Healthy Food Options
Food today is really getting a lot of attention for being over processed, filled with harmful chemicals and preservatives, high amounts of sugar and sodium, and genetically modified organisms.
That's why when I wrote the charter,I made it a point to provide healthy menu options for students.
Here's an excerpt from our charter application:
It will be our goals to provide foods such as organic whole grains, organic vegetables, and
organic fruits, lean proteins, while eliminating chemical food colorings, preservatives, refined
sugars, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, aspartame, and other harmful and
GreenWood will work
with local farmers to bring in as much local and organic, non-GMO foods as possible.
The school lunch program also provides student and family education
regarding nutrition and basic exercise. Our school breakfast and lunch program will ensure that
every child, including those that are economically disadvantaged, will have access to at least two
nutritious meal a day.
For many parents, this is a big deal. Please make sure that the school lunch and breakfast programs give you the highest quality food and that they live up to their obligations. They should also offer vegetarian and vegan options for your children.
And one thing to remember: First Friday Family Breakfast! Yes, it's in the charter agreement that the first Friday of every month, families are invited to come enjoy a healthy breakfast with their students! What a great thing for the kids, eh? I thought so too - that's why I put it in the charter. Enjoy!
Health & Wellness
I wanted Health & Wellness to be a huge part of the GreenWood curriculum. It is written in the charter that students will receive 60 minutes of daily exercise. Thirty of those minutes may be in the form of two structured recesses while the other thirty minutes will be in the form of a thirty minute daily structured PE class.
The director told me she would not be able to fit in the thirty minute structured PE class daily but could fit it in once per week and then would rely on teachers to do several five minute stretching and brain breaks during their class each day.
Although that is a good idea to have students taking breaks and stretching during class - it should not replace the daily structured PE class that was originally put in place to allow students to stay fit and get the cardio exercise they deserve. Will all teachers actually take the time to incorporate this into the daily lessons? As a parent, I would feel better knowing that my child is heading to a PE class each day.
Page 7 of the charter application already states that 50% of class time instruction must allow children to move and stretch while learning. This is in addition to the daily 30 minute structured PE class.
Parents, it is up to you to make sure your children are given that 60 minutes of daily exercise that was promised to you in the beginning. Speak up and let the leadership know what you want and expect for your children.
As a full-time working mother, I know what it's like to get home late, make dinner, play with the kids, and get them to bed. It's no easy task.
Don't feel guilty if you are unable to contribute volunteer hours to the school.
It is against the law for any charter school in Utah to require volunteer hours.
GreenWood's GROW Commitments state that the commitments "are not just a philosophy, but an expectation of initial and continued enrollment". One of those responsibilities is to volunteer one hour per week.
Although they can expect it, by law you are not required to volunteer any hours so only do what you can do and feel ok with that. For me, it's a relief to know that I am not required to volunteer a certain number of hours each year but I can if I am able to.
There are plenty of families that have the time to contribute and other families that cannot volunteer any time at all. It should NOT have any affect on your initial or continued enrollment.
Because GreenWood is my baby I still feel the desire to ensure that the leadership of the school is being held accountable for what was promised to the State and to the parents. I will continue to watch the school's progression and post updates on this website as a reference for parents and our community.
See Standard Examiner articles below:
If you want to be an informed parent and know what was promised to you and the State, you can read the full charter application here.
I wrote the majority of this charter application and I would be interested to know how many of the current board members have read it. The charter applicaion, once approved becomes a contract between GreenWood and the State of Utah. It outlines the services that the school will provide to the students and the community. It is vital that the Governing board members know exactly what is in that charter agreement because they are responsible to ensure that the director is fulfilling those obligations. As parents, I encourage you to know what's in the charter so you can hold your board/director accountable for providing those services. Your tax dollars are paying for your child's education and you do have a voice!
For your reference, I've provided email links below to each board member. Don't hesitate to email them - they are just parents like you and me who have stepped up to volunteer for the school.
Board of Directors
I would like to see board members nominated and voted in by the parents - not by the current board members (as currently written in the charter). Current board members were hand-picked by the director and board chair. In the beginning there were no parents to nominate but going forward I hope parents will petition to have that changed.
Page 102 of the charter states: "It is the desire of GreenWood to have at least one accountant, one formal educator, and one environmental educator on the Board of Trustees at all times. When one of these positions becomes available, GreenWood shall seek to fill the position with someone who posesesses the qualifications for that position."
Currently, there is no formal educator, and no accountant on the board. Keep in mind that these are the folks in charge of governing the school. I don't doubt that passionate parents are great but I've also experienced passionate people trying to run a business without the business skills and the end up struggling as well. That's why I wrote the charter to include both passionate parents AND professionals working together.
The board's role is to set the goals for the school and the director is responsible to meet those goals and make things happen. So in my opinion, having an educator at the board level makes sense in order to oversee the director and ensure the educational goals are being met. If nobody on the board understands the educational system, who will be setting goals for the school? I would like to see an educated and passionate board who understands all aspects of the school and doesn't just rely on the director for direction. Serving on the GreenWood board myself, I have seen this first hand. Just remember that the board oversees the school director - not the other way around!
This is not the official school website but rather an informative page for parents, business, and community members. I am no longer affiliated with GreenWood Charter School.
Environmental education and stewardship is so important in today's world. That is why I chose to make it one of the focus points of the school.
I heard that GreenWood has hired an environmental teacher who used to work at the Ogden Nature Center and is supposed to be really great! That's good news.
I am disappointed that they took the school website from a GREEN hosting site that buys wind power and minimizes their carbon footprint while providing a great service (Greengeeks).... to a hosting site who you can always count on to be promiscuous and a little over-the-line in their advertising....you guessed it (GoDaddy). If you've ever seen a GoDaddy commercial - you know what I'm talking about.
Personally, for me it's about integrity, I think if you are going to teach children about environmental responsibility then you should also run your school using environmentally sound practices - not only when your actions are visible to others. Using a green hosting site is one way of showing that you're really backing up who you say you are.
Today, more than ever, it is important to work together and to appreciate and honor each other's diverse talents and skills.
I wanted diversity to be a big part of GreenWood and that's why I included it as one of the HEALTH core values. I really hope that honoring diversity remains important to the leadership of the school.
I was told by the director that studies show that marriages last longer when two people have similar interests and more in common. (We definitely have different interests and life experiences -is that good or bad?)
I'll accept that philosophy for marriage but for a community school - diversity is good. It is especially good to have a diverse leadership who can relate to all community members, students, and parents - not just those who think the same or have the same beliefs. This is a community school - not a marriage.
(picture from Brock Elementary School-Canada)
Another excerpt from the charter agreement:
Green School Yard – we feel it is important for children to explore and play in a natural
environment and that is why we will have a playground that is inspired by nature. We will
also have outdoor classroom stations where students can learn hands on about science,
math, engineering, and other curriculum.
In order to support our mission of connecting students to nature, GreenWood, will design
and build a garden and play area that allows students explore and play in a natural
environment that supports their learning, growth, and development. Our play area will
consist of natural materials and will incorporate obstacle courses, climbing areas, balance
beams, forts, digging areas, and large open areas for outdoor classroom activities.
NO PLASTIC PLAYGROUND!!!
ALSO......NO PESTICIDES SPRAYED ON THE GROUNDS. How will you know? Ask them. Let's hope they are mindful of that.
Looks like GreenWood is turning into a mindfulness school.....I love this illustration.
I'm proud to say: