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Summer construction projects use solar tubes to enhance classrooms

CASTLE ROCK - Douglas County School District’s Planning and Construction Department completed more than 45 projects over the summer break. Many tasks consisted of replacing aging items. However, several of the projects were opportunities to support the choice programming and academic learning in our schools.
 
For instance, select schools were fitted with solar tubes, which illuminate classrooms solely with sunlight. This technology has many benefits for students and schools.
 
“Day lighting has proven to not only be more effective than artificial light, as far as brighter and more resilient, but it also gives the sense of being connected to the outside and morale and performance have historically improved with that,” says Director of Planning and Construction Rich Cosgrove.
 
Northeast Elementary Principal Jeannie Tynecki added, “The kids are more engaged, they work together. I think it improves the moods of teachers and everyone seems to be in a better mood because they’re around natural light.”
 
The improved natural lighting in classrooms also gives the students energy to conquer the 4C’s (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking), starting with some critical thinking about the engineering behind solar tubes.
 
“Lot’s of kids have already asked how they work, how do they bring in so much light, how do refract the light. It just starts a really good conversation and collaboration amongst the kids,” added Principal Tynecki.
 
In addition to enhancing the learning environment for students, the solar tubes also provide a notable contribution to the District’s sustainability efforts.
 
“In fact, the day lighting projects not only improve the learning environment and morale of the students and staff, they also save significant funds as far as our utility budget and that money goes back into the classroom,” stated Director Cosgrove.
 
At Larkspur Elementary the idea is to connect students to an environmental based education model. With new landscaping and a remodeled entrance, Principal Michael Norris is far ahead in achieving this goal.
 
“Being disconnected from the natural world is impacting [students’] ability to focus, their ability to know what’s going on around them in a natural sense. So we’re hoping this will develop a strong interest in our students to engage in the natural world and realize that the things that they are learning in school have a connection in our local community and in the world in general.”
 
These construction projects are a great opportunity to support the choice educational programs of schools, which will eventually build a stronger foundation for World-Class Education and 21st century learning.
 
“When we think about 21st century skills and the 4 C’s and the things that we talk about, all of those things are inherent in our natural world, in the connects we make, the systems we observe, whether they are natural or social systems, those are all systems that we want the students to be aware of in the model that we are implementing here, and they dovetail into the district’s Strategic Plan,” concluded Principal Norris.
 
August 27, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category: Planning and Construction, Sustainability

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