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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 the charter agreement:


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 unnatural ingredients. 


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.  In addition to organic, low salt, low sugar, and no preservatives, they should also offer vegetarian and vegan options for your children.


And one other 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? 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.  


Update-it appears that they are advertising that students will have daily PE class and get their 60 minutes of exercise.  Yay! 



 Volunteering

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.


GreenWood Founder's Story!
Because GreenWood is my baby I want to ensure that the leadership of the school is being held to the promises made to the State and 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 hope that the current board members have read it. The charter application, once approved becomes an agreement 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/teachers 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.                                             

Stephanie Howerton - Board Chair

Janette Burnett - Trustee




Board of Directors

It would be nice to see board members nominated and voted in by the parents - not by other current board members (as currently written in the charter).  Current board members were hand-picked by the director and board chair. In the beginning we didn't have parents to nominate into those positions 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 possesses the qualifications for that position."  

Based on their website information,  I don't currently see a formal educator, or an accountant on the board.  These board members 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.  That's why it was written into the charter agreement 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.  Having an educator sitting on the board 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?                                                                           The thought was to have an educated and passionate board who understands all aspects of the school and doesn't just rely on the director for direction.  The board should oversee 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

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 along with health and wellness.


I am disappointed that the school website went 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. 

Domain Name:GREENWOODCHARTER.ORG
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, LLC (R91-LROR)

I wanted GreenWood to be built and sustained on high integrity.  Sometimes it's not only what we do but what we don't do that we are also accountable for.  I believe that if a school is going to teach children about environmental responsibility then the school must also operate using environmentally sound practices - not only when the 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.  



Diversity

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 our 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.  Ideas become stagnant and growth is slow when we stay rooted around those who think the same or have the same beliefs. This is a community school - not a marriage. 
(picture from Brock Elementary School-Canada)
Natural Playground
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!!!

A low ropes course was in the plans to be built on the property that would allow students to improve their skills in communicating, teambuilding, taking risks, trust, integrity, and supporting each other through experiential learning.  

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:


"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." ~ Thomas Edison