In 2015, Mackintosh Academy-Littleton students helped our community come together and solidify our identity as a Smart Village. By applying their IB skills and profiles of inquiry, risk-taking, and open-mindedness, 97 solar panels were installed on all campus buildings. We are very proud to announce that four of our 8th grade students won the President’s Environmental Youth Award for their work writing and winning the $96,000 grant to install the solar panels.
That was just the beginning!
Since the solar panel installation, Mack-Littleton has experienced a revitalization of our mission to develop Keen Minds, Compassionate Hearts, and Global Action. Our students have used the solar panels and collected data to develop other energy saving initiatives on campus.
- Try to use natural light in classrooms – unless the room is uncomfortably dark or not optimal for student engagement.
- Bring non-heat up lunches to limit using microwave ovens.
- Charge student computers at home instead of leaving them on chargers at school.
- Turn off the 3D printers when not in use.
- Minimize use of furnace/AC. Think about heat loss when doors are open.
- No electric pencil sharpeners.
- Unplug all electronics not in use – except for some key machines.
- Minimize the use of copiers and printers.
- Be smart about using resources (paper, pencils, supplies).
- Reduce the use of projectors.
Other Student-Led Initiatives
- In tandem with the energy conservation, students are leading the charge to recycle glass. Mack-Littleton students learned that most of the glass put into single stream recycling actually ends up in landfills! Of course, once our students learned that, they decided they must take action! During April, 2016, our students have been collecting glass recycling from our community and to-date have already collected more than 220 pounds of glass and kept it out of landfills. If that glass had stayed in single stream recycling, only 38-40 pounds would have been recycled.
- Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Mack-Littleton was able to install a greenhouse on campus and students are using this tremendous learning tool to cultivate organic greens and plants. This discovery has led to the planning and development of terracing on the hill by the greenhouse to help with water run-off and create additional space for plant growth.
- Through the collective vision of a Smart Village – an idea which encompasses personal community, technology, sustainability and manifests as a true learning community for all participants – Mackintosh Academy-Littleton students are leading the way in developing meaningful, targeted environmental action. As such, we are about to start construction on our Smart Center. This addition to the main administration building will become a hub for community meetings and collaborative work in a sustainable architecture.
- In an example of our student-led inquiry and action, a student came to the Head of School concerned that in order to build the Smart Center, a tree would have to be cut down. The student expressed confusion about this apparent conflict of interest, “How can we be sustainable, yet cut down a tree to build a building?” In guided conversation, and consultation with a contractor, it was discussed that the tree could be moved, or, we could plant another tree. The student is now researching the type of tree we have to determine whether moving or replacing the tree makes the most sense.
The future of our school is bright because of Mackintosh Academy students and their Keen Minds, Compassionate Hearts, and Global Action.
~Samara Rasmussen, Director of Development at Mack-Littleton