Nestled on Whidbey Island Washington in the middle of the Puget Sound, Broad View Elementary’s Explorers are discovering a greener future with the help of their community including an active PTA, and award-winning Facilities, Maintenance, and Transportation Departments.
During the summer, the crew works hard, using green cleaning products to sanitize classrooms from ceiling to floor. New LED light fixtures were installed to brighten up the exterior and some diesel buses were replaced with propane buses. All of these efforts have reduced Broad View’s environmental impact and costs.
Students walk “Safe Routes to School” and pass by our EPA-approved rain garden with beautiful indigenous trees next to our parking lot.
Thanks to a student-led project, students eat breakfast using real silverware! When they are finished, they stack trays and place silverware in bins to be washed in the dishwasher by our friendly cafeteria staff.
Students have the opportunity to use the library’s maker space where they can build and play before heading out for the teacher-supervised school walk. On the way, they pass by the learning garden and composting bins. They can run or walk around the outside of the track taking in the beauty of the full-grown cedar trees. Also near the track is an outdoor classroom area that has indigenous plants growing around it.
Once the bell rings, the students head inside where teachers proactively teach schoolwide Explorer expectations and characteristics and bullying prevention. Throughout the year, we continue this message with presentations from Citizens Against Domestic Abuse and Taproot Theatre.
Some students go see the school counselor for a “GLAD” check-in. The counselor also teaches lessons to all the students in the school about ways to keep our bodies safe.
At lunchtime, students take only what they can eat, or put unopened food items in a bin to be used again. After eating, students put food scraps in a compost bin, recycle water bottles, soak silverware in soapy water, and stack trays to be washed. Daily, a group of fourth graders takes the food scraps to the compost worm bin outside. Once this is converted into soil, students help disperse this onto the garden beds. Students have helped plant this garden. Rain barrels collect water, which is the only irrigation we use.
At recess, students play on environmentally safe structures. Throughout the day, they earn raffle tickets to enter a monthly drawing for extra recess time.
If any injuries occur we have school nurses and a trained office staff available to help. Teachers are strongly encouraged to not send their students to the nurse for the 15 minutes following recess and to keep their students in the learning environment as long as possible.
PE is often outside, though the students are taught to be EPA Sunwise.
Environmental lessons are integrated into specialists’ classes in Art, Music, and Library. Teachers incorporate STEM projects in addition to teaching Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Science. Students reuse and recycle paper as they study. Once a week, student volunteers help collect the recycling throughout the school.
Students look forward to the annual field trips to Whidbey Watershed Stewards Outdoor Classroom located in Washington on South Whidbey Island for all grade levels first through fourth. The Kindergarteners go to a pumpkin patch on a real farm. Teachers plan additional field trips incorporating Science and Social Studies. Fourth graders go to the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention and third graders experience Native American life with hands-on lessons at the Whatcom Museum.
When we can’t take students out, we bring scientists as guest speakers into the school. For the past couple of years, we brought in a local female astronaut, and last year we brought in moon rocks. Fourth graders experience Wheat Week, where they learn about the science of wheat farming.
After school, the learning continues with enrichment courses sponsored by our PTA and taught by community volunteers. There are a variety of classes to choose from many with environmental and sustainability subjects.
In the evening, we host a STEM night, a literacy night, and a math night annually. We feed families and invite them to meet a female astronaut. We encourage families to experience the joy of learning together. As a community, together we all succeed.
All of these efforts have significantly reduced Broad View's environmental impact, and reduced energy, garbage, and maintenance costs.
Our Ongoing Initiatives
Students felt compelled to stop throwing away hundreds of sporks each day in the cafeteria. They knew these sporks ended up in a landfill. Thanks to a student-led project, students eat breakfast using real silverware! When finished eating each day students stack trays and silverware to be washed in the dishwasher by our friendly cafeteria staff.
A few years ago our Robotics team decided to do a project that would help Broad View be more environmentally friendly. Due to their hard work, we had 2 composting bins installed including 10lbs of worms. Each day a group of fourth graders takes the food scraps to the compost worm bin outside. Once the compost is ready, students help disperse the converted soil onto the garden beds. Students help plant this garden. Rain barrels collect water, which is the only irrigation we use.
Each day students can head to the library's Makerspace where they can build, create, and problem-solve before heading out for the teacher-supervised school walk/run. Students are eager to spend their time using a variety of materials so that they can explore their own interests while creating something hands-on.
This year students planted a garden. Students are responsible for planting, watering, and weeding. They also transfer the dirt from the composting bins to the garden to help keep our garden dirt rich. It is half full of vegetables and herbs including broccoli, a variety of lettuce, chard, peas, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, mint, sage, cilantro, and more. The other half of the garden students have planted flowers. These are being used for a special community outreach project explained below.
Some of our third and fourth-grade classes are growing flowers in our garden. They are learning how to make flower arrangements with the intent of going into the community and sharing the flower arrangements with local retirement homes. Our students are giving back to the community, which has been so supportive of our schools over the years.
Broad View has a robust recycling program. Each week students gather with Ms. Hart to recycle. They meet before school and during recess. The students go to each classroom to gather their recycle boxes. Then they separate the paper, plastics, and cans and place them appropriately in our bins. This program has helped Broad View cut our trash significantly. Broad View produces half of the trash that a typical school our size produces.
Over the years Broad View staff has taken care to teach students to turn off lights, computers, and other electronics when leaving the classroom. This has helped Broad View to consume less electricity than schools per square foot. Although Broad View has grown by 4 classes in the past few years, we have continued to lessen our electricity consumption.