About Champion Schools
The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is proud to host the 13th 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 June 8, 2023.
Questions? Contact us or call 732-745-0200.
One Unsafe Step is One Too Many
We are the Traffic Safety Youth Advisory Board (YAB) from West Orange High School. Our mission is to empower the youth to make a difference by providing an established channel for students to express their ideas and to develop recommendations for traffic safety projects. We aim to evaluate traffic safety issues, generate ideas for productive change, develop specific traffic safety improvement plans, and implement approved plans. We work closely with the Nikhil Badlani Foundation (NBF) and the West Orange Township, state legislators, and other partner organizations in advancing our goal of traffic safety.
Our goal for this year directly builds upon the preceding statement. This year, our focus was to promote pedestrian, bicyclists, bus safety & passenger safety and strengthen the GDL system as well as raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and distracted driving. Our objective is to not only raise traffic safety awareness within the community but also in the state of New Jersey.
The YAB consists of four committees: Marketing, Public Policy, Municipal, and Education. Each one of these committees tackles traffic safety issues in their respective areas.
The Public Policy Committee is responsible for advancing our mission through legislative action; primarily working with the New Jersey State Legislature to pass driver safety legislation.
The Municipal committee is responsible for working with local governments and authorities to improve road safety in our town, West Orange. They work closely with the West Orange Pedestrian Safety Advisory Board to achieve our goals.
The Education Committee is responsible for raising awareness among students and young children in our community. They typically create presentations about a selected traffic safety issue and present it to the target audience.
The Marketing Committee is responsible for raising awareness through social media and garnering public support for the activities of our other 3 committees.
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 places on NJ permit and probationary drivers. The TSS wanted to build on last years project of increasing the use of Red Decals by NJ GDL permit and probationary license drivers.
Heads Up, Eyes Forward
Lenape Regional High School District is an 12th year Champion School located in Burlington County. The objective of this year’s project is to sustain and further spread the Heads Up, Eyes Forward! safe driving message (started in 2011) and reach people beyond the state of New Jersey, with new and innovative methods.
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.