How many students heard the message of your project?

Estimated percentage of your student body?

Who has your project aimed to reach?
Freshman class| Sophomore class| Junior class| Senior class| School professionals| Parents| Community at large

Clearly state the objective of your project. 

This year Immaculate Heart Academy continued to bring attention to safe driving issues by way of the DriveSmart@theHeart campaign. Through the efforts of the IHA Traffic Safety Squad (TSS), our main focus was to make our school community more aware of the GDL laws. Our goal was to educate students, faculty, parents, and the outside community about the restrictions placed on NJ permit and probationary drivers. Our club wanted to mix our traditional activities with new events.  We believe in order for this peer to peer program to work, the message must be present throughout the school year and not isolated at one event.

Describe your project and its implementation. 

Our biggest target audience was teen drivers and all who share the road with them. We also targeted parents of permit and probationary teen drivers. At IHA we agree with the research that proves when parents are aware of GDL restrictions and enforce them, the teen crash rate goes down.

School/Community Engagement: 
How did you reach your student body and the community? (examples: connecting with nearby colleges, schools, local police departments, persons affected by teen crashes, local/county/state governments, and local businesses) 

The TSS sponsored the following events this school year.

*Student driver & passenger seat belt checks in conjunction the HUMC Teen safety challenge sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

*Creation of a seat belt safety PSA video that was viewed on the IHA morning announcements.

*Weekly morning announcements about important driver safety issues.

*Buckle up posters were created and hung at school exits.

*Driver Ed classes took the Pledge to Nakhil

*Electronic distribution to parents of the NJ MVC Share the Keys pamphlet created by NJM.

*Driver Ed Classes completed the Parent Poll

*TSS Advertised in show programs for the IHA theater productions.

*A gift basket w/ traffic safety reminders for the athletic dept. fundraiser.

*Distribution of Red Decals to Permit & probationary drivers at IHA.

*Distribution of traffic safety pamphlets (AAA) at the IHA open houses.

*Distribution of traffic safety pamphlets (AAA) to every student in home room.

*Red Decals check. Cars w/ Decals received a congratulatory message & a Frosty coupon. Cars w/out decals were given a flyer that explained GDL restrictions.

*Sport teams & coaches participating in the Be A Winner Behind the Wheel program. The former Coaches Game Plan was revamped this year as the NJSIAA teamed up with NJ DHTS.

*GDL Santa made his annual appearance. Students who found GDL Santa & reported his message received a prize.

*During Spirit Rallies students in the stands received Driver Safety reminders.

*”What Do You Consider Lethal” presentation. (NJM)

*Junior Prom “SWAG BAGS” that contained safety reminders.

*Maintaining 4 active social media accounts.

*Creation & distributing of a flyer about GDL restrictions.(19 towns)

*Creation of a google shared drive where Champion Schools can place their original videos. Drive members can share another school’s creation with their students. This has been set up and is a work in progress.

What makes your project unique and engaging? How did you engage with other student groups to creatively spread your message? (Examples: create artwork, music, plays, unique campaign slogan/logos) 

Our creative slogan DriveSmart@theHeart is unique to IHA. Every year we build on our previous years project. At IHA safe driving isn’t encouraged at one event or during one month. TSS has activities all year long that has developed a culture of safe teen driving in our school. The TSS has created traditions about safe driving that the student body looks forward to every year. Examples are junior prom “swag bags,” Red Decal Frosty certificates, & GDL Santa. This was the third and strongest year that TSS worked with our sport teams to embrace the NJSIAA’s “Be a Winner Behind the Wheel” program. This year we began the frame work for the UGotBrains Video Shared Google Drive. We believe we are the first school to collaborate with other Champion Schools to develop a system where PSA videos can be shared.

Show how you worked as a team in designing and implementing your project (examples: sign-in sheets at meetings, photos of the group working on tasks). 

The IHA Traffic Safety Squad had approximately 60 members who participated in  events, tasks, or projects through out the year. The moderator sends members an email about an upcoming assignment. Members are sent to a google doc where they sign up to participate. Assignments varied and are explained in the School/Community Engagement block of this report and the report video. Sub-committees are sometimes formed for a small group to work on a specific aspect of our project.  Examples of subcommittees include social media, Swag Bag Committee, Yearbook liaisons, NJSIAA Game Plan committee, and the Google Video Drive Committee. Committees allow students to join forces and concentrate on one of the projects many activities.

Use of Research/Data: 
Show how you used local resources to help identify, deliver, assess, and present your project (Examples: local/statewide/national data.). 

*The TSS circulated to the school population printed resource pamphlets from AAA about safe driving issues and driving under the influence.

