As centers of community, our nation's schools are the building blocks of communities and the keystone of our future. Please refer to the resources listed below for a wealth of information at your fingertips.
American Architectural Foundation
Great Schools by Design is a national initiative of the American Architectural Foundation that seeks to improve the quality of America's schools and the communities they serve by promoting collaboration, excellence and innovation in school design. Experience and research demonstrates that implementing good design principles in schools leads to dramatic, positive results in academic achievement and quality of life.
American Institute of Architects/Committee for Architecture in Education
The Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is a large and active group of architects and allied professionals concerned with the quality and design of all types of educational, cultural, and recreational facilities. There are certain basic school design principles that should be considered in any community:
School design should enhance teaching and learning for all
Schools should serve as centers of community.
Community engagement should be a part of the process.
Health, safety, and security must be provided for.
School facilities should be shared with other populations when appropriate.
Design flexibility should be considered.
Healthy Schools Network
Children are more vulnerable to environmental hazards than adults, including hazards typically encountered in schools that affect adult health and safety. Children eat, drink and breathe more per pound of body weight than adults; they have developing organ systems; they have different behaviors that may increase their risks of exposures such as hand-to-mouth behavior; and, they cannot identify hazards. Moreover, children outnumber adults by ten to one in schools.
Children's Environmental Health Network
National Association of REALTORS®
REALTORS® know that the healthier their community is, the better the environment is for their business. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well in addition to coping with growth and change can be complex tasks. But who better to be stewards of their community and leaders in shaping their community's future than the folks who know their community best: REALTORS®! Whether your community is grappling with transportation and land use issues, crowded schools, preserving open space, or working to bring vacant properties back to productive use, NAR's Smart Growth program has resources ranging from information to grants to help you and your association plant the seeds that will pay dividends for years to come. See below for the latest smart growth resources or look to the above tabs for information on specific topics with which your community may be struggling.
To meet both growth and decline in enrollment, communities across the country will need to build both new schools and renovate or rebuild old, outdated facilities. School design is also undergoing a revolution. There is a new focus on designing schools that are energy efficient; have state-of-the-art technology; are more cost effective to maintain; and that provide more natural light and better indoor air quality and are better places for students to learn and educators to teach. There also is a growing interest in returning to smaller neighborhood-based schools and having children walk to school.
Build Better Communities – Real estate of all types flourishes best in livable communities that offer a high quality of life at a reasonable cost. Livable communities offer a variety of affordable housing choices, good schools, low crime, quality public services, efficient transportation systems, ample recreation and park areas, open space, strong employment base and an economically viable commercial sector. To promote these essential livable community elements, growth policies should encourage market-driven and culturally diverse growth patterns that sustain and enhance a community's quality of life.
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
Created in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) provides information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving, and maintaining safe, healthy, high performance schools. The NCEF Web site includes subject-specific resources on more than 130 topics. Each list includes descriptions of books, studies, reports, and journal articles, as well as links to online publications and websites.
Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP)
EPA established the Office of Children's Health Protection in May 1997 to make the protection of children's health a fundamental goal of public health and environment protection in the United States. OCHP supports and facilitates Agency efforts to protect children's health from environmental threats.
Children may be more vulnerable to environmental exposures than adults because:
Protecting children's health from environmental risks is fundamental to EPA's mission.
Their bodily systems are still developing
They eat more, drink more and breathe more in proportion to their body size
Their behavior can expose them more to chemicals and organisms
The Green Education Foundation
The Green Education Foundation, along with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, has launched the Sustainability Education Clearinghouse. This free online tool provides K-12 educators the ability to upload and share sustainability and green-focused lessons with one another...if you click on the link above, we could connect to the Middle School curriculums – great addition!
US Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Program helps schools partner with farms to serve locally grown foods to students.
US Department of Education
Green Ribbon Schools
The Department of Education's Federal Resources for Environmental Excellence, which lists 70 programs and web sites with information from federal agencies.
The Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality launched the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on April 26, 2011. The Program will incentivize and recognize K-12 schools for taking exemplary steps toward healthier, environmentally sustainable learning spaces and environmental literacy. Further information and applications for schools will be released in fall 2011.
US Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy's EnergySmart Schools program, which provides guidance so that education institutions can plan, finance, design, build and maintain energy-efficient facilities.
Get Smart About Energy
This Web site provides hundreds of classroom activities on energy fundamentals, energy efficiency and conservation, energy sources, and environmental impacts.
US Department of the Interior
The Department of Interior's Great Outdoors Program, an initiative to develop a conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st Century.
US Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA's Healthy Schools Environments Assessment Tool, a software program that helps schools evaluate their environmental issues.
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools, which the EPA established to help education institutions identify, correct and prevent IAQ problems.
The EPA's Clean School Bus USA program, which helps schools reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses.
Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools, an EPA effort to monitor the amount of toxic air pollutants near school facilities.
Integrated Pest Management in Schools, an EPA program that offers strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in school buildings and grounds.
Asbestos in Schools, an EPA program that provides information so school facility managers can recognize and monitor asbestos-containing materials.
The EPA's Buy Clean program, which promotes the purchase of products and services that bring about a healthful indoor school environment.
The Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign, which has a goal of ensuring that all schools are free from hazards associated with mismanaged chemicals.
US EPA ENERGY STAR Tools & Resources
ENERGY STAR connects organizations with the tools and resources needed to implement a successful energy management strategy. Technical guidance, procurement policies, demonstrated best practices, communications resources and awards that help distinguish an organization as an environmental steward are available. They include:
Portfolio Manager and Target Finder
ENERGY STAR Change a Light Campaign with student resources
ENERGY STAR Web site devoted to energy efficiency issues in schools
ENERGY STAR Publications
US Green Building Council
If all new school construction and school renovations went green starting today, energy savings alone would total $20 billion over the next 10 years. Throughout the country, project teams are building green schools with no increase in construction costs. When there is no "green premium," going green is a no-brainer.
Learn more about the rating system designed to improve children's health, productivity and learning capacity while helping school buildings be more energy efficient and resource friendly. Learn how a green school can simplify operations and significantly decrease utility and maintenance costs.
CEFPI School of the Future Design Competition
The Natural Home Building Source
Great American Homeplans
Hotchalk Lesson Plans Page
Smile Metric Style
Healthy Schools Network