Portable Classrooms: Creating Flexible Classrooms

Portable Classrooms: Creating Flexible Classrooms


Portable classrooms are an innovative solution that creates a productive learning environment and caters to new and changing populations. They ensure the extension of learning activities during school renovations, new school construction or emergency situations. Portable classrooms are also known as modular classrooms and are equally useful as daycares, training facilities or professional offices.

What is a portable classroom?

A white portable classroom with a playground out front

July 2016 rebuild after earthquake in April

A portable or modular classroom refers to a building that is constructed off-site in a factory setting. What this means is that the materials used in the construction of the building and the entire process of construction take place within a factory. Instead of bringing them to the site to begin construction where the classroom is intended to be.

Once the classrooms have undergone full construction, they are shipped in parts (or whole if possible) to its future location.

What are the benefits of portable classrooms?

Portable classrooms are famous for specific reasons, and below are some of the reasons why there is a need for these modern building designs.


Portable classrooms are derived from the fact that they are highly flexible and can quickly be moved from one place to another. They are highly suitable for schools that need additional space, especially in an emergency situation.This means is they can be delivered to a school for temporary use and removed once the need for them is no longer necessary.  Also, the school also has the luxury of moving the classroom to any other area of choice. Such benefits are not associated with traditional buildings.


As the population increases, the number of students or people gaining admission into schools also increases to a level that sometimes chokes the schools.  The schools need to find a quick solution to the new challenge considering that they have to keep up with the curriculum and academic calendar. Portable classrooms may prove to be the best way to address the challenge posed by a growing student body. Since they take less time to build and deliver, depending on the urgency of the problem. Thanks to modern technology, it will take less than 10 weeks to develop and provide a portable classroom.

Portable Building with ramp and stairs

Rock Creek Elementary in Oregon

Different design options

Another excellent reason why portable classrooms are so famous is the numerous design options from which you can choose. It doesn’t matter if you are leasing or purchasing a portable classroom; there is always a style or pattern for you. You can get a turn-key classroom which is portable classrooms with furniture and fittings included to meet the need of your school. You can ask the manufacturer to customize your design just the way you want it. This includes HVAC systems, safety rails, ADA ramps, decks, and security systems where necessary. With portable classrooms, there is no end to design options.

Relatively affordable

Of course, all housing units are costly, but a portable classroom (though not always cheaper) is quite affordable and cost-effective, compared to traditional buildings. The amount you will spend for a portable classroom will largely depend on the level of customization you want. You can easily cut down on cost by purchasing or leasing an existing portable classroom, instead of going all out for a new one. If ever you’re worried about damaging the structures in transit, you have to put that aside. Portable classrooms are designed to be extremely sturdy, and a used one is a great way to save a ton on your budget.

Therefore, considering portable classrooms is a great idea. Plus they have great benefits in a growing community.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery

Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery

First response

Media coverage

Whenever disaster strikes a city or community, its devastating effects dominate the news. Footage and images of properties damaged, distress of victims fills TV screens and airwaves. Sometimes the emergency can remain in the news for more than one or two weeks, which means a long-term coverage.

Evolution of emergency response and disaster recovery

Here is the history of preparing for and responding to natural or human-made disasters in the United States. It dates back to the time when the US was born as a nation, but the process started taking organizational shape in the 20th Century. Prior to this time, cases of disasters were handled “case by case,”. This is mostly backed by the Congressional Act providing different compensation to the victims who suffered from disasters. Examples of disasters that saw government emergency response were Portsmouth, NH Christmas Fire of 1808 and the very devastating Galveston Hurricane and Flood of 1990.

Pres. Jimmy Carters portrait

Pres. Jimmy Carter

After a series of government efforts to respond to the disasters, they saw the formation of different agencies. From the 1940s to 1970s, President Carter signed an executive order that merges all Federal Agencies. Those dealing with disaster preparedness and response issues were placed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979.

From that time till date, all disaster issues and emergency response are handled by FEMA.

