Cool Green Schools
We engage students in science and health education by challenging them to study and improve the health and learning conditions at their schools. Students benchmark their schools using the tools and methods used by health and building professionals with protocols developed by EPA, Energy Star, and The Coalition for High Performing Schools. Conditions which students study include: air and water quality, temperature, lighting and sound levels, bacterial contamination, school lunches, food and paper waste, pests, energy and water use. Students are mentored by building and health experts and professionals. We participated in a successful Community Research Partnership with students and faculty from Johns Hopkins and we anticipate continuing our collaboration in the future. After studying the conditions in their schools, students are challenged to create improvements in at least one of the areas they studied. This hands-on science project empowers students to learn and innovate to improve their schools. Accomplishments: This project has been instrumental in recovering 485,000 dollars in overpaid water charges to the school district, reducing pests, lowered temperatures and improved air quality in some classrooms, identified water and air quality issues in high schools, identified non-working ventilation systems, tested students for vision problems resupplied bathroom tissue and paper towels in bathrooms, reopened locked bathrooms, identified surfaces with high levels of bacterial contamination, identified a superfund site and contamination adjacent to planned school construction. The COVID-19 crisis adds additional importance to studying the conditions at our schools and finding innovative solutions to reduce viral transmission.