DC’s Greenest School Wins Obama Girls


Sidwell_2Breaking: the Obama girls will attend Sidwell Friends School in D.C.  With a name like that you know it’s
rooted in good Quaker values, but did you know it also has the best green cred in town?  From its website:

The Middle School Building
was completed in September 2006, and was awarded a LEED Platinum rating
in March 2007. It is the first K-12 school in the United States to have
a LEED Platinum rating and the first LEED Platinum building in the
District of Columbia. 

And from Educational Design and Construction Magazine:

Fifty-seven LEED points were awarded to the building. Sustainable
initiatives include a constructed wetland, which treats and recycles
waste water for grey water use in the building, resulting in a 94
percent reduction of municipal water use. The wetland is the first of
its type in Washington, D.C. In addition, the wetland and green roof
function as a programmatic component of the science curriculum. The
Middle School houses a central energy plant, which serves other campus
buildings, saving energy, operating costs and space. Energy use is
further reduced by exterior sunscreens designed to balance thermal
performance with optimum day lighting, and solar chimneys to enhance
passive ventilation. Five percent of the overall building’s electrical
demand is generated by photovoltaic panels. Reclaimed, rapidly
renewable and regionally manufactured materials used in construction
include exterior cladding from cedar fermentation barrels, greenheart
flooring and decking from pilings in the Baltimore Harbor.

is absolutely intended to be a paradigm shifting facility,” says Head
of School Bruce Stewart. “Sidwell Friends School hopes and believes
that this will change the way children are educated across the nation
and around the world.”

There’s more on Green Building News.

Illustration credit.


  1. I hope they purchased carbon credits…………On their first trip to DC OB and his better half flew on separate private jets…

    And they call this change?

    Now before you make me dig up my lawn: As much as it pains me to say this being an ultra rightwinger: Hillary will make an outstanding Secretary of State. In fact this position is much more important these days than VP.
    (except for Mr. Cheyney who I feel really pulled the strings for the last eight years).

    The (snow may cover my lawn by Monday) TROLL

  2. Well, I wish public schools were LIKE Sidwell, but there’s no way the Obama kids could be A, safe, and B, shielded from the papparazzi, at a public school. Life’s gotten a lot worse for presidential kids since Amy Carter – and her life was no picnic.

  3. Instructing children about environmental stewardship should be in every school’s curriculum.
    To have a school that walks the talk can further assist in a child’s educational development with hands on / eyes on practicum.

    I hope the children enjoy their new school.

  4. Guess they can afford the 28,000 per year per kid or whatever it is, hopefully not out of campaign funding! I’d love to see him put money into public schools to green them up too – for now, it’s mostly only for the rich.

  5. The stresses on a presidential family are something that none of us can really appreciate. I think this is an excellent choice for the girls, and I think setting an example in the ways they can is admirable. This is true for all of us. We have to try to do what we can where we are.

  6. About the Obamas and DC’s public schools, they’re big fans of the mayor and new reformist superintendent, a Teach America grad, and are expected to join the fight to improve schools city-wide.

  7. Karen, you’ve illustrated a common misconception about how public schools are funded. There’s money for instruction and money for buildings, and – at least in Oregon – neither the twain shall meet. Most instructional funding comes from the state with comparatively little coming from the Federal gov’t, despite Federal mandates, such as No Child Left Behind.

    In Oregon, finding money to build or remodel schools is the responsibility of the local school district – not the state, not the Feds. A school district must present and sell a construction bond measure to the community to raise taxes to fund the building projects.

    I, too, would love to see a push to green up public school buildings, since I think it’s a smart, long term investment, but it’s not cheap, which makes it a harder sell to the community. In the meantime, there are programs available that instruct children about environmental stewardship, many grant funded and volunteer driven. It takes more effort to find these but the rewards are rich. Years later, many of the students involved with the salmon rearing project I led at my sons’ elementary school still remember the lessons learned.

  8. In New York the local schools are responsible for capital improvements but if they add classrooms to NEW WINGS the state pays for up to 90%. So here in Coxasackie we are being railroaded a twnty million dollar expansion in our three building school district that nets ony one new classroom!

    We home school……..so I not only get to pay $2400 in school taxes I pay $1700 for our cirriculum plus music lessons, gymnastics etc. Our schools have the right to refuse services to home schoolers and do not have to reimburse us for music lessopns etc.

    The (reeding ryteing rithmatick)

  9. Notwithstanding the problems the Obama girls might have attending private schools, sending one’s children to one teaches values that should be at odds with theirs–that we are not, in fact, equal–that the children of the rich have the right to a better start than the rest of us–that the rest of us are dangerous or frightening or not suitable playmates. No matter what the Obamas say to their children, their actions are teaching something very different.

  10. Or the Obamas could be sending the message that getting a good education is something they value for their daughters more than appearances.

    I went to a private catholic school as a kid and let me tell you my peers didn’t think that made me better than them.

    I don’t know about Michelle Obama, But Barack went to Punahou School on Oahu. http://www.punahou.edu/page.cfm?p=1315

    That might tell you something about how as a parent he would make choices for his kids.

  11. Hey a little more than off topic but Schultz is out of business.

    It was downhill after the Schultz family sold out to Spectrum Group that also ruined Peters Fertilizers as well.
    Schultz had a great line of naturals and OMRI certified oraganics under the “Garden Safe” line.

    Not to mention all the little old ladies who made Scultz what it was with their African violet food!

    The TROLL

  12. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

Comments are closed.