Name of school: Alkira Secondary College
Name of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic module: Water
Written by: Stephanie Searls
Date: July 2013
Alkira Secondary College is situated on Nurture Avenue, Cranbourne North, in the new Eve Estate residential development. The school follows a “private-public partnership”, one of only a few in the state. The secondary college has sustainable modern designs and architecture in mind, including smaller learning centres within the school and incorporates open learning areas and is divided into learning communities. The term Alkira means ‘big sky’ and it is situated on a 10 hectare property and has approximately 60% of this area as natural landscapes and boosts a wetlands area. It opened in 2009 and is currently operating up to a Year 11 level with 2014 being the first year to be at capacity with all year levels running with an estimated 1100 students and approx. 90 staff. The school’s principal Ian McKenzie has embedded a school ethos that has sustainability in mind and since day one has bred sustainable views and values into the curriculum and student body. The Alkira Planeteers (our student sustainability group) was formed early 2012 and works with the SRC to facilitate environmental initiatives within the school and monitor our progress.
Alkira Secondary started its official ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic by working on the Core Module in September 2012. Our school was funded by Sustainability Victoria and facilitated by Kirsty Costa from CERES to guide and help us on our journey. Whilst working with Kirsty, we realised that our water saving infrastructure helps us achieve below the benchmark for the Water Module. So we started undertaking the Water Module as well as the Core Module.
Alkira’s water wise ways have been developed from day one of the school being built. Our great new facilities have catered for water saving systems that are becoming second nature for staff and students:
- All appliances are 4 star and use as little water as possible.
- We use water tanks to flush our toilets and water our gardens.
- Our cleaning staff use non water using techniques to keep our facilities looking amazing and clean.
- Our maintenance person uses the Building Management System to check for leaks and monitor our water usage. If a leak is detected as little water as possible is lost.
- We share the data from our Building Management System on a screen in our administration area to help educate our community.
Alkira Secondary College uses cross curricular learning outcomes to form the knowledge of why water is such a precious resource and embed this ethos into the whole school body. For example, Chemistry students study water and conduct water testing off site in Baccus Marsh and on site in our own wetlands. They learn that although we have so much water on the planet, only a small percentage can be consumed. Science classes also study the water cycle and our Year 7 students go to the water sewerage treatment plant as a part of their learning unit. Our Environmental Science students are leading the way on informing and initiating ideas for greater water saving techniques. In our curriculum, students also learn about our water infrastructure, including the use of recycled water. Our student team, the Alkira Planeteers, put water saving tips in our weekly online newsletter and put visible signage around the school.
It is a whole school approach, with staff and students working together, that keeps the water wise culture alive at Alkira Secondary College.