Shade Planning for Schools

41 Shade Planning for America’s Schools Chapter 6 H OW TO C ONDUCT A S HADE A UDIT The purpose of the shade audit is to document the usage patterns of the school grounds and determine the amount and quality of existing shade. All of the information collected through the shade audit will be used by the planning group to develop recommendations for making the best use of existing shade and, if required, for creating additional shade. The final product of a shade audit is a written report or presentation of the shade team’s findings and recommendations to the school community. The process includes a series of interviews, behavioral observations, and environmental observations followed by an assessment of the findings and the generation of prioritized recommendations for achieving the goals. The entire process may take as long as 1 year. The first step in the process is to conduct stakeholder interviews. Stakeholder Interviews Before the first interview is conducted, the shade planning team should produce a comprehensive list of stakeholder groups that may have an interest in, or be affected by, the resulting plan. The team should identify and invite representatives from each stakeholder group to be interviewed. Ideally, each of the stakeholder groups will be represented on the planning team; nonetheless, it will be necessary to interview members of all stakeholder groups even if they are also represented on the team. For many schools the list would include: • School administrators. • Teachers, particularly the physical education teacher. • Coaches. • School nurse. • Students. • Building maintenance staff. • Organizers of little league programs or others who may use the school grounds on weekends. • Residents of the neighborhood adjacent to the school. Interview Guides For each stakeholder group, the shade planning team should generate a list of appropriate questions to explore in the interview process. Questions should cover topics with which the interviewee is very familiar. Some may ask the interviewee to discuss outdoor activities that they observe or in which they participate. In order to get the most out of the interviews, interviewers should ask interviewees to reference the school’s site plan while describing those activities. This is a scaled drawing of the school grounds and buildings. Often such plans are prepared by surveyors or architects, and may be available from the school’s principal or the office of the superintendent of the school district. Referring to a site plan during the interview process allows interviewees to reference activities in relation to the zones and features of the school grounds and allows interviewers to record the information directly onto the site plan. Through the interview process, interviewees may identify school grounds users of whom the shade planning team was not previously aware. Such newly identified stakeholders should be added to the list of interviewees.