Weekly roundup: Walk to School Day, the Ellis Island Experience, college readiness rates and more

Thousands of Orange County families laced up their tennis shoes and left their cars at home on Wednesday, which was recognized across the U.S. as Walk to School Day.

A group of students run toward their elementary schoolThe campaign has been around 20 years or so, encouraging students and their parents to get a few extra steps in and enjoy time with one another on the first Wednesday of October. It’s also used to promote safe routes to school.

In Santa Ana, scores of Freemont Elementary School students were joined on their morning walk by Officer McGruff the Crime Dog, mariachi musicians from Santa Ana High School and the aptly named “Cone Guys” from that city’s traffic engineering department, according to the Orange County Register, which packaged some fun photos.

In nearby Costa Mesa, more than 150 kids from Kaiser Elementary gathered at Lindbergh Park before making the half-mile trek to their school, according to coverage from the Daily Pilot. They were accompanied by Costa Mesa police officers, a gaggle of parents and a few family dogs.

Meanwhile, Twitter and other social media sites were buzzing with pictures and videos showing parades of students walking and biking to campuses throughout Orange County.

And here’s what else happened this week:

  • The percentage of high school juniors in Orange County considered ready for college-level math and English coursework edged up slightly, according to newly released standardized test scores.
  • Teachers, students and staff from Laguna Beach’s Top of the World Elementary School strolled down memory lane, sharing personal stories of the campus’ first 50 years.
  • Taking part in their school’s annual Ellis Island Experience, Edison High students played the part of weary immigrants being processed at a series of checkpoints, giving them a better understanding of the chaos and confusion experienced by newcomers circa 1908.
  • Governor Jerry Brown will decide the fate of a bill that would grant six weeks of paid maternity leave to nearly all teachers and staff in California’s public schools.
  • With the introduction of two-way instruction at Murdy Elementary in Garden Grove, Orange County now has two Vietnamese dual immersion programs, which, as KPCC Southern California Public Radio reports, are the only two in the state.

That’s it for now. For more education news stories, subscribe for updates from the OCDE Newsroom.