On Wednesday, September 20, officials from the U.S. Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Education, state Rep. Pat Gardner and state Sen. Nan Orrock paid a visit to Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School’s middle school campus. The stop was part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Strides Tour.
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School (ANCS) was chosen for the honor after being named a 2016
Georgia and U.S. Department of Education “Green Ribbon School” as a result of its sustainability and wellness efforts.
Those taking the tour heard about building improvements that have helped the school to reduce its energy footprint and save money. The school has energy efficient lighting controls on both of its campuses, bottle filling stations at all of its water fountains to encourage the use of reusable water bottles, thermal insulation and energy efficient heating and air conditioning controls. The improvements have taken place during the past three years through grants funding from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
“We want to reduce our energy footprint and really make the world a better place for kids today and into the future,” says ANCS Executive Director Matt Underwood. “It also clearly has a real impact on our bottom line, by making all of these improvements and by being fortunate enough to get grants funding to support them, we have reduced our energy costs by tens of thousands of dollars a year. That’s money we can use on teaching and learning rather than on utility bills.”
The school has also partnered with the community, the city of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Transportation to make getting to Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School easier for those who are walking and biking. Underwood says the school received a Safe Routes to School Grant several years ago. The school worked in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Transportation and Atlanta’s Public Works Department to construct and improve sidewalks, crosswalks and to address safety issues for those walking and biking near the school. As part of the grant, a two-way semi-protected cycle track on existing pavement was created along Ormewood Avenue.
“It’s created a better bike and walk corridor for our school and the community,” said Underwood. “There’s now a safer pathway from our elementary campus to our middle campus and beyond, so it really has a benefit to students that are in the area and local residents.”
Those taking the tour also viewed the school’s garden and visited ANCS’ farm, which are used as a learning tools for students. They also heard about the school’s farm-to-table nutrition program from Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School Chef and Nutrition Director David Bradley. Other speakers included, ANCS Director of Finance and Operations Kari Lovell and Middle Campus Principal Cathy Goodgame.