Archives for: January 2012

01/27/12

Permalink 07:34:17 am, by mleslie Email , 125 words, 241 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America's Schools

FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 25. 2012 – First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let's Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.

To download USDA "Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs" January 26th Federal Register final ruling see: http://1.usa.gov/xavZC7

01/11/12

Permalink 03:35:30 pm, by mleslie Email , 116 words, 339 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Toronto District School Board launches new grade 6 electricity kit!

A box of stuff that generates hope, innovation, creativity and last but not least - electricity. Welcome to the new Grade 6 Electricity Kit. In the simplest of terms, we've taken out some batteries, and included some solar panels in their place. In this upgraded Science and Technology kit, you will find a new guide entitled "Our Solar Future".

The guide contains three options for rich performance tasks that put students in the role of solar architect, solar educator, or solar entrepreneur. In one or more of these contexts, your students will construct simple electric circuits, using a variety of components such as solar panels, a hand generator, D-cells, switches, light bulbs, buzzers and small toy motors.

Permalink 09:47:41 am, by mleslie Email , 33 words, 251 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

Hot Off the Presses! The Center for Green Schools 2011 Report Card

January 10, 2012 - by Jenny Wiedower - The Center for Green Schools just finished its first infographic, which depicts our work since being founded in September 2010, highlighting our reach, resources and really inspiring events.

01/10/12

Permalink 07:06:25 am, by mleslie Email , 61 words, 257 views   English (CA)
Categories: News Updates

Canadian author aims to stimulate construction curiosity in kids

by Kelly Lapointe - Bright and colourful illustrations and fun facts walk children through the fundamentals of buildings and structures in a new book. Look at That Building!: a First Book of Structures by Canadian illustrator-author Scot Ritchie, introduces young readers to basic construction concepts through the eyes of five friends who want to build a doghouse for their dog Max.

Permalink 06:21:50 am, by mleslie Email , 83 words, 238 views   English (CA)
Categories: News Updates

Education for Water Stewardship Program - A Manitoba school program encourages students to consider water in their daily lives

With hands-on, experiential learning, the Education for Water Stewardship Program has teachers inspiring their middle and high-school students to become more involved in water issues, both at home and around the world. Produced in partnership and with funding from Green Manitoba, Manitoba Water Stewardship and Learning for a Sustainable Future’s Project FLOW, the day-long workshop is delivered in schools by Green Manitoba staff and is free for teachers to attend.

For more information on seminar program contact: http://bit.ly/y8eCsF

01/05/12

Permalink 04:15:14 pm, by mleslie Email , 316 words, 220 views   English (CA)
Categories: Individual school case studies

Proximity of public elementary schools to major roads in Canadian urban areas

Background
Epidemiologic studies have linked exposure to traffic-generated air and noise pollution with a wide range of adverse health effects in children. Children spend a large portion of time at school, and both air pollution and noise are elevated in close proximity to roads, so school location may be an important determinant of exposure. No studies have yet examined the proximity of schools to major roads outside of the US.

Methods
Data on public elementary schools in Canada's 10 most populous cities were obtained from online databases. School addresses were geocoded and proximity to the nearest major road, defined using a standardized national road classification scheme, was calculated for each school. Based on measurements of nitrogen oxide concentrations, ultrafine particle counts, and noise levels in three Canadian cities we conservatively defined distances <75 m from major roads as the zone of primary interest. Census data at the city and neighborhood levels were used to evaluate relationships between school proximity to major roads, urban density, and indicators of socioeconomic status.

Results
Addresses were obtained for 1,556 public elementary schools, 95% of which were successfully geocoded. Across all 10 cities, 16.3% of schools were located within 75 m of a major road, with wide variability between cities. Schools in neighborhoods with higher median income were less likely to be near major roads (OR per $20,000 increase: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.00), while schools in densely populated neighborhoods were more frequently close to major roads (OR per 1,000 dwellings/km2: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.16). Over 22% of schools in the lowest neighborhood income quintile were close to major roads, compared to 13% of schools in the highest income quintile.

Conclusions
A substantial fraction of students at public elementary schools in Canada, particularly students attending schools in low income neighborhoods, may be exposed to elevated levels of air pollution and noise while at school. As a result, the locations of schools may negatively impact the healthy development and academic performance of a large number of Canadian children.

Permalink 04:13:41 pm, by mleslie Email , 134 words, 223 views   English (CA)
Categories: News Updates

School location a factor in student health, performance

Vancouver, BC - January 4, 2012 - A study by Simon Fraser University researchers shows Canadian public schools in low-income neighbourhoods are more likely to be located near major roads, exposing students to elevated levels of air and noise pollution.

“Studies of children who live near major roads have found that traffic-related air pollution is associated with lower lung function, impaired lung growth, asthma, ear infections, and lower cognitive functioning,” says SFU geography grad student Ofer Amram. “Similar studies of traffic-related noise have found links with increased blood pressure, reduced sleep quality, and cognitive deficits.”

Amram, who co-authored the study with SFU health sciences assistant professor Ryan Allen and three University of British Columbia colleagues, adds research also shows that children exposed to higher air pollution and noise at school lead to poorer average academic performance.

01/04/12

Permalink 10:04:40 am, by mleslie Email , 161 words, 227 views   English (US)
Categories: Individual school case studies

Architectural Record feature: Schools of the 21st Century

What defines a model school? If such a paradigm exists, design would number among the prime factors. Striving for realistic solutions to existing problems such as dated facilities, overcrowding, rising costs, and stringent budgets, many public and private institutions are embracing proactive, holistic reforms that integrate innovative teaching methods with more effective learning environments. Increasingly, insightful teams of administrators, educators, and parents are collaborating with architects to reimagine the schoolhouse. The goal: to create buildings that will engage students, welcome the community, and adapt to the inevitable shifts in population and pedagogy. The planning committees of the schools that follow all aim to exemplify change through design, in each case inviting the architect to weigh in early during the project-development process. Good buildings, they believe, do matter. While the report card is still out, this commitment to an idea, and to architecture as a means to achieve it, signifies a valuable investment in the future of our children. — Linda C. Lentz

01/02/12

Permalink 08:22:54 am, by mleslie Email , 122 words, 229 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

US Department of Energy report details finance options for PV systems in schools

A new U.S. Department of Energy report, “Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K-12 Schools,” details best practices for financing and installing photovoltaic systems on school buildings.

The report examines the two primary types of ownership models used to obtain PV installations for school administrators to use in selecting the best option for deploying solar technologies in their districts. The report focuses on financial options developed specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Some highlights:

- A look at the direct-ownership option, which takes advantage of financing mechanisms such as general funds, bonds, construction funds, and grants.

- A review of the third-party finance model, including power purchase agreements and energy services performance contracts.

Build Green Schools.ca

These pages are a resource for students, parents, staff and neighbours who wish to make the buildings and yards in their school community sustainable, high-performance and "green". The site was originally created for members of the Runnymede Public School community in the west-end of Toronto, but has expanded. This blog is owned and maintained by Marshall Leslie (see www.mleslie.com). You can also follow us on Twitter @greenschools_ca

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