Phases of Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response

Each disaster that happens is a unique occurrence that demands careful assessment. Bearing in mind that response and recovery may take time, it is critical to creating a strategic plan. These responses are aimed at identifying and helping the most vulnerable and severely affected people.

Although the stages of recovery don’t always follow a precise cut-out procedure, below are several phases that unfold. This is as affected communities start to rebuild their lives after disasters.

Critical Search and Rescue

Rescuers searching for survivors in rubble

Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue is always the first disaster recovery phase that takes place after a disaster has struck. It usually requires a fast response which can last into hours or even days to save lives in imminent danger. After a few days, this phase traditionally elapsed to pave the way for providing support for survivors. An example is the search and rescue mission undertaken by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Prompt Emergency Relief

The second phase of the emergency response and disaster recovery is the provision of emergency relief. It begins immediately after the disaster has occurred and when search and rescue operations have come to a close. The emergency relief phase brings foods, water, clothing, medicine and shelter to surviving victims of the disaster. It gives prompt and serious medical attention to people with severe injuries.

Emergency relief can go on for a long time or may end abruptly. It depends on the nature and scope of damage caused by the disaster.

Quick or Early Recovery

When it comes to recovery, the population that is affected is in a better and stable condition. They have access to food and water and temporary shelter where they can cope with wind and rain. People start going about their daily activities. Children start going to school again, although classes may be held in tents or churches, etc. While the entire affected population may not have completely recovered, they have started adapting to a new way of living.

A lot of people being housed in a stadium after Hurricane Katrina disaster

Astrodome in Houston 2005. Housed 15,000 people

The early recovery phase can last for weeks, months or even some few years. This depends on the initial communities vulnerability, resources available and sense of adaptability.

Medium to long-term disaster recovery

This phase involves the construction of permanent physical structures that will replace tents, plywood shelters, and trailers. This is to mirror what used to be as they try to get back to normal. With the commencement of building permanent structures, the social foundation of community is being reinforced and strengthened. Adults now have the opportunity to improve their means of living and restore their family’s economies. Children can return to schools with permanent buildings as they build. The society is now beginning to feel stable and safe once again.

We are all first responders

Back in 2017, FEMA showed us that we are all first responders. “FEMA has a central role in both response and recovery efforts as the federal government’s coordinator of emergency management operations. But that role is often misunderstood, with FEMA being viewed as a first responder rather than an extension of state and local capabilities.” Don’t forget that as a community and individuals we can do our part.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Women History Month: Mary Katherine Goddard

Women History Month: Mary Katherine Goddard

Women in History


A picture of Mary Katherine Goddard at the printing pressThere is none that can talk about the history of US postal services without mentioning the contribution of Mary Katherine Goddard. She is a woman of impeccable character and an exceptional track record as a printer, newspaper publisher, and a postmaster.

Life & work of Mary Katherine Goddard

Mary Katherine was born was born to the Goddard family in New London, Connecticut, on June 16, 1738. She lived most of her life in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1774 down to 1816 when she died at the age of seventy-eight.

Mary Katherine’s father died in 1762, prompting Mary and her mother to join up with her brother, William Goddard. He owned a printing shop in Providence, R.I. it was here that Mary and her mother started their careers as printers. Mary Katherine was involved in the publishing of the weekly Providence Gazette. This process continued until the end of 1768 when she later teams up with her brother’s printing office located in Philadelphia. It’s in Philadelphia that Mary Katherine published the Pennsylvania Chronicles. Although the publication usually appears in the name of her brother, it was Mary Katherine that manages the shop. It happened to be one of the largest in the entire colonies.

Example of the Providence Gazette

Providence Gazette

Together Mary Katherine’s professional life as a printer, publisher, and postmaster was bound with her brother, William. After they both worked together in Providence and Rhode Island, William started a new business in Baltimore in May 1773. It became Baltimore’s first newspaper, the Maryland Journal. Following the closure of the shop in Philadelphia in February 1774, Mary Katherine moved permanently to Baltimore. She then became the sole manager of the new plant and newspaper.

