Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Community service

Mass College of Arts and Design has a summer program in which students work with a local organization in the community to build a small project. This summer, Mass College of Art and Design partnered with the Haley School and Mass Audubon to create an outside classroom.

The Haley School is a pilot school that focuses on community and environment. It has a long working relationship with the Boston Nature Center. The Boston Nature Center has provided a "teacher naturalist" to the school since 2003. The "teacher naturalist" coaches teachers on how to connect the classroom to nature during and after school. Students have become excited about digging and finding “treasures” outside.

Outside teaching has become a hit at the Haley School, so much so that teachers and students started to advocate for an outside classroom to help support outside teaching. When Mass College of Art and Design learned about the request, it decided to help make that a reality.

The project was completed the first week of August and an official ribbon cutting will be held in the fall- stay tuned!

Mass College of Art and Design is always looking to partner with the community. If you are interested in learning more about its program and how you can be a partner send an email: Sam, sbatchelor@designlabarch.com

Monday, August 08, 2011

Boston leading and "greening" the way

Boston Public Schools and the Sacramento City Unified School District were selected from a pool of 30 applicants to be the first to host a US Green Building Council “green school fellow.” Boston was chosen in part due to its large size, urban location, diverse student population and proven leadership around green initiatives. One thing that stood out for Boston was its Energy Management Program, which tracks utility/energy usage for all BPS buildings dating back to 1988. In addition, Boston has a history of supporting cutting-edge building design standards. Boston was the first city in the nation to implement LEED™ green building requirements for both private and public projects .

Boston has been the city of many "firsts." In 1635 Boston Latin School was established as the first public secondary school. The first school for the blind, Perkins Institute was opened in 1829. The first public school for African-American children, the Abiel Smith School, was opened in 1835. When Boston decided to strengthen its mathematics, sciences, and language programs for the gifted, Congress followed by passing the National Defense Education Act in 1958. In 1963, when former Superintendent Ohrenberger learned of the disadvantages of inner city kids, many programs were formed, which were later emulated in 1965 by the passing of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Boston has a reputation for being the trendsetter. We are proud BPS will be among the first to host a USGBC Center for Green Schools Fellow.

So what exactly is a green fellow? The Boston Green Schools Fellowship is supported by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and their Center for Green Schools. The positions were made possible by a sponsorship from United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Over three years the Fellows will work with their school districts to design healthy, and energy efficient schools. The Fellows will collaborate with local leaders and community agencies to bring new environmental education and engagement opportunities into schools.

Phoebe Beierle, the Boston Fellow, will be working with the district over the next three years to bring environmental education to students as a way to close the achievement gap and foster engaged citizens, while making our schools more energy-efficient. Her goal will be to connect with students to enhance educational enrichment and link the classroom experience with greening our community. Some of the projects Phoebe will engage in are:

• Implement a comprehensive recycling and waste reduction program in all schools within 3yrs
• Train staff and teachers on energy and environmental topics
• Work with teachers and principals to incorporate sustainability curriculum into classrooms, afterschool programs, etc.
• Maximize energy efficiency opportunities

Phoebe says, “ This fellowship is a unique opportunity to work with the City and each department in the district to further our green initiatives, contribute to the City’s climate reduction goals, and provide unique learning opportunities for our children. We cannot afford to wait to green our schools. The opportunity is now and I’m thrilled to be working with BPS for the next three years to realize this transformation.”

If you are looking to learn more about the “green fellow” project or looking to help Phoebe achieve some of the goals then email her at: pbeierle@usgbc.org