Sustain DCSD Earth Week Celebration
Day 1: Health & Wellness
Happy Earth Week!
The Office of Sustainability and our Sustainability Champions throughout the district wish you a very happy Earth Week! Each day leading up to Earth Day on Friday, April 22, we will recognize a topic within sustainability and schools that represent some of the great work being done to make our district a greener, healthier, and financially responsible place. We will also provide some tips on you can be greener throughout the year. Here is a preview of what we will be celebrating:
Monday: Health & Wellness
Schools throughout the district have bike/walk/run to school initiatives, running clubs, brain breaks and other programs that focus on the health of our students. Access to green space is linked to reduced stress and improved learning; so many schools are building outdoor classrooms and finding ways to spend more time in nature. On the first day of Earth Week, we will introduce you to the great health and wellness work at Franktown Elementary and Cherry Valley Elementary!
Energy conservation is one of the best ways we can work to reduce our impact on the environment. It also has the added benefit of reducing our utility bill! Students throughout the district conduct energy audits, launch campaigns to turn off lights and unplug energy vampires, and help us identify ways we can reduce even more. Wednesday, we will highlight a partnership between Rock Canyon High School and DCSD Operations & Maintenance which will save the energy and avoid costs for years to come!
All of our schools offer recycling and about a third of them compost on-site as a way to reduce how much waste we are sending to the landfill. Students conduct waste audits to determine what is in our trash and then propose projects based on what they find, such as Waste Free Lunches, snack baggie recycling, TerraCycling, and more! This day, we will tell you how Cougar Run Elementary and Lone Tree Elementary are reducing, reusing, and recycling!
Thursday: Green Space
With over 45 school gardens, dozens of outdoor classrooms and schoolyard habitats, and a growing number of greenhouses, aquaponics, and hydroponics stations, our students have the opportunity to grow their own food, restore native flora, and participate in authentic scientific inquiry and experimentation right in our own backyard. We will take you to Renaissance Elementary Magnet School to showcase the awesome work in gardens and green spaces!
Friday: EARTH DAY Special Announcement
Heritage Elementary integrates sustainability education throughout the curriculum for a great impact. From a 57% waste diversion rate to reducing its energy consumption 14% over three years to a highly active health and wellness culture, Heritage is a great example of sustainability. A beautiful garden, chickens, schoolyard habitat, and Walk or Wheel Wednesdays are just some of the amazing programs they offer. The school was recently named one of America’s Top 10 Eco-Schools by the National Wildlife Federation. They recently spent months putting together a BIG application for another BIG national award, the announcement will be made on Earth Day. Stay tuned!
Health & Wellness
School settings are a great place to learn and practice how to lead a healthy lifestyle! Climbing walls, classroom kickball games, salad bars, Blacktop Boogie parties at recess, Student Led Health Teams (SLHT), healthy birthday party themes, and Boogie Boards for math instruction are just a few of the healthy school initiatives happening around DCSD! Why are these Healthy Schools initiatives so important and how to do they come to reality in schools? Please read on...
A commitment to health and wellness is a critical part of sustainability. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of this earth. It is important to eat nutritious food, remain active, and find balance. Many of our schools use the The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model, which combines and builds on elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework by:
Responding to the call for greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health to improve each child's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
Incorporating the components of a coordinated school health program around the tenets of a whole child approach to education.
Providing a framework to address the symbiotic relationship between learning and health.
The focus of the WSCC model is an ecological approach that is directed at the whole school, with the school in turn drawing its resources and influences from the whole community and serving to address the needs of the whole child. School Health Improvement Plans, or SHIPS, are one year plans that address the health needs of each individual school. Schools identify priority areas around the WSCC model and create SMART objectives to meet their goal. We have 35 schools participating, all create and implement unique plans that meet the needs of their school and culture. The goal is that SHIPS create a healthy and sustainable culture at each school.
In addition to SHIPS, schools are implementing initiatives such as:
Walk or Wheel initiatives to reduce the amount of cars on the road and promote exercise
No Idle Zones in drop-off areas to improve air quality for our children
Outdoor learning opportunities, nature walks, schoolyard habitats
Cherry Valley Elementary is a great example. In April, CVE was chosen as a Healthy School Champion by the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) for creating and supporting a healthy school environment and implementing effective school health efforts. BRT/RtI specialist Jan Francis has taken considerable effort to bring physical activities into the classrooms at Cherry Valley, coordinating student lacrosse, taekwondo lessons and a student-led health team that promotes physical activity within the school.
Cherry Valley also hosts fitness classes for staff and students after school, integrates science and health into the care and maintenance of a Tower Garden, provides a home to several chickens, has school-wide participation in the Healthy Schools Move Ultramarathon challenge and participates in the Kaiser Thriving Schools Grant work. Franktown Elementary is another awesome school with an amazing student-led health and wellness team. Check out the video for more!
Contact Laurie LaComb, DCSD Healthy Schools Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information about making your school more healthy!
Outdoor classroom on a beautiful day.
Bike to School Day!
Students carry straw bales for their garden.