Project FROG, a bay area startup, has been achieving some amazing numbers with its environmentally friendly modular classrooms. A two million dollar budget got Watkinson School 3,500 square feet of classroom space built from 50 percent recycled material. The building is outfitted with 60 solar panels that reduce the electricity costs to zero (in fact it produces more energy than the building uses). And because of the modular design, the project took only six months to complete.

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In a Journal article John Bracker, principal of that Watkinson School, said his ‘frogs’ are “the idea of a building as a teaching tool and not just a building.” Which speaks to the fact that with most of Project FROG’s buildings, the teachers are so inspired by the environment in which they teach that the classroom becomes part of the curriculum. Students in turn are taught lessons that incorporate sustainability, conservation and environmental awareness.

Many schools are now looking to companies such as Project FROG in order to replace the portable trailers generally provided by the state. One school administrator at the Jacoby Creek Charter School who was interested in replacing his school’s “ugly, poorly lit portables,” which he describes as a “horrid learning environment,” found Project FROG‘s structures most appealing. At virtually no cost to his school (due to a matching grant) he was able to find a balance between the impact on his school’s budget and the environmental impact of the proposed new buildings.

There is another number associated with Project FROG‘s buildings that is challenging traditional stick built classrooms. According to a Heschong Mahone Group study, kids in schools that employ the kind of environmentally aware practices that come standard in Project Frog’s modular buildings score up to 25% higher on standardized than those in non-green environments. Which is hopefully a number the score obsessed Board of Ed will find difficult to ignore.

+ Project FROG

via THE Journal