NC Green School of Quality, 2016- present
With the creation of an innovative Green Team this year, Owen High is building a more sustainably minded culture through the collaboration of student leaders, teachers, parents, administrators and community partners. Administrative staff support green school ideas and are committed to creating an energy efficient and healthy school environment. The hope is that the commitment of each student and staff person goes beyond the school environment to include lifestyle and life long changes. Owen High School is committed to continuous growth informed by current research as witnessed by the establishment of advocate groups and numerous community partnerships.
Together with custodians, cafeteria staff, students and teachers, the green team has implemented an efficient recycling program and significantly decreased school waste. In addition, the green team worked to educate the school through professional development, morning announcements, informative signage and lesson plans that reached the entire student body. This commitment to sustainability also comes from the district level. A new roof made of Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO), an energy savings material that reflects light and maintains temperature control, was installed. The energy department has upgraded all of the building’s light bulbs to LED status and together with the green team brought a panel of experts to the school to discuss the possibility of bringing solar energy to Owen. This forum was attended by some 120 students.
Curriculum integration at Owen is an ongoing process. Many classes such as Ag Mechanics, Green Building, Core & Sustainability, Foods and Health & PE incorporate components of Healthy Schools and interdisciplinary learning into their subjects. Science classes provide outdoor learning opportunities, environmental education, field studies and hands on learning throughout the year. Special Education classes incorporate service learning projects like recycling and working in the community garden.
The English department mentored juniors and seniors as some chose research paper topics or senior projects relating to the environment or sustainable living. Examples of STEAM integration includes science olympiad, a new 3D printer, student computer club presentation at NCTIES, and 1:1 devices given to all Freshman with a plan for 1:1 for the rest of the school in 2017-18 school year.
Innovative practices include Owen High’s faithful partnership with Outward Bound established in 2013 and a new Thirst project club that will raise awareness about the global water crisis and explore ways to support third world countries and student driven initiatives leading to school and community improvement projects including work in the community garden, our recent investigation into installing solar panels, hydration stations, and outdoor classroom spaces.