Molly Stoffregen, Northside’s literacy coach, and Steve Nally, an architect at Moseley Architects have worked together closely to develop the “school as a teaching tool” model.
The school was LEED Platinum-certified in July — the only school in North Carolina to achieve the highest level of certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council — meaning it showed outstanding Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.
Stoffregen and Nally have developed a teaching plan that combines the building’s environmentally friendly and sustainable features and the students’ science curriculum.
“It’s more than just a building,” Nally said. “It can be used like a textbook or anything else.”
Stroffregen said she is very excited about the opportunity to speak at the symposium.
“A lot of people at the event will be builders and architects and we can share how they can take their plans and design to the next level.”
At first, using the building to educate the students and staff mainly entailed putting up signs around the building that explained how the sustainable features worked, Stroffregen said.
But when integrating the building into the students’ science curriculum became a part of the project, Nally said he and Stroffregen began working to combine Northside teachers’ lesson plans with the building’s features.
“Every grade level has a different focus based on their science curriculum and has a different presentation and tour of the building,” Stroffregen said.
“Fifth graders went down to the boiler room to learn about heat transfer,” he said. “In fourth grade, it was tied to water and erosion.”
Sarah Montgomery, the education and advocacy manager for the N.C. chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, said this year’s theme for the symposium is celebrating 20 years of healthy development in North Carolina.
“Northside is a LEED platinum gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous elementary school,” she said. “Green schools are a big focus for us at the N.C. chapter.”
The state is a leader in the nation for LEED activity with 23 LEED certified schools and 29 more schools that are expected to become LEED certified, Montgomery said.
“(Northside is) definitely a school we want to continue to showcase and use as a practice example of how green schools educate children every day,” Montgomery said.
The symposium, which will take place in the Raleigh Convention Center and welcome more than 100 attendees, is an annual educational conference hosted by the Triangle branch of the U.S. Green Building Council N.C. chapter.
“It’s really kind of a gathering place and symposium for the area’s leading sustainability practitioners both from private and public sector.”
Neither Nally nor Stroffregen has ever spoken at the symposium before.
Nally said the “school as a teaching tool” model was developed from a series of meetings between himself and Stoggregen for many months.
“Not a lot of schools do that but I think many schools could,” he said. “Sustainability and using the building as another tool in the teachers’ arsenal is very powerful.”