Sustainability and Stewardship
In keeping with our Mission Statement, MCDS seeks to challenge students "to envision and work toward a better world." We strive to create ecoliterate students who not only care deeply about the environment but are also highly motivated to take action.
The school models sustainable practices through our composting and recycling programs, our efforts to reduce electricity and gas consumption, and by raising awareness among faculty, staff, and students about the need to conserve resources.
Construction on new "green" campus spaces was completed in winter 2009. The new buildings are both a physical manifestation of and an ongoing inspiration for our commitment to creating ecologically literate students and transformative new curriculum around educating for sustainability.
The "green" features of the new spaces include:
- Daylighting: A technique to bring in more light into a building (and reduce heat). Studies show that daylighting has a positive effect on student performance versus traditional lighting.
- Improved indoor air quality: Many measures have been taken to eradicate toxic materials normally found in adhesives and paints. Carbon dioxide sensors help inhabitants know when to bring fresh air into rooms.
- Radiant heating and cooling: Our new spaces are heated by water circulating through tubes in the concrete slab flooring. This form of heating is significantly more efficient than forced air and also contributes to improved air quality.
- Rainwater harvesting: A 15,000 gallon cistern under the Lower School playground collects harvested rainwater which is then used for toilet flushing and radiant cooling in the Learning Resource Center.
- Green Roof: Drought resistant plants atop the Administration Building help to regulate the building's temperature.
Additional green features of the new buildings include solar panels for generating electricity and for heating water.
We seek to instill and nurture in students a sense of stewardship for the environment, grounded in a foundation of science and ecology. We do this by weaving a sense of connection to the natural world through the curriculum across all Divisions and grade levels.
In Lower School, students use the outdoor classroom of the Lower School Garden to learn about the planting, tending, and harvesting of food crops. Students also use the scientific inquiry process to learn about the positive impact recycling, reusing materials, and reducing consumption can have on the environment.
In Upper School science, students study the planets and learn that Earth is the only body in our solar system that appears able to support life. Upper Schoolers study biology to learn more about caring for themselves and the environment. They study environmental issues such as water use, recycling and conservation. Our Upper School garden provides teachers and students with an outdoor extension of their science labs.
By encouraging students to think critically and apply solid scientific skills, we aim to nurture an appreciation of the interconnectedness of life on our planet and an understanding of the impact of personal decisions on the common good.
For more information, contact our Sustainability Coordinator Liz Zavattero.
- In 2010, our east side campus improvements received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for schools address creating healthy spaces to support teaching and learning, with particular attention to natural light, acoustics and air quality.
- In 2013, our Learning Resource Center was named one of the "Top 10 Green Projects" in the nation by American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (more here).
- In 2015, MCDS was announced as one of the US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program award honorees. The program honors schools that excel at energy conservation and environmental education.