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Green Ribbon Schools

Green Ribbon Schools

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Published by Jordan Fenster
US Education Department's Green Ribbon Schools Initiative Awardees
US Education Department's Green Ribbon Schools Initiative Awardees

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Published by: Jordan Fenster on Apr 23, 2013
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01/22/2014

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Hands-on STEM insight

At Bluejacket-Flint (BJF), staff, students, parents, and community members have
reduced their environmental impact through projects that include 52 percent
reduction in energy use by using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to
analyze energy and resource conservation; reductions in waste through composting
and recycling; and water quality protection and conservation with the installation of a
rain garden and use of native plants that do not require irrigation. All of this has led
to a fiscal savings of 29 percent savings from the baseline year in the first year and
current a 54 percent savings.

Students, over half of whom are eligible for free and reduced priced lunch, regularly
engage in school environmental and health investigations through active
participation in Kansas Green Schools and on the BJF Green Team. The BJF
Green Team leads teachers, parents and students in service learning projects for
students to log more than 150 collective service hours and improve the school
grounds, neighborhood and larger community with trash patrol, recycling drives and
landscaping projects. The BJF parent teacher association invested $50,000 in the
development of an outdoor classroom, which serves as a cornerstone of the
environmental and outdoor education at the school.

56

U.S. Department of Education - 400 Maryland Ave, SW -
Washington, DC 20202
www.ed.gov/green-ribbon-schools - www.ed.gov/green-strides

Since 2008, students have engaged in waste audits and action planning, recycling
and composting, planning and installing a rain garden and most recently, exploring
green technologies. BJF launched multiple initiatives to reduce solid waste with
school-wide recycling of more than 125 tons of paper and other materials since
2008, conserving and reusing materials to save more than 150 tons from the landfill.
The teams are connected to more than 30 local, state and national partners,
including 4-H Youth Development, Kansas Department of Health and Environment,
and Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education’s Kansas
Green Schools network.

Teams of teachers and staff have written and executed more than $45,000 in grants
to supplement the curriculum with hands-on projects and inquiry lessons and a
speaker’s bureau relating to green technology. In reading units, students interpret
environmental terms, vocabulary words and phrases as they are used in a text,
including determining technical, connotative and figurative meanings. They practice
fluency in all text types with environmental and ecological stories. Using
communications skills, students help prepare reports for the Shawnee Garden Club
on a grant to assist with the composting projects. Students spend time at Kansas
State University exploring the current use of sensor technologies, while interacting
with a scientist using researching the rainforest. Students apply and extend
arithmetic and estimation with an enterprise business unit, in which they study
markets and create their own business plans using recycled inputs. Students
identify community needs and problems and plan a business as an entrepreneur.
They complete the math to churn out a profit for both a goods and service business,
often with a plant or animal focus. Then, the profits are donated to Kiva, an
international lending service with a multitude of environmental investments in
developing nations.

Students’ classroom science assessments have improved on average 10 percent
with the addition of the NSF INSIGHT program, with two teachers selected as
fellows. These community-based STEM investigations give a learning experience
that offer opportunities with clean-up of neighborhoods, streams and parks in
partnership with the Blue River Watershed Association. Students not only cover
watershed concerns, like flooding and water quality, but also reach out to engage
the community in addressing these issues. In addition, students engineer recycled
robots, design solar ovens, and build biome models. BJF uses classroom resources
including NOAA’s Climate Stewards Education Project, NEED (National Energy
Education Development) and USDA Agriculture in the Classroom. BJF holds a Walk
to School Day and is a USDA HealthierUS Schools Challenge awardee.

57

U.S. Department of Education - 400 Maryland Ave, SW -
Washington, DC 20202
www.ed.gov/green-ribbon-schools - www.ed.gov/green-strides

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