About Champion Schools

The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is proud to host the 14th Annual U Got Brains Champion Schools Program.  This program offers 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. The top three winning schools will each receive $10,000 for their school courtesy of NJM Insurance Group.  Participating schools receive a cash stipend and technical support to assist with their campaigns, and advisors receive professional development hours.

This year: We will celebrate the good work of the schools and announce the winners at the Annual Showcase, on May 23, 2024

Questions? Contact us or call 732-745-0200.

Apply Now

Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Winning Schools!

Click-Clack Front and Back

A five-year Champion Schools participant, Indian Hills High School continues advocating for increased seat belt compliance, focusing on rear seat usage. Collaborating with Senator Schepisi on the Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Rear) change, they supported Bills S2125/A433 through outreach to local communities and stakeholders. Their “Click-Clack Front and Back” motto emphasizes equal protection for all passengers, as highlighted in their advocacy video. Consulting the Oakland Police, they identified additional focus areas such as distracted driving, road safety, and bicycle/pedestrian safety for educational visits to local schools with Officer Albert and EZRide. Their campaign involved tabling events, guest speaker collaborations, press releases, educational outreach to elementary and middle school students, social media promotion, and a traffic safety fair.

Traffic Safety Youth & Advisory Board

West Orange High School has been a dedicated participant in the Champion Schools Program for seven years. This year, the four committees of the Traffic Safety Youth Advisory Board joined forces to promote road safety through multiple engaging initiatives. Highlights included creating a Traffic Safety Week at the high school and advocating for safer road legislation in Trenton, where their efforts contributed to the passage of a new law, Bill S2789. This law requires 16-21-year-olds with permits to log 50 driving hours, including 10 at night, starting February 2025. The school’s outreach efforts also extended to elementary schools, where students painted murals and gave presentations to educate children about traffic safety.

Just Drive: Red Bank Ready Campaign

For eleven years, Red Bank Catholic High School has been a committed participant in the Champion Schools Program. This year, they focused on parking lot safety, pedestrian crossing, and the Move Over Law. The students collaborated closely with the Red Bank Police Department, who provided valuable support, including placing a blinking light sign near the busy crosswalk in front of the school. Additionally, the students presented their campaign at a Borough Hall town meeting, gaining community support and involvement. Red Bank Catholic High School’s outreach efforts included educating elementary school students and engaging the school community through announcements, videos, and events like Red Bank Ready Day.

How It Works

Pick a driving safety topic

Choose a teen driving safety topic and use different tools to spread your message. Past campaigns have used text messaging, social media.

Submit an application

Submit an application with details about your campaign.

GET TO WORK

Work with your team and submit your Mid-Term Update by March 15, 2024.

SUBMIT WORK

Finish executing your campaign and submit a Final Update by May 1, 2024.

BE A WINNER

A panel of judges will review the campaigns. Winners will receive a cash prize for their school!

Watch this video to learn more about the Champion Schools Program!

This video was created by the Lenape Regional High School District.

Celebrating 13 Years of Champion Schools!

Our Champion Schools are making news!  Check out these videos to see highlights from some of our schools.

63

Schools

19

Counties

78,653

Students involved

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 »

Use the following links to learn more about the Champion Schools Program and your roles and responsibilities as a participating school.

Promoting your project is vital to spreading the word about your campaign and increasing its impact.  Review the Media Tip Sheet and use the Fillable 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.

Use the information in your campaigns and/or share these infographics on social media sites.

Teen Safe Driving Infographic

Distracted Driving Infographic

Cell Phone Risks

In order to enhance the U Got Brains Champion Schools Program, we’ve implemented 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.

Faculty Advisor Survey Report 2021-22

Student Survey Report 2021-22

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 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:

ADVISORS:

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.

TEAM MEMBERS/STUDENTS:

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.

Become A Champion Schools Sponsor

The U Got Brains Champion Schools 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 2022-2023 U Got Brains Champion Schools Program. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this innovative program.

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