Tribal Community Programs in Schools
Every child deserves a school that is a safe and healthy place to learn. Yet nearly one-fourth of schools have one or more buildings in need of extensive repair or replacement, and nearly half have been reported to have problems related to indoor air quality (IAQ). Faulty structures place students at risk for exposure to asthma triggers, mold, and other indoor pollutants. Research shows that poor IAQ harms the health and performance of students and staff.
The good news is, we can keep our children healthy at school and ensure they are learning in environments that reflect their true potential. EPA offers the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program, a free resource to support schools seeking to improve their IAQ. Eighty-five percent of schools with an IAQ management plan have used the IAQ Tools for Schools Program to create sustainable, positive change for their students. However, even a few simple actions to improve the IAQ in schools can make a difference in the lives of your community’s students. For information about developing a plan to improve IAQ in your school or school district, check out EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit.
Spotlight: Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) is working to address IAQ in schools by helping schools in their implementation of the program and facilitate learning through IAQ training. ITEP offers training workshops for teachers about IAQ, performs building assessments, and gives students internship opportunities in the area of IAQ maintenance and management with tribal environmental professionals. These efforts will help prepare the next generation of IAQ leaders and champions for tribal communities.
This work began when an ITEP member selected IAQ as a theme for a summer program attended by middle and high school level students. The program involved students coming to campus for a week of intensive learning based on an IAQ curriculum developed by Oregon State and was intended to introduce students to career-oriented approaches to a particular problem or issue. It also emphasized the scientific skills of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and added a service component in the form of a short internship program. Students, and tribal professionals serving as student mentors, received training and then visited schools to take basic IAQ measurements.
Though at first students were skeptical of IAQ as a topic, they quickly became interested. Teachers liked the idea of improving their schools and tribal professionals felt the program expanded their skill set.
- To get a closer look at ITEP’s program, visit the ITEP Website Exit. Check out the Environmental Education Outreach Program Exit to view the resources for students, education services, and tribal professionals
- ITEP also provides information about IAQ Building Assessments Exit and the Air Quality Curriculum Project Exit, which provides teachers and students with materials to use to investigate their local air quality issues.
Get connected with other school stakeholders managing their IAQ
The Schools IAQ Connector Listserve makes it easy to connect with your peers, share information, and communicate over e-mail and on the Web. This Listserve gives you the power to connect directly with other school IAQ management stakeholders who are part of the IAQ TfS National Network — from those new to IAQ management to award-winning national experts. As a member of this Listserve, you will have the power to drive the conversation about IAQ management. It’s easy to get involved — start today by sending a blank e-mail message to email@example.com or request subscription online on the Listserve Web interface. Then, check your e-mail inbox for your confirmation and membership details.
IAQ Tools for Schools National Awards Program
Whether you are just beginning to implement the IAQ Tools for Schools Program, or you have a mature, sustainable IAQ Tools for Schools Program in place, Find Local Indoor Air Quality Champions in your state.
Plan Community Programs
- Programs in Schools
- Community Programs
- Working with the Media
- Learn About IAQ
- Innovative Tribal Programs
- Tools You Can Use
We want your input
Have you planned a successful and sustainable community program? If so, we would like to know. Please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org describing the program, and that program could be highlighted on this Web page. We will follow up with the program directly to gather more information and permission to use their story.