In April 2023, the Michigan Senate passed two fundamental bills - “Filter First” (SB0088, SB0089) - for ensuring safe drinking water in K-12 schools and daycare facilities state-wide. The bill is being considered in the House. Michigan would be the first state to pass this critical legislation to ensure that youth have access to high quality, cost effective, lead-free drinking water.
The vision of this CIVIC project is to pilot and scale technical and sociotechnical methods that bring sound science and engineering, community knowledge-centered pedagogy, and youth-centered agency to monitoring systems that algorithmically predict lead breakthrough in water fountain (hydration station - HyS) filters without relying on manufacturer recommendations.
Community Knowledge Inspired Decisions for Schools (Community KIDS) represents a transdisciplinary team that is dedicated to creating healthy school learning environments inspired by the needs, questions, and desires of the kids who inhabit them. Our approach recognizes that the sustained involvement and local knowledge of trusted individuals is critically necessary for any technological solution to be effectively implemented and maintained over time. Our approach emphasizes youth-centered agency and open data to reverse normalized “top-down” management and communication practices around water quality, particularly in LMI communities.
Over the course of our NSF award, we have developed the predictive water quality model for lead filter replacement in HyS units at partner schools and piloted teacher-designed learning models around water quality using youth-centered educational methods that address student questions and concerns as part of trust-building. We continue to engage with UM partners in the School of Education to further develop this learning module, and ultimately seek to scale the project to more partner schools. Lastly, we hope to translate our efforts with a pipeline program to support a more diverse water workforce via higher education and job training in the water sector and related fields.