Shade Planning for Schools

48 Shade Planning for America’s Schools Chapter 6 effectiveness of each of the strategies. The team’s stated shade goals must be specific, both at this stage of planning and when it is time to present recommendations to the school community. The planning team should also clearly state any goals that are ancillary to providing shade, such as the construction of an outdoor classroom or the creation of a natural wildlife habitat. Matrices should be developed for each area that is being considered. Information for completing the Shade Planning Matrix may come from a variety of sources. It could be necessary to request an informal quote from a contractor if the planning team is considering a solid-roof structure. Many vendors will provide prices over the internet if the team believes that a shade cloth structure would be an effective strategy. If a natural solution is being considered, the team will want to enlist the help of their United States Department of Agriculture County Extension Service agent, who can provide information on the most appropriate trees, shrubs, and vines for each geographical area, and the rates at which the vegetation is expected to grow. The Shade Planning Matrix is Attachment C. Making Recommendations When the team has considered potential strategies for achieving their shade goals and has arrived at a consensus on a set of recommendations, their final task is to formalize them in a report to the school community. Across schools and shade planning teams, considerable variability is likely in the report format. However, several components are essential: The Rationale Besides the most important reason, that shade provides protection from the harmful effects of solar UV radiation, the rationale should include any additional benefits that could be accrued through the strategies that the shade planning team has recommended. Those benefits might include the creation of an outdoor classroom and sheltered area for active play during inclement weather, provision of shade for athletic event spectators, or the creation of a wildlife habitat. Statement of Goals With as much specificity as possible, the statement of goals should include a physical description of the location, the amount of shade needed, and a description of the activities that occur. One example is the following: The planning team has determined that there is a need to increase the amount of shade over the area of the playground bounded to the north by the south wall of the main building, to the east by the chain-link fence, to the south by the edge of the playground pavement, and to the west by the basketball courts. Based on patterns of use by the students, it is estimated that there is a need for a total of 2,500 square feet of shade. This section of the playground is home to the jungle gym and is popular for passive play as well. Because it provides an unobstructed view of the entire playground, this is where the playground monitors usually stand.