The Center for Ecoliteracy has published an article describing the process of greening Head-Royce School. The article, written by Lisa Bennett, can be viewed on the Center for Ecoliteracy's web site (www.ecoliteracy.org) or by following this link: Greening a K-12 Curriculum
Mission As part of its mission to prepare global citizens, the Head-Royce School is committed to being a Green School. Aware of the significant environmental challenges we face in the 21st century, our School strives to be a leader in demonstrating how to establish a more sustainable way of living. As part of its green schools initiative, Head-Royce is committed to providing a healthy environment for students and staff while promoting ecological sustainability.
Programs The Green Mission focuses on four broad areas: Sustainable Resources, Nutritional Food, an Ecological Curriculum, and a Healthy Environment. The School develops programs in these areas in order to: • Use resources in a sustainable way, by utilizing energy efficiently and by incorporating clean, renewable technologies in existing buildings and in new construction. • Create a healthy educational community by offering nutritional food on campus, by expanding the on-campus green schoolyard garden program, and by participating in the farm-to-school program. Read our Garden Mission. • Develop the educational program to emphasize ecological sustainability, environmental health, nutrition, personal responsibility and leadership. • Ensure that the school environment is as free as possible from toxic substances or harmful chemicals. • Urge the wider school community—faculty, administration, staff, parents, and alumni—to embrace the effort to pursue sustainable living practices. By teaching our students to be stewards of their communities, the earth and its resources, we strive to educate the next generation of leaders to make a difference in improving the environment for humanity.
Sustainable and Green Resources In 2006-07, the School began a significant, community-wide initiative to help develop Head-Royce as a model green school. We are especially grateful to the Green Schools Initiative for inspiring and guiding our work. Our efforts have been directed by a K-12 Green Council representing the students, faculty and administration, supported by the Board of Trustees, and with many advisors and consultants from the School and the wider community. The Board of Trustees approved a significant budget to make major improvements for sustainability, including the installation of over 400 solar panels on the gymnasium and Middle School roofs, which will generate 60 KW and produce an estimated 25% of the annual electricity needs. The fund also will enable Head-Royce to achieve certification through the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program of the U.S. Green Building Council for the new Upper School building, part of the Master Plan. In June 2007 the School was certified as a Green Business by the Bay Area Green Business Program, only the third school in Alameda County to be so recognized. There have been four principal areas of improvement in our School’s sustainability program thus far: solid waste reduction and recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, and pollution prevention.
Educational Program The School has begun a systematic effort to review and revise the K-12 curriculum to promote education for sustainable living. A vital, initial part of that effort was the revision of the School’s mission to include the commitment to help students develop “a love of nature.” We have also adopted a set of principles of ecological literacy in consultation with the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Education for sustainability requires, in addition to environmental knowledge, the acquisition of particular skills, values, and vision needed to put that knowledge into practice. Education for sustainable living cultivates competencies of head, heart, hands, and spirit to enable children to develop toward becoming citizens capable of designing and maintaining sustainable societies. Using the recently adopted Principles of Ecoliteracy, we are nurturing our students’ understanding of ecology, concern for the well-being of the Earth, commitment to living sustainably, and reverence for the natural world. In 2007-08, the faculty conducted a formal, K-12 audit of the environmental focus in the curriculum to identify areas to highlight and to improve. Some examples of our ecological curriculum include: • An edible garden in the Lower School • a 2-month ecology unit in Middle School • Upper School electives devoted to topics like Environmental History, Global Systems Science, and Astronomy.
Healthy Food Program The School has developed a great, healthy food program in conjunction with the ecological theme in the curriculum. We have embraced a vision of our school lunch program as a vital center of an intricate connection of relationships among students, teachers, parents and community to promote health and well being. Aspects of this effective school lunch program include: • Healthy Food • Local Procurement • An Edible School Garden • Environmental Curricular Integration • Effective Waste Management • and our new School café.
Community Education We have begun a systematic effort to emphasize environmental themes in community forums, Fine Arts performances, and special educational days. Recent examples include: • The Lower School’s third, fourth and fifth graders created and performed an original musical, "Honoring the Elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Metal and Wood,” which joins together thoughts from different viewpoints including science, ancient mythologies, various religious beliefs, and artistic processes. • The Middle School screened An Inconvenient Truth and led the School's first green day, featuring energy efficient cars and solar energy displays provided by PG&E. • the Upper School hosted a lecture by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, hosted a Green Day featuring more than three dozen workshops topics from “The Oakland Food System Assessment” and “How to Launch a Career in the Environmental Movement” to “Land Trusts: How They Protect Open Space, Farmland, Wildlife Habitat and the Environment” and “California's Ground-Breaking Global Warming Law and Why It is Setting the Model for Congress and The World.”
We look forward to reporting our progress on becoming a model green school that nurtures our students environmental stewardship.