Principal John Marcus and Assistant Principal Chris Getchell coordinated the start of the program. Fifth grade teacher Mrs. Houston provided strong support. The PTO funded the purchase of the compost bin.
The program grows under the leadership of Principal John Marcus and Assistant Principal Chris Getchell.
Cottage Street School invites NSTAR to host the “Change A Light, Change The World Fundraiser” each year. Students are encouraged to spread the word on energy conservation and sell energy-efficient light bulbs provided by NSTAR. The school keeps 100 percent of the money collected from the fundraiser, with no limit on how much the school can earn.
The Kindergarden, under the coordination of teacher Mrs. Krasofski, started a small garden plot, growing from seed and transplanting their seedlings. Parent volunteers and their in-coming Kindergarden students watered and weeded the garden during the summer. For 2012-2013 we'd like to plant a "pizza garden" that will help serve pizza days in the school cafeteria with fresh herbs and vegetables.
The enthusiasm was so great from the carbon footprint project that the Green Team was created to continue the momentum and support ongoing student activism and environmental stewardship. Twenty-five students signed up for the Green Team, focusing on increased bottle & can recycling as well as composting of food scraps in the cafeteria. Cougar values of responsibility (for school related efforts) and respect (for the earth and its resources) are manifest in this program.
In an effort to improve the air quality surrounding the school, signs were placed by the school’s drop off areas to remind families and bus drivers to stop idling in their vehicles. Drivers who do not switch off their engines maybe fined. The school community has been grateful that many have turned off their engines while waiting to pick up or drop off their children.
Under Principal John Marcus and Assistant Principal Jackie Mann, the school completed a six week initiative exploring their carbon footprint. Every class in every grade took on a different environmental action to explore, ranging from: recycling, composting, anti-idling, water conservation and energy efficiency/clean energy production. Projects around the theme "Explore, Discover, Create" were displayed throughout the school for all to see and learn from.
The recycling program was such a success that Cottage Street School was one of only 19 schools in the state to be recognized by the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The Green Team members traveled to Boston to receive an award at the State House. See this link for the Sharon Advocate news article: http://www.wickedlocal.com/sharon/news/x855735703/Cottage-group-honored-for-program#axzz2DjqzPBDf
The school introduced recess before lunch to decrease food waste and improve student behavior. Many school districts have found that students excited about the opportunity to play outside rush through or entirely skip their lunch, leaving them hungry later in the day and creating more cafeteria waste. Schools that schedule recess before lunch report that students eat healthier lunches, waste less food, and are better behaved on the playground, in the lunchroom and in the classroom, according to an article in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management.
Walking Wednesdays was introduced as a way to promote a healthier and more environmentally-friendly way for students to get to school. Parents drop their children off at designated spots surrounding the school neighborhood where teachers and parent volunteers meet with the students and walk them to school. The students really enjoy this weekly tradition and are able to exercise before the school day begins!
In September 2011, Principal Kevin Madden and Assistant Principal Andy Zides opened the Green Team to all students and 104 students signed up (nearly 25% of the student body). With in school support from teacher Kara Burr and a parent volunteer, students met in small groups and created fantastic artwork on Apple laptops, focusing on why we recycle and compost and how this impacts our planet. A sample of this artwork can be viewed on the Cottage website, under Important Links.
This year, students are continuing the recycling and composting program with the help of parent volunteers. The 4th and 5th grade students are stepping up as Green Team Captains to lead the school’s initiatives in finding additional ways to reduce waste and protect our environment.
We started this year with a new teacher at the helm, Kelly Driscoll, and a larger group of parents supporting the program. All students at Cottage are now part of the Green Team, as we want to instill environmental values and stewardship school- wide. Each Friday morning, parent volunteers help collect the recycled paper that students from every classroom bring to the cafeteria. All kids have the opportunity to participate. The paper is then weighed and taken out to theAbitibi bin. We are in the process of developing a graph of paper recycled over time, showing how many trees we are saving when new paper is made from the paper we recycle. As of Dec 1, 2012, we have already recycled enough paper to save more than three trees!
Our efforts to compost fruit and veggie scraps in the cafeteria continue. Students in grade 5 volunteer to dispose of the compost material twice a week by bringing it to the large composting bin by the school garden at the back of the school. Parent volunteers also assist by layering thecompost bin with hay and leaves and by putting in worms to help the breakdown of organic material.
Bins for recycling plastic are also set up for 5 cent bottles, as well as non-redeemable plastic and aluminum containers. Students and staff members have been doing a great job dispensing the bottles into the correct bins.
At the Cottage Street School Fun Fair on Sunday, March 24 we educated parents and students about Waste-Free Lunch and how you can get involved with the Cottage Green Team. We provided samples of a variety of lunch kits and information on how to pack a no-hassle, waste-free lunch.
Check out the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge! blog entry to learn more!
Together, as a family, think about what your Earth Day promise might be. Can you commit to doing one thing to live more sustainably? Use the sheet on the blog as a guide. Let us know your ideas!
We started our Waste-Free Lunch kickoff by doing a baseline weigh-in of what the students are throwing away at lunch. Our goal is to make improvements and reduce the amount of garbage we generate. In the coming weeks, we will work together to educate families and students to pack a waste-free lunch and then we will repeat our weigh-ins several more times this school year. It will be fun to encourage some healthy competition between the grades! :)
Students and staff can take a sip or fill their reusable bottle. In just a few month's time the counter told us we had kept 1,000 water bottles out of landfills!
In the fall and spring we take out the Kindergarteners to see our compost and we harvest from our Kindergarten garden.
We will have a variety of fun games where you will explore, challenge yourself, and learn about ways to green our school,
a really cool upcycled crafting table, and your own green card to take home. Leave with a few exciting prizes and homemade crafts!
In the spring we take out the Kindergarteners to see our compost and we plant our Kindergarten garden. The goal is to use some of what we plant for pizza day in the cafeteria!