently goes above and beyond by teaching children the importance of pedestrian safety. Her dedication to the well being of students embodies the spirit of the crossing guard program and we are pleased she is receiving recognition for her tireless efforts” said Chief of Police Jay Farr.
Hernandez has been with the crossing guard unit since August 2014. She has been at Ashlawn at N. 8th St. and Manchester St. since she started. She also has a second crossing at Barrett Elementary School.
“Ana is amazing at what she does and how she interacts with our students and our community,” said Ashlawn Principal Judy Apostolico-Buck. “She is energetic and is always happy. I want to congratulate her on this honor.”
Hernandez was recognized by the Arlington County Police Department and the Ashlawn community on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, Wednesday, February 8, 2017.
Crossing Guard Appreciation Day is a statewide event sponsored by the Virginia Safe Routes to School program as a way of saying thank you to those who help students cross the street safely on their way to and from school every day.