NC Green School of Quality, 2016-present
The Raleigh School is set on 18 wooded acres on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC. The school is blessed to have a campus ideal for environmental education and currently is designated as a National Wildlife Certified Wildlife Habitat. Bounded by two streams and adjacent to a planned City of Raleigh Greenway Trail, the campus is home to a variety of wildlife and plants that serve to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom walls. Teachers and children can often be found exploring the grounds, observing the natural world, and utilizing the land to aid in experiments and provide experiential learning opportunities.
The school’s recently revised statement of Abiding Values reasserts the school’s commitment to environmentally sound principles by noting, “We cherish the time that children spend in nature and emphasize outdoor play and environmental stewardship.” Our curriculum is chock full with environmental education starting with our preschoolers who enjoy outdoor time on a new play space (designed by the Natural Learning Initiative located at NC State) that was specifically designed to afford even our youngest children the chance to interact daily with nature.
Our elementary students take advantage of our 18 acres to observe nature and study a variety of terrain and habitats. Topics of elementary study include the forest, oceans, plants and soils, and landforms. All elementary classes take a number of field trips to further engage in the study of North Carolina’s wide variety of eco-communities. Regular field trips include Prairie Ridge EcoStation, Agape Environmental Education Center, Blue Ridge Assembly, Carolina Ocean Studies, the Haw River, and an overnight camping experience on our own campus.
Our school is unique in that we require parent involvement. There are over 40 parent committees that work collaboratively with the administration and teachers. The Environmental Sustainability Committee works to provide support for our very successful Terracycling Brigades, our Crayola marker recycling program, and our current composting program. This committee also sponsors an annual battery and hazardous waste collection event that collects tens of hundreds of pounds of waste. Members of our Gardening Committees use the compost created in our school gardens – many of which are cared for by our students. Working in unison is our Green Team (administrators and teachers) who oversee our new single stream recycling program which involves student delivery of the bi-weekly pick ups.
Our commitment to reducing waste and our carbon footprint is very strong. While many classrooms use traditional composting barrels and a few are vermiculture composting, next year we are entering an agreement with a large NC composter who will include our paper towels, paper plates, pizza boxes, and paper food packaging in addition to the traditional items that are composted.