2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
MEADOWVIEW SCHOOL was honored on September 25, 2019, as a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School for their achievements in environmental and sustainability education at a ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, James L. Elder, and Manager of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Phoebe Beierle, and joined by Assistant U.S. Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, Frank Brogan and Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Neil A. Jacobs, drew a delegation from Meadowview School that included Mrs. Laura Morgan – Meadowview School Principal, Mrs. Jill Roesner – Kindergarten Teacher, Mrs. Klé Trahan – Information Specialist, Mrs. Joan Ramotar – Resource Teacher, and Dr. Lynn Glickman, Superintendent of Schools for CCSD 46.
Meadowview School was nominated for this award by the Illinois Green Alliance for striving for 21st-century excellence in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education.
The aim of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is to inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes schools that show combined progress in three areas, known as Pillars. Meadowview has displayed these practices in the following ways.
PILLAR I: Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs
A number of strategies have been implemented to reduce our energy consumption. When the school was built, it was outfitted with water sensors on all sinks and toilets. Recently, sensors were also added to all lighting in all classrooms. We have a complete building automation system to regulate items such as boiler temperature and heating throughout the school. All hot water heaters are shut down at night. The building also has been completely recommissioned to ensure that all fans operate at optimal efficiency. In addition, our district is adding solar panels to buildings. With the installation of our new roof, we hope to include solar panels here as well.
PILLAR II: Improve Health and Wellness of Students and Staff
We place a very strong emphasis on the importance of movement in our school. In addition to recess and physical education classes, each classroom incorporated movement breaks throughout the day. These breaks are based on our study and research on the brain and how students learn. In addition to the movement that is embedded into our instructional practices, we have a designated Movement and Learning Lab. It is a large classroom with equipment and activity stations designed around visual motor integration, balance, strength, fine motor, and cardiovascular fitness.
PILLAR III: Effective Environmental Literacy
Meadowview School has participated in a three-year collaborative community project known as our Woodland Project. In partnership with the Lake County Forest Preserve and a dedicated parent group led by Mrs. Jessica Albert, our students act as Habitat Heroes restoring the woodland behind our school. At Meadowview, sustainability is one of our most important jobs. As our students begin their kindergarten year, their learning is focused on taking care of our own backyard, our outdoor classroom. Through this initial discovery, the children explore our outdoor space and discover its importance as they do a sensory walk, study native birds, and learn the importance of taking care of nature. Those themes continue throughout their years with our oldest students taking the lead on an outdoor project. Last year our fourth-grade group studied the impact of glaciers on the topography of our land, the impact of erosion, and the solutions to erosion. By the end of the year, they participated in a STEM-based real problem we have been facing, rainwater run-off eroding a portion of our outdoor classroom and woodland.
MEADOWVIEW ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
“At Meadowview School, we are extremely proud of our efforts to take care of our Earth through our environmental education program and sustainability efforts,” stated Laura Morgan, Principal. “Our school-wide learning project builds from year to year and immerses our students in learning that allows them to not only improve their knowledge but also have a positive impact on the world right outside our doors. We look forward to the continued development of this project and our future plans in the areas of both solar education and the restoration of our wetland.”