On May 10, 1175, the Maryland Journal officially recognized what has become a norm when that year’s issue read “Published by M.K Goddard.” Katherine proved to be a reliable, impersonal newspaper editor and was the only printer Baltimore had during the Revolution. January 1777 witnessed the publication of the first version of the Declaration of Independence to include all of the Congressional signatures—all from the printing press of Mary Katherine Goddard.

Respect Earned

Mary successfully managed the day-to-day operations in Baltimore. In 1775, she was named Baltimore’s postmaster because of her abilities and excellent track record. She was the first woman to have held such a post in the colonies. Also, the last to hold such a position after the declaration of independence. Mary Katherine continued as Baltimore’s postmaster for fourteen years until she was discharged against her will in October 1789. The excuse was that someone was needed to manage the southern department of the postal system. She was discharged because the authorities felt the responsibility involved much traveling which is not for a woman.

Over two hundred businessmen in Baltimore endorsed Mary and supported her petition to the Postmaster General to retain her position. This shows how much respect she had from others. Mary remained in Baltimore where she continued her operation between1809-1810. Then her bookshop started operating as a partner of the printing business.


Mary Katherine passed on in Baltimore at the age of seventy-eight, was buried in Saint Paul’s Parish graveyard. Mary received lots of tributes both from her brother and from letters written by eminent people like Thomas Jefferson and Ebenezer Hazard.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

History of General Services Administration (GSA)

History of General Services Administration (GSA)

Introduction—what is the General Services Administration?

The General Services Administration (GSA) is an executive agency of the US government responsible for managing equipment and property. It was established in 1949 and was tasked with the mandate of purchasing and distributing supplies to all government agencies.  This includes maintaining supplies of important materials. Among its functions, the GSA oversees the construction of government buildings.  As well as maintaining the various computers and communication devices used by the Federal Government.

Historical perspective of the GSA

July 1, 1949, saw the birth of the GSA.  This was made possible by US President, Harry Truman. Truman created and established the agency to streamline the tedious and administrative work of the Federal Government. The creation of the GSA saw the consolidation of various agencies of government into one federal agency.  This included:  Public Building Administration, National Archives Establishment, the Office of Contract Settlement, the Bureau of Federal Supply, the federal Work Agency and the War Asset Administration.

Portrait of Harry Truman 1945

Pres. Harry S. Truman

GSA Events from the 1950s to 1960s

As the GSA took charge of government daily administrative needs, it ramped up its efforts in the 1950s by overhauling the White House. It was an effort to restructure and reorient the internal administrative affairs of the government towards achieving good service delivery and thorough maintenance. Thus, the GSA engaged in emergency preparedness by stockpiling materials that will be used in war times. The GSA retained various emergency and management functions that weren’t overhauled until they were later handed over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979.

A government-wide intercity system—the Federal Telecommunication System–was created by the GSA in 1960. The problem of obsolete office buildings was addressed in 1962.   The Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space recommended a major new building program for better offices in Washington DC. That led to the construction of most of the office buildings that now dominate Independence Avenue.

 Further events in the 1970s to 1980s

After the major progress made in the 1960s, President Nixon came onboard.   In 1970, his administration created the Consumer Product Information Coordinating Center, which later became the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC). The body was responsible for the distribution of millions of consumer information publications from its facility located in Pueblo, Colorado.

The Federal Buildings Fund was established, in 1971.  It became operational in 1974 after the GSA gave out its rent bills for the first time to federal agencies. The GSA continues to deliver on its powers.  In 1972, it established the Automated Data and Telecommunications Service.  AA star with a red and white flag logo for Federal Citizen Information Centerfter 10 years, it later transformed into the Office of Information Resources Management.

The GSA also Created the Office of Federal Management Policy in 1973, and in 1978.  It centralizes procurement policy through its Office of Acquisition Policy.

