AUGUST 2007 NEWSLETTER
We at the Green Schools Initiative hope you have had a great, relaxing summer. We've been busy collecting tips, curricula, products, and school profiles to inspire you and make it easier to transform the health and sustainability of your school. With all the news this summer about toxic lead in children's toys, bibs, and lunchboxes, we hope people everywhere will scrutinize their purchases. Green Schools Initiative, together with the Green Purchasing Institute, are working in the next few months to publish an on-line Green Schools Buying Guide to help you and your school find healthy, sustainably-made products. Some tips for greening your back-to-school purchases are included in the article below. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and feedback. And go to our Donate Now page to support our efforts. We hope you will join us and take action this school year. Thank you for all you do!
ISSUE OF THE MONTH: SUSTAINABILITY CURRICULA
Do your students know what their “ecological footprint” is? Do you know how to teach them what it is? This month Green Schools Initiative focuses on the fourth pillar of our approach to school greening: “Teach, Learn, Engage!” (See our Green School Graphic to learn about the 4 pillars of a green school). We offer you ideas for curricula that will help mobilize students’ critical thinking and creativity for solving sustainability problems at school, at home, and around the world. Teachers: there is no need to reinvent the wheel! There are amazing resources that already exist to help you get started.
We highlight the excellent curricula and textbooks offered by Facing the Future, a nonprofit organization that brings global issues and sustainability education to middle and high schools. They have compiled some of the best activities and curriculum materials that we have seen, especially focusing on how to get students to take action! Facing the Future’s resources are in use in 49 states in the United States and 42 countries and are widely used across several subject areas.
Read the full article to learn more about Facing the Future’s FREE materials, award-winning website, and textbooks and other resources. We also include our own curricula, and links and resources to EPA's 10-month calendar of 1-hour activities and other sources, many for elementary students.
GREEN PROFILE: JOHN MUIR SCHOOL, BERKELEY, CA
Do your kids like to eat their vegetables? Children at John Muir Elementary School in Berkeley, California definitely do! In the past seven years, the school has built an amazing educational garden and has been rethinking school lunch, through the efforts of Berkeley Unified School District, Center for Ecoliteracy, Chez Panisse Foundation, and Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. Learn how the school is growing a garden of passionate learners and healthy eaters through integrating gardening throughout the curriculum AND the cafeteria. Profile includes information on how the program was funded and project partners.
NEWSFLASH 1: SANTA CRUZ CITY SCHOOLS PASS SWEEPING "GREEN" RESOLUTION, PILOT A NEW ENVIRONMENTAL CURRICULUM, AND LAUNCH A SOLAR PV PROGRAM
Santa Cruz City Schools District is seeing green all over! Building on earlier programs and now accelerating as a result broader support from newly-elected school board members, the district is making sweeping changes. In April 2007, the district passed a sweeping "Green Schools Resolution." The resolution establishes a Green Schools Committee comprised of parents, teachers, administrators, local community and government organizations, and students. The Committee is charged with recommending policies and programs to "reduce the district's environmental footprint" and integrate student participation into the initiatives, as well as submitting to the school board an annual report every Earth Day documenting progress. Green Schools Initiative provided some ideas and advice to the school board.
In addition to the Green Schools Resolution, the district is piloting an environmental education curriculum that will be integrated across all grades. The new curriculum is one of the outcomes of the Environmental Education Initiative the State of California adopted in 2003, and Santa Cruz is one of 19 districts testing the draft curriculum this year. Lastly, the district is poloting a solar photovoltaic project at Soquel High, as part of an effort to spread solar across the district in the coming years. The district plans to put out a bid to install solar on eight other campuses, testing the use of power-purchase agreements whereby independent companies invest in the solar panel installation and receive the rebates from PG&E and the school district purchases the power from the solar company instead of PG&E. There is potential to save the district millions of dollars over a 20 year period.
Read Santa Cruz Sentinel article about SC's solar efforts (Soquel High was chosen, not Santa Cruz High as cited in article)
NEWSFLASH 2: CALIFORNIA SCHOOL EMERGENCY REPAIR GRANT PROGRAM AND SCHOOL FACILITY INSPECTION TOOL
The State of California approved regulations for the new Emergency Repair Program (ERP) grant process, whereby eligible public schools can apply for grants to repair emergency problems that threaten the health and safety of students and staff. The state has set aside up to $800 million for this program and the funds are available on a first come, first served basis. The funds are for repairs, not improvements. In addition, the new regulations define a "good repair" standard for all schools in California. A new school Facility Inspection Tool (FIT) is now available for schools to use to assess and report whether facilities are in good repair.
List of schools eligible for Williams ERP funds (under "Beneficiaries of Williams")
ECOLOGICAL ARTS WORKSHOP - Teacher and artist Rebecca Burgess is hosting a workshop September 1-2, 2007 on "ecological arts" curriculum, hands-on projects that directly connectpre-K through 6th grade children to their
school garden, or simply the landscape where they play. Projects provide a deeper
understanding of the built environment, and bridge children to ideas of renewable
resources, the importance of native plants, and local economies.
Participants will leave with 4 model projects (a miniature adobe house with a woven willow wall, a piece of local wool felted in the ancient wet method, a piece of soy silk paper,
and a woven gathering bag made with local fiber, dyed in native plants). Handouts connecting the projects to state standards K-6, language arts, math and science also include instructions.
Location: Sustainable Fairfax Gardens. 141 Bolinas Rd. Fairfax, CA (Marin County)
Cost: $285 for teachers and educators $325 for individuals
Materials Included: Saturday Sept. 1st 10 am- 2pm, Sunday Sept. 2nd 10-1pm
For details: www.ecologicalarts.org/workshops.html 415-259-5849
GREEN TOOLS FOR HEALTHY SCHOOLS - Collaborative for High Performance Schools is hosting a conference and expo on September 27, 2007 in San Francisco. Come learn about the design, construction and operation of a new generation of healthy, efficient, green schools. It will be a jam-packed day of workshops, exhibits, speakers and awards. Go to www.chps.net to register.
CALIFORNIA GREEN SCHOOLS SUMMIT/STUDENT RECOGNITION PROGRAM - Join colleagues and experts from across California to discuss the strategies, technologies and services that will ensure that new and existing public schools are models of sustainability and provide healthy learning environments for students. December 4-6, 2007, Pasadena California. A key objective of the Summit is to encourage and recognize students’ dedication to greening their schools, communities, and the planet. The Student Project Recognition Program’s purpose is to recognize green-focused school projects that have been successfully implemented by students throughout California and to create a clearinghouse of projects that can be replicated by other schools/students. These projects could include student-run projects for grades 7-12, student-faculty collaborative projects and student-community projects across a range of energy, water, and waste topics. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2007. Contact: Veria Samaroo at email@example.com or 954-481-8960, www.green-technology.org/gcschools/index.html
WANTED: AIR QUALITY EDUCATION PROGRAM EXAMPLES - Do you know of place-based learning programs that monitor air quality? If so, Brian Johnson of Antioch University New England wants to hear from you. He is helping coordinate a 2-year project funded by the EPA on "Quantifying a Relationship Between Place-Based Learning and Environmental Quality," involving the National Park Service's Conservation Study Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, among others. If you are a teacher or administrator that has developed hands-on programs where students monitor and audit air (like EPA's Tools for Schools program) or other environmental attributes of land, water, toxics, at a school and use their data to advocate action, please check out the project information and contact Brian Johnson.