Recap: High Performance Schools Summit
by Caroline Kostak
The High Performance Schools Summit was held on Thursday, September 28 to gather together stakeholders interested in developing high performance schools in Texas. In light of recent events, the summit also addressed the incorporation of resiliency strategies into school buildings to allow them to perform as community resources in the event of emergencies, as well as being important community hubs during non-emergency times.
The event kicked off with a Keynote from the City of Houston Education Director, Juliet Stipeche, who shared her recent experience of school buildings as "Shelters of Last Resort," as seen during Hurricane Harvey when districts all over Houston opened up their facilities to support their community members in need. She also discussed the importance of school buildings to the success of students and how healthy, inspiring buildings can play a key role in providing social equality to economically disadvantaged students.
Following Ms. Stipeche was Mike Dieterich, an environmental scientist with extensive experience working with DC Public Schools to turn their school buildings around from some of the worst in the country to some of the best, all while saving millions of dollars in operating costs. We also heard from a panel of architects at Gensler, Kirksey, and Rogers who reviewed case studies of projects that have saved taxpayer dollars while providing inspiring and healthy community resources in which students can thrive.
The event wrapped up with a Keynote from Anisa Heming, the Director for the Center for Green Schools. Ms. Heming first began working with the USGBC in New Orleans after Katrina, tasked with coordinating the LEED efforts of the Recovery School District. Her experience working with multiple stakeholders and a wide array of projects to incorporate green building and resiliency strategies into rebuilding efforts were timely and inspiring.
In all, the Summit provided a venue for interested parties to come together around common goals, network, and learn more about high performance schools. The conversation will continue through the Green Schools Leadership Coalition being developed. The first meeting of the coalition will be on October 31, from 11-12:30 at a TBD location. The meeting will also be webcast. Please visit www.txgreenschools.org for up-to-date information and to join the Leadership Coalition. We are seeking membership from many stakeholders: school district administration and school boards, educators, curriculum developers, architects, engineers, energy managers, legislators, associations (A4LE, TEMA, ASHRAE, TASA, TASB, etc) and more. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.