Carolina Day School
NC Green School of Excellence 2014-present
Carolina Day School (CDS) has been committed to working together to try to implement sustainable practices. Seven years ago they created a “Sustainability Committee” with representatives from all four divisions, parents and administration. This committee meets each trimester (sometimes more), and works on green goals for the whole school.
In 2009, CDS made it a priority in the last School Improvement plan to focus on “Environment and Sustainability”. They have made tremendous progress in this area, as is shown by the existence of the Sustainability Committee, providing professional development for faculty, the community service the entire school does in support of local environmental groups, and the daily commitment to recycling and composting.
They have had an informal energy audit, implemented a composting program that will involve the entire school, and worked to create a carpool option for families.
CDS shows its commitment to making their school a healthier place by building and utilizing outdoor classrooms. Each division has created gardens and a natural area with river stone was built for the Lower School children to play. Each division has nutrition and health in their curriculum and encourages students and faculty to join the “100 mile club” by tracking their mileage in the winter to try to reach 100 miles of walking or hiking by spring.
Environmental issues are discussed in many venues, not just the science classes, though students can go more deeply in the sciences. Students work on solar and hydroponic gardens.
They’ve made solar ovens and helped sea turtles in Costa Rica make it back to the ocean. They plant vegetables from seed and nurture the plants until they bear fruit. Students created a phenology lab and a salamander study area on campus. Pre-K students watch monarchs grow from caterpillar to butterfly, and recreate their migration to Mexico by “flying” around campus collecting nectar.
Lastly, CDS innovatively changed plans. Instead of building a new Lower School, they decided to “up-cycle” the original building built in 1956 with features designed to save energy and improve air quality.