Non-Car Drivers

This post is about pedestrians and bicycle riders, wheel-chair riders and skateboarders, scooter riders and other people in the community not driving cars. This post wants to state the obvious at first and go on from there. People not in cars who are out there navigating the community and it’s streets and intersections are just as valuable life forms as those in cars. They deserve the opportunity to not be killed or injured unnecessarily. (the obvious).

Walking and biking in the community occasionally or regularly gives a person a non-car driving experience and perspective. Like all experiences, there are upsides and downs. A T-chart- for the researcher folks out there in terms of pros and cons. One pro for sure is thanon-car drivers get a much more proximal and visceral experience of the community and it’s neighborhoods. You experience things up close and have more time to observe and sense things more difficult to perceive when conducting a large enclosed vehicle on the road. Among the many things to see and smell and even touch are the great variety and beauty of plant and animal life. 

You are also closer to and more easily sense the trash, blight, or decay that exists alongside the beauty. One thing for sure, it’s much easier to see how many people in cars are dangerously maneuvering their vehicles. They are in a rush and they seem empowered to use their vehicles in aggressive manners that (giving them credit) seems to ignore the very potentially lethal consequences of their driving. This observation is not an accusation but rather just an observation that offers the part time biker/walker moments of reflection on their own driving habits/experiences. It’s easy not to see or pay attention to non-car driving people out there crossing intersections. It’s at these intersections that non-car drivers learn the essential necessity to connect with car drivers through eye contact and other means in order to not get run over. 

The patterns of civil engineering coordinating and sequencing traffic lights is also much easier to discern or forcibly discerned when not driving cars. The rhythms of the city and roadways reveal themselves more easily to the pedestrian or bike rider. As does the conditions of the roads, sidewalks, railroad crossings, buildings and other elements of man’s suburban/urban engineering. 

We have designed our places for cars in many ways and often not that well for them. Down on the street, in direct contact or more proximal contact we’re more human or more fully human and we’re also much more vulnerable. Not only from the potentially lethal collisions with people driven cars but also from our sense of identity in these car dominated contexts. Me thinks that car driving people somehow think less of the pedestrians in many cases. The homeless are there too. Walking, sometimes biking, pushing carts, they are perceived as obstacles. The cars must go. Where to, I don’t know. To work? In a hurry? In a lethal hurry?

Repetition is a simple tool as is stating the obvious. Walkers, bicylers, other non-car driving people in their motility want to continue living. They deserve life. (the obvious).

Among the many pros on the T-chart is the general well being that physical activity provides the non car driver. For sure, there are aches and pains and other cons associated with non-car driving in terms of the body. The mind is also benefited by this non-car driving. Non-car driving gives us time to think/reflect and develop the inner voice. Car driving too might offer this, perhaps long car driving – commutes – but the local driving I often observe seems contextualized to make reflection quite difficult.

Well, the post is done I suppose. A reminder, non-car drivers are people. Love them, value them like you would a brand new car or truck driver. Maybe even consider affording them a little bit more. They might need it.     

 

Principal Profile – Adrienne Peralta, Ed.D.

Adrienne Peralta, Ed.D.

Principal

Rio Del Valle Middle School

4 Years as Rio Del Valle Principal

8 Years as Administrator

18 Years as Teacher

This is Dr. Peralta’s 4th school year as principal of Rio Del Valle. Previously she served as assistant principal at Rio Vista Middle School. Prior to her work in administration she served as a 6th-8th grade teacher of math, science, and ELD. 

Dr. Peralta earned her Bachelor’s at UCLA in Latin American Studies, Master’s in Elementary Education, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership both at California State University Northridge.  

Adrienne is deeply committed to family and community and to building ramps for all children and families to achieve academic success. Having worked in our community and schools for years, she has developed keen senses for what our schools and community need to develop and grow. Dr. Peralta combines her unique blend of systems thinking and relationship building with strong and persevering leadership and these efforts have yielded improvement and coherence in support of excellence in learning and teaching. 

Principal Peralta is a great example of “leader as learner.” She realizes that a professional grows when they learn and she continues to pursue and develop new knowledge that can support her work as both school manager and instructional leader. Adrienne combines mind and heart in pursuit of supporting teachers and children to find acceptance, growth, and excellence in all their pursuits.   

 We asked Dr. Peralta the three questions and her responses were as follow;

 

  • What do you think matters most to children when they attend school?

 

I believe that at the middle school level students want to feel safe, heard, and respected.  Middle school is the beginning of the transition from a child to an adolescent/young teen. They have incredible insight and a great deal of passion, all of which they want to share, but are unsure of how to do so.  This age is beautiful, yet challenging for them. As adults we need to create and nurture spaces for them to speak, share, and learn. Their world is fast paced and messages come at them from every direction – t.v, technology, music, friends, etc… It is incumbent on us to help them decipher these messages, and provide them opportunities to help them develop the skills they will need to thrive.

 

  • How has your leadership changed over time and experience?

 

Over the past 8 years my leadership has been impacted by the 

experiences I have had with our students, families, staff, and community.  I have a greater understanding of their needs, and of the responsibility we have as a team of educators to create a positive and nurturing environment.  Leadership is a word that defines how people work together. I want to be a leader in the sense that I will leverage my skills in such a way that they in turn leverage the skills of others.  I expect that as the world around me changes so will my leadership skills. In order to be an effective leader you must be willing to change with the tides.  

 

  • What has working in schools meant to you in terms of your own development as a person, mother, and citizen?

 

I cannot put into words the deep commitment I have for those that I serve – students, families, my colleagues.  My work has impacted every corner of who I am. As a teacher and administrator I have had a multitude of experiences, these have impacted how I see the world.  They have taught me to appreciate, love deeply, serve sincerely, and to work harder every day. It holds me to high standards, and it makes me expect more of myself.  I expect to always do better, I expect that we as a whole can always do better for one another. It has taught me to see things from another’s perspective, and to use this knowledge to find commonalities and spaces in which to work well with others.  This work is the best kind of work. The responsibility of this work is great, and sometimes the challenges even greater, but the satisfaction it provides is immeasurable. I cannot see myself outside of a school, it is who I am.