U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Applications

Wisconsin participates in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program. Schools, districts, and early learning centers seeking nomination must submit an online application by December 1 each year. Applications are reviewed each winter, and winners are announced close to Earth Day each spring.

The award recognizes schools, districts, early learning centers, and IHEs* that:

· Reduce environmental impact and costs;

· Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and

· Provide effective environmental and sustainability education.

The online application is the same one used for Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin. The application can be completed over time and not all questions need to be answered.

For questions, contact Victoria Rydberg, DPI Environmental Education Consultant at (608) 266-0419.

Two Grant Opportunities from The Meemic Foundation!

Do you know of a school in need? Whether it’s your child’s school, a former school you attended or a local school in your community, you have an opportunity to show your support by nominating them for a $500 For Our Schools grant that they can use exclusively at Office Depot, Inc. Find out more at MeemicFoundation.org/ForOurSchools.

Need new math manipulatives? Microscopes? Art supplies? A special school-wide speaker? Whatever the need, our third quarter Traditional grant provide

s funding up to $500. Get details at MeemicFoundation.org/Traditional.

Not a Meemic Foundation Club Member? It’s free and exclusively available to all school employees. Sign up today at MeemicFoundation.org/Register.

Applications accepted Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2018.

Get Ready for Flue Season – Fireplace and Chimney Safety

By Meemic Insurance

When smoke travels up a chimney, some of it condenses into creosote, which is a tar-like substance that will build up over time. The creosote sticks to the flue and creates a major fire hazard in the chimney as it builds up.

If a fire occurs in a chimney, there are extremely high temperatures that will cause the flue to crack. Any cracks in a chimney will create serious health threats for family members because of the carbon monoxide that is drawn into the home. This substance is normally supposed to be vented out through the chimney. It is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly for family members and pets.

Chimneys should be inspected professionally every year and should also be cleaned by a professional at least once every year. The National Fire Protection Association has created several levels of inspection, which resulted in the NFPA 211 code. It is a standard for fireplaces, chimneys, appliances that burn solid fuel and vents. The NFPA 211 is the standard that all certified chimney sweeps use whenever they are hired to clean chimneys.

Level I Inspection

This level of inspection is recommended when a chimney is easy to access and the homeowner plans to maintain it as is. During a Level I inspection, the chimney sweep will verify that the structure of the chimney is sound and that is also free of obstructions or creosote.

Level II Inspection

If a new heating appliance has been added or an existing one has been modified to burn a different type of fuel, the chimney must have this type of inspection. This level of inspection is also necessary after a property has been sold or if something happened that would have probably caused damage to the chimney. Level II inspections include the same points covered in the previous level as well as crawl spaces, basements and parts of attics. In some cases, this type of inspection may also include performance tests such as pressure or smoke tests. An interior video inspection of the chimney may be conducted if it is deemed necessary.

Level III Inspection

If the previous levels’ inspections result in the suggestion of a hidden hazard and evaluations cannot be performed without accessing areas that are concealed, this type of inspection is necessary. It verifies proper construction and conditions of any portions of the chimney and flue that are concealed. Level III inspections may be necessary if an incident damaged a building to the point its chimney had to be inspected.

Annual inspections are important, but it is also helpful to consider purchasing a metal chimney liner. These liners are designed to protect the inside of the chimney from corrosion, which is the result of combustion byproducts building up. Chimney liners are made from aluminum or stainless steel and may be used for repairing existing chimneys. These items are U.L. tested, so they are both safe and durable if they are installed and maintained properly. For chimneys over gas, oil or wood-burning units, stainless steel liners are used. Aluminum is only suitable for some gas applications. In addition to the liners, high-temperature insulation must be used to ensure safety.

For more fireplace safety tips, visit www.Meemic.com/FireplaceSafety.

How will you Thank a Teacher?

How will you #ThankATeacher?
Michelle Mueller, Principal of Wisconsin Connections Academy

As a former educator and current administrator, there’s nothing more motivating than seeing students thriving and making connections with their teachers. With Teacher Appreciation Week taking place May 7-11, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by an incredible network of educators who let their dedication and love for teaching shine through every day.

Teachers give so much to students—from a quick boost of confidence to helping understanding a concept that’s causing them trouble—educators are always there. I can think of several occasions where my fellow educators took the time to support me when I needed it. This Teacher Appreciation Week, I encourage you to take a moment to thank your colleagues, past educators and administrators for the commitments and differences they are making, each and every day.

Here are a few ideas to #ThankATeacher this Teacher’s Appreciation Week:

• Share content using the hashtag #ThankATeacher on social media. Have a little fun by sharing photos and stories with the #ThankATeacher hashtag across social media. Many organizations will be hosting contests and other activities, so take some time to join in on the festivities.

• Let teachers know how their teaching connects with students’ lives. Taking a moment to acknowledge how a teacher is impacting a student’s life in a positive way is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give. Simply knowing that you’re making a difference is more valuable than any present could be.

• Get in touch. Whether it’s in person or virtually, take the opportunity to check in and say ‘thanks’ to an educator who has made a difference in your life. This simple action acts as a reminder of how big of an impact teachers make in our lives.

• Take advantage of these fun (and free) resources. The National PTA does a spectacular job of raising awareness and encouraging engagement throughout the week. This year, they’re offering everything from editable teacher appreciation certificates to social media profile graphics.

• Continue showing your thanks. Just because Teacher Appreciation Week ends doesn’t mean the thanks need to stop! We all know the rewarding boost from a quick compliment or a simple hello, so continue the movement throughout the year.

School isn’t just a place for learning, it’s a place for building community. At WCA, teachers are the foundation of our success. Our teachers take care of families, they get to know the learning style, skills, and personalities of our students. We take the time to build relationships with student’s parents. It’s a thrill to have the opportunity to work with families and really get to know them. I recently had a student who graduated four years ago call and say ‘you made a difference in my life’ – and that tells me that we’re doing something right. So please, take a moment to thank a teacher in your life. They deserve it.