Miss Metro Makes Rail Safety Interesting

As METRO prepares to expand light rail on Houston's east side, it is also preparing area children for the construction and eventual running of trains in their neighborhoods. Rod Rice reports.
METRO hopes to begin construction of the line along Harrisburg in June. It has been using the months before work begins to teach students in eastside schools about rail safety. That's where Miss Metro comes in. "I am she. As the children call me 'she's the train lady'!"

She is Karen Franklin, owner of TVW Consulting. She was a teacher and an administrator and helped develop and teach the classes.

"Just understanding how children learn, you can develop any curriculum that's meaningful and exciting to children."

"How was this train powered? Children answer, "By Horses." "By a horse! Can you imagine that? Would you like to ride on a train being pulled by a horse? Children answer, "Yeah!" You would! I bet it was really very slow."

This was the first of three classes for some 4th graders at The Rusk School on Garrow.

"The three components of this program include train awareness, construction safety and rail safety."

METRO's Mike Martinez says each series of three classes is grade appropriate. Jane Ocanas says her 2nd graders have been fascinated by the whole concept of light rail.

"Some of my students, this is their first experience ever learning about this type of new transportation system, and so most of them are fascinated by speed and where is this going to take us, can we go to Mexico?"

Karen Franklin says students like the classes despite them being about safety.

"By most standards children aren't interested in that topic, but we've made it interesting and meaningful by having hands-on activities. We integrate with all the content area, math, science, social studies, including music and movement. I'm using teaching strategies that the children are already accustomed to in their classroom. My curriculum is aligned to the TEKS objectives and the TAKS objectives, so we are hoping to enhance student achievement and help the Houston ISD staff make sure their children excel in learning and I just happen to be doing that through the topic of safety."

The program is now at The Rusk School and has already been at Roosevelt and Peck elementary schools. It is planned for other schools near the eastside light rail line in the fall.
Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...