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Partner Blog -- The Walls DO Talk: Using the School Building as a Teaching Tool

By. Tara McNerney, Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

At Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, our green school buildings – with their abundance of natural light and brightly colored walls – are not just a home, they’re a teaching tool.

Founded in 2011 by a small group of passionate families, Mundo Verde is a sustainability-focused public charter school located in Washington, DC. We prepare our students to be global stewards with a bilingual curriculum rooted in sustainability principles. And Mundo Verde believes that we must walk the talk; we teach our students to be sustainability advocates and we strive to be as sustainable as possible in our operations.

To build a school campus that embodied our sustainability mission, we partnered with Studio Twenty-Seven Architecture Firm, a firm committed to sustainable community-driven design. In 2014 we were granted by the state a 1920s-era school building to be our permanent home. In renovating this historic building, we kept certain things such as the beautiful wood paneled floors and brick exterior, but we breathed new life into the space by literally tearing down walls to let light in and uprooting the concrete schoolyard to plant trees. The following year we built an entirely new Early Childhood annex, filled with natural light, playful colors, and a third floor outdoor courtyard. The original 1920s building was recently certified LEED Gold and the new annex LEED Platinum.

To read the rest of the blog, check out Green Schools National Network here.

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