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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Columbia High School, located in Essex County, is a fourth year Champion School and one of the winners for the Civic Eye collaborative filming of their PSA for pedestrian safety. Columbia High School’s campaign “Mellow Yellow” encourages teens as well as adults to slow down at yellow lights. They created a cohesive strategy to raise awareness in their school, community, and online community. The campaign includes an Instagram video announcing the campaign, distribution of Mellow Yellow t-shirts, stickers, and car magnets. They organized a yellow day at school where students competed to wear the most yellow and the winner received a Mellow Yellow t-shirt. Students also signed a pledge to slow down for yellow lights to receive the stickers. They worked with students, law enforcement and the community to create a PSA around this topic and all Mellow Yellow events are advertised on the school’s morning news show, Columbia Cougar News. They also publicized their campaign through online media, their social media accounts and on the public access channels. They are so proud that their PSA will be in local movie theater to play before movies.
25 Saves Lives
Burlington City High School is a 6th year Champion School located in Burlington County. Their goal was to work as a school and a community for the speed limit to be changed to 25 MPH at ALL times on the part of Route 130 that runs in front of their school. Their project, “Power Down, Buckle Up-Alive at 25” continued the work from previous campaigns and the bill that they worked on with their local legislator and testified to in Trenton was signed into law this year by the Governor. They were also one of the schools that was selected to work with Civic Eye Collaborative to create a professional PSA about pedestrian safety. The students from Burlington City High School learned important lessons about the value of advocating for what you believe in and working hard to attain your goals. Their win is dedicated to the memory of Antwan Timbers, their friend and classmate who was killed while crossing Rt. 130 in 2016.
One Unsafe Step is Too Many
West Orange High School is a two year Champion School, located in Essex County. Their campaign “One Unsafe Step is One too Many” was created by the newly formed Nikhil Badlani Foundation Youth Advisory Board to stress the importance of making smart and safe decisions to pedestrians and drivers in their community. They approached the campaign in a comprehensive manner with the objective to promote traffic safety to all levels, reaching out to the middle school, high school and the whole community. The goal in the middle school was to address both pedestrian and bus safety in which students took the Pedestrian Safety Pledge. At the high school level, they advocated for traffic safety by setting up a stand for safe-driving week and arranged interactives which the students participated in. They also focused on the community as a whole in which the campaign’s participants took part in many meetings and events throughout the town spreading their message “One Unsafe Step is One too Many”. The youth advisory board worked as a team to partner with various organizations to implement their project. These organizations include but are not limited to the West Orange Pedestrian Safety Advisory Board, Assemblyman McKeon, and the West Orange BOE. Accomplishments include adding a left turn signal on a busy intersection in their community and creating the “STOP for Nikhil Safety Pledge” mural, which is a visual reminder every day of the effects of their actions.
How It Works
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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.
Congratulations to our 2018-2019 Participating Schools
- Atlantic Christian School
- Bogota High School
- Bound Brook High School
- Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District
- Buena Regional High School
- Burlington City High School
- Cedar Grove High School
- Cherry Hill East
- Clayton High School
- Clearview Regional High School
- Collingswood High School
- Colonia High School
- Colts Neck High School
- Columbia High Schhol
- Cumberland County Technical Education Center
- Delaware Valley Regional High School
- Dunellen High School
- Egg Harbor Township High School
- Fort Lee High School
- Freehold Township High School
- Hammonton High School
- Hampton Academy
- Henry Hudson Regional School
- Howell High School
- Immaculate Heart Academy
- Jackson Liberty High School
- John P. Stevens High School
- Kittatinny Regional High School
- Lawrence High School
- Lenape Regional High School District
- Lindenwold High School
- Lodi High School
- Manalapan High School
- Marlboro High School
- Manchester Township Regional Day School
- Matawan Regional High School
- MATES Academy
- Middle Township High School
- Moorestown High School
- North Brunswick High School
- Nottingham High School
- Nutley High School
- Oakcrest High School
- Ocean Township High School
- Orange High School
- Overbrook High School
- Paul VI High School
- Pequannock High School
- Pitman High School
- Princeton High School
- Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School
- Red Bank Catholic
- Red Bank Regional High School
- Ridgewood High School
- Riverside High School
- Robbinsville High School
- Saint Joseph High School
- Scotch Plains – Fanwood High School
- Somerville High School
- Shepard Preparatory High School
- The Calais School
- Westwood High School
- West Orange 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.