*TSS used statistics and information from several agencies and groups when posting on social media, creating posters, or presenting safety tips on IHA’s morning TV show. Many resources contain videos that were shown in Driver Ed class or on the Morning Announcement. The resources  included – BIANJ, NJM, AAA, State Farm Insurance, ATSEA, Children’s Safety Network, NHTSA, DHTS, and NJ MVC,

* TSS delivered a flyer to public places and businesses in about 20 New Jersey towns about the GDL restrictions. The flyer was adapted from the Champion Schools website tool box.

* TSS compiled their own data about seat belt and red decal usage in our school.

* TSS compiled data about parent’s knowledge about the GDL.

Use of Media: 
Document how you used media in your project (examples: local radio, TV, newspapers, social media, websites, video, PSAs). 

A committee of 10 members maintained the IHA TSS facebook, X,(twitter) instagram and tiktok accounts. Beside the information sent by BIANJ, the committee posted information about school safety events. Members also posted current local and national events that were related to safety teen driving. We found that social media, in particular instagram and tiktok, are platform that reached our population. In addition, PSA’s and safety video clips were used in both driver ed class and morning announcements

Evaluation and Impact: 
Describe how you measured the impact of your project (examples: pre/post observational studies, surveys, quizzes, interviews, etc.)   

* Students, Faculty, and Parents have expressed how the TSS activities have changed the way they drive or made them more aware of the GDL restrictions. Personal safe driving behavior has been discussed in health classes and by sport teams.

* The Parent Poll is one of our best indicator of change for Parents. Parents are polled twice about the GDL and issues related to teaching teens to drive. The Pre-Poll occurs at the beginning of Driver Ed. The post poll occurs at the end of the driver ed course. Over the years, the 2nd poll has consistently showed how much parents learned while there daughter was taking driver ed. It also indicates that there was conversation about safe driving between parent and teen driver. The Parent Poll statistics can be seen on the video and will be submitted to the judges as a separate document.

* Since 2002 IHA has kept statistics on seat belt usage. Numbers for seat belt usage grew from mid 80% to high 90% in the first 17 years. Last year seat belt overall usage dipped to 89%. This year the overall usage rate was 96% with increases being observed in all categories. (student drivers, front seat passengers and back seat passengers.) These stats match those that were recorded before the COVID epidemic. TSS worked hard to remind our community about seat belt usage and its importance as one of the GDL restrictions.

* TSS has checked for Red Decal usage the past several years. Usage has held steady in the low 20%. Even with all of the TSS efforts it is somewhat baffling why students and their parents fear that decal usage will make teen drivers a target.

How will your project have a lasting effect on your target group? 

Since no one stays the same age for ever, our main target group changes every year. That is why TSS is so vigilant. The new crop of drivers and their parents must be educated on the importance of safe driving behavior and the GDL.

Receiving printed material, stickers, wristbands, key chains, and canvas bags will be a constant reminder to the target group about the GDL restrictions. Since drivers remain members of our social media platforms after they graduate or their children graduate, they will continue to get reminders about safe driving for many years.

An email list of IHA TSS alumnae exists. The club contacts these graduates when we need support for one of our projects.

In addition, when students and adults see red decals they will be patient because they know a teen driver who is learning is in the vehicle.

By forming good habits in teens and having parents reinforce the GDL rules, new drivers will maintain positive driving habits for life. TSS is proud that they played a part in the statistic that shows teen crash rate has decreased in NJ.

Unexpected Lessons Learned:
Describe any unintended results that came out of your project. 

Every year it is amazing how the student body gets excited about the TSS traditional events and support the new activities.

The club members were very creative this year with creating & placing the GDL flyers in businesses and public places. This new activity was an idea that a student “brainstormed” during our initial zoom meeting with Kate O’Connor. It was fulfilling to see the idea develop into an activity that involved about half of our membership. This was more than any other single activity.

Sport teams and the coaching staff were a pleasant surprise this year.

Now in the 3rd year in our school, the NJSIAA program is something that both our coaches and athletes have really embraced. Teams are diligent with taking time to meet with a TSS member to discuss the GDL.

Stipend Reporting:
Your school received a stipend to support your Champion School Teen Driving Safety Project. Additionally, any funds that you raised as a result of your project must be reinvested into transportation safety. The purpose of this report is to itemize expenditures for your project that were paid from the stipend

Swag Bag & GDL Santa Prize bags materials $200
GDL Flyers $300
Gift cards for Prizes & Raffle Basket & Frosty Coupons $150
T-Shirts $300
The remainder will go towards bus transportation for 6Flags $50
Total $1,000