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


Role Group Strategies:

District Office
Ensure that safety audits are performed in every school and every classroom and that sufficient support personnel are available to respond to building needs immediately.


Building Healthy, High Performance Schools: A Review of Selected State and Local Initiatives.
Environmental Law Institute, Washington,  DC,  2003
This report illustrates the policies, programs, and practices that have been adopted by selected states and school districts in order to incorporate a high performance approach in school planning, design, and construction. The report describes in detail the high performance school building initiatives of the states of California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, along with the districts of Los Angeles, Wake County, North Carolina, Elk River Area, Minnesota, and Edmonds, Washington. Various strategies for establishing regulatory requirements, building community support, developing partnerships and evaluating the results are discussed.

(Re)Designing Learning Environments
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
This site includes a set of case studies from the George Lucas Educational Foundation highlighting a diverse group of schools across the country which have designed innovative learning communities that help kids learn.  Interactive case studies provide background, timelines and strategies for creating or renovating school communities and facilities that work for multiple partners.

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
Any reform effort should be based on a firm understanding of the existing conditions within the school and community.  This tool 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.  This instrument provides an excellent starting point for any community interested in school reform.

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.

NASBE Checklist for Ensuring Healthy Schools
National Association of School Boards of Education
Site provides a sample of five general health related school policies that can effectively promote a fit, healthy school environment where students are ready to learn.  The resource speaks to the role that districts and schools, school leadership, teachers, local policymakers, community members and parents can all play in helping ensure healthy school environments.

National School Boards Association School Health Programs
To assist policymakers and others in the school community to make informed decisions, NSBA has developed the School Health Resource Database, an ever-expanding source of up-to-date information and materials, including sample school district policies, journal articles, research summaries, fact sheets, and more.

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.


District Office
Create policies that support smaller learning communities, which are closely linked to the community and consequently improve safety in schools.



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.

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.

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.

John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary
Great Schools by Design
This document highlights how renovations at John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary in St. Paul, Minnesota lead to increased student achievement and transformed the school into a center of community. The discussion guide, together with a video describing the innovations at this school, is intended to engage education stakeholders and community members in conversations about creating schools that are centers of communities. It includes a discussion outline and extensive advice on how to effectively facilitate and follow up on these community conversations.

(Re)Designing Learning Environments
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
This site includes a set of case studies from the George Lucas Educational Foundation highlighting a diverse group of schools across the country which have designed innovative learning communities that help kids learn.  Interactive case studies provide background, timelines and strategies for creating or renovating school communities and facilities that work for multiple partners.

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.

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.

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.

School Facilities: A Team Approach to Building a New School
Bell, Don. (April, 2003). The School Administrator.
A column from the AASA helps administrators consider important steps to take and questions to consider in beginning a team approach to renovating an existing facility or building a new school facility. The author focuses on building schools that respond to the needs of the people within them.


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