Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools. On April 11th, 2019 the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities.
Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems. Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.
The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools.
Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation. The 2019-2020 themes are:
Fall (September – November): The Value of Energy and Water
Winter (December – February): Understanding Our Energy and Water Use
Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.
2019-20 Education and Outreach
Winter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use
Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?
We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?
There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!
Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.
Winter Quarter Tips:
Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
Turn the water off when not in use.
If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!
Fall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water
The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water. Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.
In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit. It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.
Buford members of the National Junior Honor Society are living the five tenets of the NJHS: Everyday Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship!
Recently, the students volunteered to help with the Toy Lift Charlottesville, an annual toy drive that collects and distributes thousands of toys for local area children during the holiday season.
The students are also selling Candy Cane Grams to benefit SARA of Cville, a local non-profit agency that provides support to families and students.
Advisor Susan Muse says these community service activities help students understand “the power of one” and the positive impact they can have in our world by doing one thing, small or large, to make our community better.
The National Junior Honor Society recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.
A joint committee from Charlottesville Schools and Albemarle County Public Schools will review the feedback and then present a recommendation to the School Boards in December. After School Board consideration, a vote will be held in January.
Comments about the calendar:
Spring break: Our practice is to designate the first full week of April as our spring break. We are sometimes asked, Can’t you align spring break with U.Va.’s? U.Va.’s spring break is typically near the beginning of March, which for K-12 students would make for a very long stretch without a break later in the spring. So while we recognize that this would be a good solution for U.Va. families, we feel that it doesn’t represent the interests of all our students and staff. A 2016 survey indicated that a majority of respondents favored keeping spring break during the first week of April.
Religious Holidays: Our practice is not to observe religious holidays as school holidays (but we do try to avoid scheduling evening events on major religious holidays). Students or staff who wish to be absent to observe a religious holiday are allowed to do so. For the 2020-21 school year, a professional learning day falls on Yom Kippur. This might be a benefit to Jewish families but might present a conflict for Jewish teachers and staff (who are welcome to take a personal day off but would miss the professional learning day). We welcome your input on this draft.
History about the calendar development: For over a decade, the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school divisions have worked together for a common calendar. A joint committee creates a draft calendar, and then we ask for input from students, teachers, administration, and parents. If necessary, the committee makes revisions to the draft before submitting a recommended calendar to the two school boards for approval.
Buford girls volleyball finished the season with a win over Collegiate School, ending 16-2, the best season record in school history. Some of the team’s triumphs included Collegiate School in Richmond, local private schools Covenant School and Tandem Friends, and area public schools WIlliam Monroe and Prospect Heights. Way to go, girls!
During the historic season, players were inspired when they attended a women’s volleyball game at UVA and then had the opportunity to talk with UVA Head Coach Aaron Smith about college volleyball.
The Walker Buford United PTO is looking for volunteers for several upcoming events at each school. Please visit their new website and join their Facebook Group to learn more!
The Walker Fall Book Fair will be held during parent conferences on the evenings of November 6 – 7 and during the school day from November 7 – 13. Volunteers are needed to help ring up purchases and supervise sales. Think about recruiting a friend or fellow parent to make it an extra fun volunteer shift. Thanks for whatever you can do!
Other upcoming events include Walker iSTEM Night and Walker International Night. More details will be posted soon on the PTO Facebook page and web site.
Buford Middle School and City Schoolyard Garden recently hosted the 10th anniversary of the annual Fall Harvest Festival to celebrate the school garden’s bountiful harvest and the people that make it happen.
“The Harvest Festival brings our community together to appreciate everything the garden brings—teamwork, leadership, exploration, discovery and, of course, the wonderful vegetables, herbs, and flowers that the students grow,” said CSYG Executive Director Jeanette Abi-Nader.
Open to all City of Charlottesville families, the Harvest Festival offered garden tours, face painting, scavenger hunts, a petting zoo, and a local artisan marketplace selling wares such as jewelry and homemade jam. Additionally, food vendors were on site, including the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) food bus.
