The caliber of work being done in Palm Beach County to establish ‘green schools’ is astronomical; principal, Dr. Voncia Haywood (see photo on left), her faculty and staff along with parent and community involvement at South Intensive Transition School are leading students of a special calling to beautify and maintain the earth and all surroundings in the atmosphere for now and generations to come. The achievements being made are overwhelmingly joyful as it counteracts all loom and gloom projections, denials and even fabrications about the state of our environment.
We always hear high profile economist and politicians addressing the state of our economy, but what about the state of our environment? When one reasonably and logically thinks on these two issues it should be seen that they go hand in hand in order to be prosperous and be bountiful in our pockets and our pocketbooks.
South Intensive Transition School has received the Green School of Promise designation two years in a row by the Green Schools Recognition Program (GSRC) for its steps to improving sustainability. The program serves to encourage cultures of sustainability within school communities and recognizes K-12 public and private schools that have made strides in:
Using the outdoors as a learning environment and enhancing the ecological integrity of those areas.
Demonstrating the conservation of energy and water, and promoting the reduction of solid waste generation.
Integrating curriculum that will prepare students to understand and act on current and future environmental changes facing South Florida.
Promoting community involvement and fostering an awareness of local environmental issues.
Providing professional development and creating a school philosophy and culture that embraces sustainability.
“I am helping to save the Earth and environment so that we will have a better place to live. I feel that I’m making a difference by being a part of the Green Team,” stated 8th Grader Brian Bureau.
The GSRC is an initiative of Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center and is funded by a grant given by the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties. Community sponsors include Solid Waste Authority and Audubon Society of the Everglades. Additional community support comes from area businesses and organizations who participate as judges.
“Our school has a green culture that engages students in experiential outdoor learning that infuse reading, mathematics, science and writing that helps students generate and test hypotheses, interact, practice and deepen new knowledge. We support students and staff to be environmentally sensitive,” said Terrence Narinesingh, Ed.S, Assistant Principal.
South Intensive Transition has made great strides toward becoming one of the premier Green Schools in Palm Beach County. From designing and building raised bed gardens where we grow produce for our students, to partnering with a multitude of community organizations who assist our students and families, and fostering a deep sense of community between administration, staff and students, our school is the embodiment of a Green School.
(See list below of green school accomplishments by South Intensive Transition School in Palm Beach County, FL)
REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office, Apr. 2014
“Earning the prestigious title Green School of Promise has motivated both students and staff at South Intensive to continue striving towards being the Greenest educational alternatives site in Palm Beach County. With continuous efforts from the entire South Intensive family, we are looking forward to doing big things here in Lake Worth, Florida. From recycling paper, plastics, growing our own food which we distribute to needy families and staff, beautifying our campus to cleaning up the surrounding neighborhood adopting the street in front of our school and performing a beach clean- up, South Intensive is definitely headed in the right direction,” said Ronnie Suddith, Green Team/Recycling Coordinator and Middle School Science Teacher.
Recycling has become a way of life at South Intensive. Students and staff are reminded daily via the morning announcements South Intensive Green Team and Garden to recycle all paper, plastics, and milk cartons. Each portable on the campus is equipped with a recycling bin, which is emptied weekly by the Green Team. Students who meet behavioral expectations are selected as Green Team members. These students are afforded the privilege to travel around campus and empty recycling bins. This privilege has been used as an incentive within the School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SwPBS) framework and has a tremendous amount of success.
The garden at South Intensive has become one of the most popular attractions on campus. Gardening offers students hands-on experimental learning opportunities in a wide array of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, math and nutrition. The garden has improved school spirit and students’ attitudes toward school. This year students planted collard greens, carrots, spinach, broccoli and onions. The harvest was plentiful, which allowed students and staff to take home fresh produce to their families.
One of the 2013-2014 Green School initiatives was to adopt Barton Road (the street located in front of our school) and conduct a beach clean-up at Lake Worth Beach. The necessary steps have been taken in regard to adopting the street. The students receive community service hours through the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office for their work in keeping the road clean. Some additional green highlights are:
76% of students utilized some form of mass transit (school bus/Palm Tran) as an alternative to privately owned vehicles decreasing the use of fossil fuels.
20% of students walk or ride their bicycles to school.
% of students get dropped off/picked up from school.
Barnes & Noble has partnered with South Intensive to get our students reading more by supporting the D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) initiative for the past two years.
Sam’s Club has donated food to South Intensive for Open House and Title 1 Parent Training and Technology Night.
Walmart has donated 11 bicycles to needy families at South Intensive. The company has also given teachers classroom supplies and gift cards.
The School Administration at South Intensive is also supportive of the Green efforts. The mission of South Intensive encompasses the importance of creating a Green School culture. School administrators, in collaboration with the SAC, have used Title 1 funds to purchase electronic readers (Nooks) from Barnes & Noble to reduce the quantity of paperback books and increase the use of electronic books. In FY14, South Intensive became one of eight schools in the School District of Palm Beach County to utilize the Title 1 eBox, which is an online tool that allows Title 1 schools to store audit and monitoring documentation and evidence to support their Title 1 program. The intent of the eBox tool is to streamline the current process and reduce the amount of printed documentation in an effort to support the green movement.
Teachers have the option to submit lesson plans electronically and are encouraged and supported in creating green school projects. Staff members attended the 2014 Green Conference to enhance their knowledge of green initiatives, community building and local endangered habitats to coordinate projects at the school level. Being a Green School is formally incorporated into the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and is also presented as agenda items at faculty and School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings.
About South Intensive Transition School:
South Intensive Transition School officially opened its doors in 2007 as an alternative school with high expectations for exemplary achievement, serving students in Grades 6-12. South Intensive is the first alternative school in the School District of Palm Beach County to offer the rigorous SpringBoard® curriculum in English Language Arts and Mathematics to ensure that students are equipped to achieve success on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and become college and career ready. South Intensive effectively implements the research-based School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SwPBS) strategies to promote safety, civility, and demonstrate increases in student respectfulness, responsibility and motivation.
South Intensive Transition has achieved the Green School of Promise recognition for two consecutive years for taking a holistic approach to going green that incorporates school ground enhancement, resource conservation, curriculum connections, and community involvement with a school wide commitment and focus on sustainability. Through collegial partnerships with Lynn University and several community agencies, students benefit from additional services to ensure academic and behavioral intervention success. For more information, visit www.edline.net/pages/Intensive_Transition_South