After the GSA introduced the use of charge cards to the federal government in 1984, with over 3 million cardholders on its Smartpay Program, the GSA opened its first ever child care center in 1987.  The body now manages over 110 federal child care facilities covering over 8,000 children across the country.

GSA performance in the modern era

In 1994, the GSA through its Public Building Service introduced the Designed Excellence Program.  This was in order to guide its selection of engineers and architects for major government projects. The Courthouse Management Group formed by the GSA in 1995 duly managed courthouse constructions.

Since the year 2000, GSA showed they embraced new technology and innovations like the internet for effective running of government activities. The GSA uses the internet to aid the administration of President George W. Bush in 2001, 2007 and 2009, under subsequent administrations.  Also in line with global trends.

The year 2010 and 2013 saw the GSA completing over 500 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects across all 50 states, as well as increased IT spending. The GSA also introduced lots of initiative programs from 2011 to 2017.   Such as the Technology Transformation Services, which is consolidating the efforts of the agency towards technology.

The GSA has been a remarkable government that covers the national administrative life of the US government.


Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Respirable Dust Monitor History

Respirable Dust Monitor History

The need for a Respirable Dust Monitor

It wasn’t until August 1st, 2014; a groundbreaking respirable dust rule went into effect. The rule which was introduced by the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) further adds to the increased list of various protections designed for coal miners.  While effectively closing some loopholes that expose workers to unhealthy coal mine dust at the workplace.

The rules have been part of a government joined efforts aimed at monitoring and reducing the risk of respirable dust.  This dust is harmful to human health, particularly for mine workers.

The historical path to ending risk of respirable dust

Picture of the protest of end black lung--Act NowSince 2009, the battle to end or minimize the life-threatening effects of respirable dust gain momentum following the launching of the “End Black Lung–Act Now.” The campaign enables the mining industry and government watchdog agencies like the MSHA to turn from mere safety matters to critical health challenges in the mining sector. Efforts to lower silica and levels of respirable coal mine dust in the country’s coal mines were ramped up.  They have remained on track in the aftermath of the “End Black Lung—Act Now!”

Effects of the respirable coal dust rule

The respirable coal dust rule that went into effect on August 1st, 2014.  It was another indication of government efforts to curtail the negative effects of respirable dust on coal mine workers and the environment at large. During this period, dust samples results collected by the MSHA, containing this new rule, indicates that compliance can be achieved.  Most importantly, the results show that samples from the dustiest occupations in underground coal mine facilities dropped to a record low of 0.64 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) for 2016.  This was far better than the 2015 average year sample record of 0.70 mg/m3.

What the new respirable dust rule entails is that miners across the nation’s coal mines are now better protected.  This improvement is better than before from the destructive black lung diseases.

Certification testing introduced by the new rule of August 1st, 2014

The new respirable coal dust rule requires that every certified person must pass the applicable MSHA examination.  The examination demonstrates competence in sampling procedures slated under the final mark of 70.202.  Or they will undergo a competency in calibration and maintenance under a final mark of 70.203, for every three years.

Such certification and its strict application have led to a great reduction in cases of black lungs.  Seeing the general effects of respirable coal dust among mine workers reduced from 2014 till 2017. For instance, data released by the MSHA for October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, shows there were only 24 deaths recorded in more than 13,000 mines across the nation. This is the lowest from the 34 recorded in 2013.

The MSHA is currently working on a fixed certification testing schedule that will include location and time of test schedules. The third phase of the MSHA respirable dust rule took effect from August 1st, 2016, to date.

Results show that the concentration level of respirable coal mine dust in the air has been limited from 2.0 mg/m3 to 1.5 mg/m3 at the surface and underground coal mines. Also, the concentration for respirable dust is lowered from a range of 1.0 mg/m3 to 0.5 mg/m3 regarding intake air at underground mines, and for miners suffering from pneumoconiosis.



The MSHA has been making a giant stride in the quest to minimize the level of respirable coal mine dust in the air, under and around mining locations in the United States. These efforts have been a work-in-progress, spanning a period of years, with success recorded on every new sample year.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

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