Recommendation One:
Provide clean, safe, well-maintained school environments that promote learning.


Role Group Strategies:

Help create a school-wide assessment strategy for the physical environment (air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, noise hazards, traffic patterns, etc.) as well as the social and emotional environment of the school.



For Generations to Come: A Leadership Guide to Renewing Public School Buildings
21st Century School Fund
This resource provides a guide to community members for becoming involved in the process of modernizing or building new schools. The authors explain how the condition and design of schools affect the quality of learning that takes place within them and how community involvement results in better education. They then break down the process of school redesign and construction into five steps: Assessment, Envisioning, Planning, Development, and Implementation. For each step, they give a detailed, practical description of the process and highlight stories from actual schools.

Healthy School Environment Assessment Tool
Environmental Protection Agency
Healthy SEAT is a self-assessment tool, which districts can customize and use to monitor the environmental conditions of their schools.

Initial School Self-Evaluation Instrument
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
This self-evaluation instrument is designed for use by teachers, administrators, school board members, students, and community representatives. It allows users to evaluate their schools in four areas:  learning and teaching, governance and management, school improvement and professional development, and parent and community involvement. The teaching and learning section includes questions on resources and materials and technology integration.

Healthy Learning Environments
ASCD Information Brief, August 2004
This brief discusses the importance of comprehensive school health programs that support the physical, emotional, and social health of students. The authors address the state policy context and the role of NCLB in student health, in addition to describing agencies who can assist in the process and specific components of coordinated school health programs, including community and parental involvement.

Healthy School Environment Web Pages
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Healthy School Environments Web pages are intended to serve as a gateway to online resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools.  Major categories with resources in the directory include: Chemical Use & Management; Design, Construction and Renovation; Energy Efficiency; Ventilation; Environmental Education; Facility Operations and Maintenance; Indoor Environmental Quality; Legislation and Regulation; Outdoor Air Pollution; Portable Classrooms; Safety/Preparedness; Waste; Waste Reduction; and Water.

Regional Contacts for Healthy Schools
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The site is a clearinghouse of resources primarily intended to help improve the environment of school facilities in the Southeast. It includes state-level information for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Support the social and emotional development of students in schools.

What Parents Can Do
George Lucas Educational Foundation      
This article recognizes that parents have a dual role to play in nurturing emotional development at home and at schools.  This tool provides strategies for modeling "emotionally intelligent" behavior at home as a first step, but also provides five action steps for working with members of your school community to create a climate that supports social and emotional learning.

What Business Can Do
George Lucas Educational Foundation
This article recognizes a few opportunities for businesses to promote emotional intelligence and social development of students by examining their own business practices and talking with schools about opportunities to support social and emotional learning.

Bring community resources and knowledge to school efforts to promote smaller learning communities that are closely linked to community services and consequently improve safety.

Case Studies for Joint Use Facilities
New Schools for Better Neighborhoods
The site uses research and existing examples of real schools to show that new school facilities must be better integrated with the community year round.  The site argues that schools should serve a variety of community needs in partnership with a wide array of public, civic, and private organizations. Smarter designs for new or renovated school facilities can accommodate direct community access to spaces like libraries, gymnasiums, auditoriums, health clinics, athletic and recreational fields, and performing arts space.

Getting to Know You
George Lucas Educational Foundation
This case study describes the effort to break down the 2,100 student James Madison Memorial High School in  Madison, Wisconsin through an innovative concept of neighborhood learning communities.

The Edible Schoolyard
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
The students of the Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California have the unique opportunity to grow and prepare their own organic foods through the school’s innovative “Edible Schoolyard” program.  Each week, students spend 90 minutes either working in the school’s gardens or kitchens.  This interactive article complete with audio and video clips outlines the program and the role that community volunteers play in making it possible.

Scaling Up, Scaling Down
Education Week (June 2004)
This two-part series features a number of articles on efforts to create smaller schools, which research indicates increases student learning. The articles primarily focus on the creation of smaller schools in New York City and the Gates Foundation grants to create smaller schools throughout the country.

Communities in Schools Volunteer Page
This site gives contact addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for all Communities in Schools (CIS) network offices in North Carolina.  CIS encourages community members to become involved in schools through mentoring, helping with after-school programs, bringing health specialists into schools, and teaching job skills.

The Exponential Results of Linking School Improvement and Community Development:  Collaborative Strategies for Revitalizing Rural Schools and Communities
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
This issue of the Benefits newsletter outlines 8 basic steps for establishing collaborative groups that benefit both schools and the community. The authors explain the rationale for each step and suggest actions that school leaders can take to ensure success.  While intended primarily for rural schools, the suggestions and examples are of value to anyone interested in taking practical steps to strengthen school-community partnerships.

Build “Smart”
McCann, B., & Beaumont, C. (2003). American School Board Journal
This article contrasts “sprawl schools,” which are often located on the edge of town and are unsafe for children to walk to, with “smart growth” schools. Smart growth schools are smaller in size, located in established neighborhoods, integrate the community, and allow students to increase physical activity through walking or bilking to school. The author gives solutions to common problems with building such schools and lists states that are taking positive steps to allow for more smart growth construction.

Connection Collection
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
This searchable database of over 240 articles provides school leaders and community members with a range of resources supporting family and community involvement in education.

Schools as Centers of Community: A Citizen’s Guide to Planning and Design
Bingler, S., Quinn, L., and Sullivan, K. (2003).
The authors examine the challenges and opportunities related to building and renovating schools for the growing number of children in America. They advocate the idea of schools serving as centers of community interaction and emphasize that the process of designing and planning schools should involve the community. The paper enumerates design principles, shows those principles in action thirteen different schools, and explains how to develop and implement a plan to improve school facilities and how to involve different members of the community in that process.

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