About Champion Schools
The U Got Brains Champion Schools Program is an opportunity for students and staff of New Jersey high schools to develop campaigns to address teen driving safety. Each school develops its own project based on a topic pertaining to teen driving safety. Participating schools receive a cash stipend and technical support to assist with their campaigns; and advisors receive professional development hours.
This program is presented by The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey. Funding is provided by The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety with support from founding sponsor, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company and platinum sponsor, The Allstate Foundation.
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How It Works
Get Started with Our Tools for Schools
To help you become a Champion School for safe teen driving, the following is a collection of content, tools, and resources. Looking for something else? Contact Us »
Promoting your project is vital to spreading the word about your campaign and increasing its impact. Review the Media Tip Sheet and use the Sample Press Release to send to local and state newspapers for an article about your project. Also, please remember that each participating student and faculty member must have a signed Photo and Video Release Form. Teams will be required to bring their signed release forms with them at the Awards Showcase.
In order to enhance the U Got Brains Champion Schools Program, we will implement an evaluation component developed by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Research Institute. Schools will be asked to participate in this online evaluation at the end of the program.
The Champion Schools Program has been evaluated by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute and has proved to not only increase awareness and education about safe driving, but most importantly, change driving behavior.
The following is a summary of the key findings from the fourth year of the program:
Summary of Findings
- As a result of the program, teens reported seeing their peers engaging in safer driving behaviors, felt greater social pressure from their friends to drive and ride safely (i.e., their perceptions of what they believe their friends wanted them to do), and they perceived a more positive driving safety culture at their school.
- Teens reported engaging in safer driving behaviors (e.g., Riding and Driving Focused) as a result of their school’s participation in the U Got Brain’s Champion Schools Program.
- Overall engagement with the program was strong; most schools had student teams that met at least five (5) or more times, according to advisors.
- When the school’s program “clicked,” students were engaged and had fun, and key stakeholders (school administration, community, students, and the advisors) found the experience to be very gratifying and successful.
Key Individual Report Findings:
Overall, advisors were very pleased with their advising experience and noted several strengths of the program including the overall impact (i.e., the extent to which awareness of teen driver safety increased in the school) and the importance of the message.
Student Team Members reported:
- Increasing awareness of teen driving safety at the school and community level
- Having fun learning about aspects of the GDL laws
- Doing a good deed and helping others
- Working together, helping students and community be better and safer drivers
- Receiving increased knowledge and positive feedback from other students and the community.
- Having a positive experience by participating in the program and that they exercise safer behaviors as a result
Changes in Students’ Driving/Passenger Behaviors
Students reported engaging in safer driving and riding behaviors. This effect was driven by positive changes in the peer culture around safe driving in their school.
Changes in Student’s Awareness of Teen Driving Safety
Students reported a stronger school culture related to safe driving.
As we move forward with this program to help reduce driving injuries and fatalities among teens in New Jersey, we will continue to work on improvements.
Raiders Ride Safe IV
Nutley High School is a fifth year Champion School located in Essex County. Their media class built upon the “Raiders Ride Safe” campaign and spread the word through traditional and social media, including creating a geofilter for Snapchat. Students created two videos, including a Mannequin Challenge to help get the message across, which was shared on local cable channels reaching almost 35,000 viewers. They worked with community partners, local government, police and EMS, business owners, college students and neighboring towns to ensure that everyone rides safe, not just Nutley.
Chalk It Up To Safety
Jackson Memorial High School is a fourth year Champion School, who came to our program after 12 student deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes in 8 years. We are happy to report that since they became a Champion School, there have been no fatal or serious crashes in 4 years. Their project, “Chalk it up to Safety” included extensive community involvement, including school wide presentations by law enforcement, trauma center, insurance companies and many local and national programs. They hosted Project Graduation and invited people who were personally touched by the losses to share their experience with the students. They created a PSA and spread their message through social and traditional media, including their local cable channel. Additionally, they delivered safe passenger presentations to local elementary and middle school students.
Choices Have Consequences
Pitman High School is a 2nd year Champion School located in Gloucester County. They wanted to build on their foundation of GDL awareness with their campaign, “Choices Have Consequences”. Students were encouraged to make positive choices and abide by the GDL laws. Their campaign included a “Day in a wheelchair” project where students spent the school day in a wheelchair and wrote about their experiences, PSA posters, and a community-wide “Every 15 Minutes” project that included the police, EMS and fire departments, the school administration, and local businesses. A drone was used to videotape the event and was posted on social media. They once again conducted observational surveys in their school parking lot and found that seatbelt use by students increased from 70% last year to 86% this year.
2016-2017 Participating Schools
- Academy of Allied Health & Science High School
- Atlantic Christian Academy
- Bergen County Academies
- Bogota Sr/Jr High School
- Bound Brook High School
- Bridgewater-Raritan High School
- Buena Regional High School
- Burlington City High School
- Butler High School
- Calais School, The
- Cedar Grove High School
- Cherry Hill East High School
- Clayton High School
- Collingswood High School
- Colonia High School
- Colts Neck High School
- Delaware Valley Regional High School
- Dunellen High School
- Egg Harbor Township High School
- Freehold Township High School
- Hackettstown High School
- Haddonfield Memorial High School
- Henry Hudson Regional School
- Howell High School
- Immaculate Conception High School
- Immaculate Heart Academy
- Indian Hills High School
- Jackson Memorial High School
- John F. Kennedy Memorial High School
- Kittatinny Regional High School
- Lawrence High School
- Lenape Regional High School District
- Lindenwold High School
- Lodi High School
- Manalapan High School
- Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science
- Marlboro High School
- Matawan Regional High School
- Middle Township High School
- Montclair High School
- Montgomery High School
- Moorestown High School
- North Brunswick Township High School
- North Plainfield High School
- Nottingham High School (Hamilton North)
- Nutley High School
- Oakcrest High School
- Ocean Township High School
- Orange High School
- Paul VI High School
- Penns Grove High School
- Pequannock High School
- Pitman High School
- Princeton High School
- Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School
- Red Bank Catholic High School
- Red Bank Regional High School
- Riverside High School
- Robbinsville High School
- Saint Joseph High School (Middlesex)
- Scotch Plains Fanwood High School
- Somerset Secondary Academy
- Summit High School
- Westwood Regional High School
- Woodbridge High School
Become A Champion Schools Sponsor
The U Got Brains Champions School Program would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. In addition to a grant provided by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, we have partnered with other organizations that share our commitment to keeping new drivers safe on the roadways.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for our 2017-2018 U Got Brains Champion Schools Program. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this innovative program.