Since the garden at Buford was established in 2010, more than 260,000 youth interactions have been logged, providing a rich opportunity for learning year round. Meanwhile, the city schools now have nine gardens thanks to nearly $2.5 million in grants and individual donations, along with financial support from over 1000 businesses and school division funds.
“The evolution of our programming is a powerful testament to the role of the garden in the community and the identity of our school system,” said Abi-Nader. “Now we have urban gardening classes at CHS, Garden Aide classes at Buford, and regular outdoor learning opportunities at all six elementary schools.”
The gardens also provide cross-curricular learning such as ESL classes learning English vocabulary, science classes using the garden for lab experiments, and art classes painting gourds.
Eleventh-grader Manny Quezada began volunteering in the Buford garden when he was still in elementary school. He became a garden aide when he was in middle school, and he spent this past summer as a garden intern. Whether planting seeds, picking weeds, or harvesting his favorite green beans, Manny’s garden work has cultivated a love for the outdoors and appreciation for healthy foods.
“I had an option to work in the garden or go to PE class, and I chose the garden,” said Quezada. “It is rewarding to be able to enjoy the sunshine, relax, and see the results of my hard work.”
The first Harvest Festival nearly a decade ago had 20 visitors, and now the festival attracts over 600 attendees. The free dinner traditionally features the winning dish of Buford’s Veggie Cookoff, a friendly competition among students who create dishes using a special ingredient. Last year, the special ingredient was eggplant, and the winner was eggplant meatballs and pasta. This year’s special ingredient was tomatoes.
The festival was the kick-off event for the 2019 Charlottesville Healthy Schools Week and VA Farm to School Week, October 7-11. During the week, students in all nine of the city schools will participate in special programming that includes garden activities, visits from farm animals, and made-from-scratch lunches made with local ingredients provided by area farmers through Local Food Hub.
Locally-sourced lunch menu offerings will include:
Monday: apples and pears
Tuesday: fresh salsa, apples and pears
Wednesday: Fresh herb baked chicken, yellow squash, tossed salad, apples and pears
The forum was an opportunity to engage in dialogue about planning and implementation of recent adopted changes across the district. A panel of school representatives included school principals Dr. Adam Hastings (Walker), Dr. Jesse Taylor (Buford), and Dr. Eric Irizarry (CHS). Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about division-wide changes such as unleveling and differentiation, as well as other topics such as the gifted education program and how to become more involved with the PTO.
The next Walker Buford United PTO meeting will be at Buford School on Wednesday, October 9 at 6 p.m.
We are excited to announce a new and combined parent teacher organization that includes Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School. Walker Buford United will support both schools today and lay the groundwork for a strong PTO during and after our future school reconfiguration.
For more, please read the following announcement that was published in the first Walker Buford United PTO newsletter:
Dear Parents and Community of Walker and Buford:
With August 21 right around the corner, we are getting excited for the return of our amazing students!
We have been hard at work this summer preparing for a successful fall in both schools. Our minds and efforts have been focused on two important areas: instruction and community building. We want Walker and Buford to be safe, positive, and fun schools in which every child has the opportunity to grow and learn. As principals, we are committed to equity in our schools: more than options and access, we want to ensure that every child meets her or his full potential.
We are particularly excited by the merging of our two Parent Teacher Organizations. This is a very important step in easing the transition between Walker and Buford as we develop shared practices, communication, and parent support. This will be real work. Together, we have an entire community to bring together in our schools. With over 1,300 students, we have important work to connect each family and our PTO. We greatly appreciate the support of the new PTO and look forward to engaging all of our community in supporting our schools.
With hope for a wonderful school year, Dr. Adam Hastings, Principal, Walker Upper Elementary Dr. Jesse Turner, Principal, Buford Middle
For more information about our fall, winter, and spring sports seasons at Buford Middle School, please visit our new Buford Middle School Athletics web page. Find our sports calendar, VHSL athlete physical forms, parent/athlete concussion education, and more.
Also follow us on Twitter at @BufordTrojans for up-to-date details about our program and teams throughout the season.