School districts present commitment to sustainable schools in Naperville area

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On Monday, February 19, the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Taskforce (NEST) held its monthly meeting in the Naperville Municipal Building cafeteria due to early voting.  NEST welcomed representatives from School Districts 203 and 204 to discuss sustainable schools.  Staff from Wight and Associates, a Darien-based architecture firm, also joined them to discuss the projects they are working on with the districts.

Naperville Community Unit School District 203 has a blueprint for sustainability efforts

Melanie Brown, the Director of Buildings and Grounds for District 203, started the presentations by reviewing the Focus203 Strategic Blueprint and how the district’s environmental sustainability efforts tie into it. 

  1. Implement a multi-tiered system of support for college, career, and life readiness
  2. Implement a comprehensive social-emotional learning plan
  3. Implement a comprehensive equity plan 
  4. Ensure long-term financial stability
  5. Build two-way communication and community engagement opportunities

Brown stressed the district’s commitment to creating a long-term plan to reduce its carbon footprint by undertaking several initiatives to create sustainable schools, including high-efficiency equipment upgrades, a focus on indoor air quality, and implementing environmentally friendly food services and transportation practices. 

How is Indian Prairie School District 204 working towards a more sustainable Naperville?

Matt Shipley, the Chief School Business Official from Indian Prairie School District 204, continued the presentation by going over the challenges a district of its size faces regarding sustainability. He focused on sustainability efforts in transportation, food service, and landscaping, including transitioning to electric boilers, chemical-free cleaning, and planting trees. The district has also undertaken initiatives to reduce paper usage and lunchroom waste.

Wight & Company’s vision for working with Naperville area school districts

Rick Dewar from Wight & Company went into detail about the company’s great history of sustainability with both districts and how its strategy revolved around five planning considerations with examples of how each consideration tied into the districts’ sustainability efforts:

  1. Safety and Security Measures
  2. IPSD Investment in Infrastructure
  3. Learning Environments
  4. Consistent and Equitable Improvements
  5. Operational Efficiency

NEST advances environmental goals within Naperville

NEST ended the presentation by inviting questions from the audience, including members of NEST’s Youth team, many of whom are working with NEST on sustainability projects in the community.

The Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force, a recognized Task Force of the City of Naperville, comprises residents committed to fostering clean energy initiatives and advancing environmental goals within Naperville.

You can also watch the January NEST presentation about Naperville’s challenges in reliably providing electricity to over 62,000 customers.  NEST’s next meeting is March 18.  

Watch more community events in Naperville here.