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, in May, 2024
Questions? Contact us or call 732-745-0200.
BHS Safe Drivers Club
Bergenfield High School is a first-year Champion School that developed a pedestrian safety campaign to educate its student body about the importance of the pedestrian push button while crossing the street safely. Their goal was to get the pedestrian signal changed in front of their school because five students got into crashes at that intersection since 2017. They held an assembly on pedestrian safety, made aluminum signs, involved the DPW, and displayed safety signs in their five elementary schools. These metal signs will remain in their town for years reminding drivers to be safe. Bergenfield High School also worked with their mayor and police to get approval for the signage. Lastly, these students created a music video with their chorus group and dance team to run on the morning announcements to discuss pedestrian safety to the Bee Gee’s song Stayin’ Alive.
Delaware Valley Regional High School has been involved with the Champion Schools Program for eight years, focusing on spreading awareness of issues regarding distracted driving. Delaware Valley Regional High School created a PSA video for the NJM PSA Video Contest as the focal point of their Champion Schools Program project. Their PSA, called “Get There Alive, Just Drive,” focused on NJ GDL Laws. The students added a QR code with the link to their PSA to help track the number of viewers. To date, they have over 480 views! In addition, they ordered car air fresheners with their slogan and logo to hand out to their school and community, including carwashes, to help spread their safety messaging further. Their campaign was displayed in their school’s newspaper, the Facebook pages of Prevention Resources as well as eight other community pages throughout their county and neighboring county.
Traffic Safety Youth & Advisory Board
West Orange High School has been with the Champion Schools Program for six years, continuing their same focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety, GDL awareness, and addressing the dangers of speeding and distracted driving. This year, the four committees of the Traffic Safety Youth Advisory Board worked together to create a Traffic Safety Festival.
The day involved bike lessons and bike safety skills for elementary school children, educating the residents about the recently passed Safe Passing Law, creating a mural, a Vision Zero workshop, two bike giveaways and helmet giveaways. The Interact club volunteers helped with face painting and Benji’s Food Truck provided the food. The Pedestrian Safety Murals created by the attendees will be permanently displayed at the Washington Elementary School or the children’s section in the West Orange Public Library.
Missed the showcase? Watch the replay here to see all of our Champion Schools highlights and the prize winners revealed!
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.