Burien’s Gregory Heights Elementary Recognized As A “Green School”

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Burien’s Gregory Heights Elementary Schools is one of 11 schools honored for completing the first level of King County’s Green Schools Program.

It is one of four Highline School District schools recognized; the others include Beverly Park Elementary School in unincorporated King County, Madrona Elementary School in SeaTac, and North Hill Elementary School in Des Moines.

Each school received a “We are a King County Green School” banner, a certificate of recognition, a success story on the program Web site and mention in a press release issued by King County.

Participating schools receive assistance on how to conserve resources such as paper, electricity and water, and they are often rewarded with reduced utility and garbage disposal costs.

“Each of these 11 schools has involved its whole school community – students, teachers and administrators – in reducing garbage and increasing recycling,” said Dale Alekel, King County Green Schools Program manager.

Highline Schools honored include:

These schools completed level one of the program by initiating or improving recycling practices and engaging in waste-reduction strategies, such as decreasing paper use. Success stories for each school are at this website.

According to the King County website, some of Gregory Heights’ achievements include:

Waste Reduction and Recycling:

  • The school increased its recycling rate from 23 percent to 38 percent.
  • Efforts included educating students about recycling, reducing lunchtime garbage volume and launching breakfast milk carton recycling.
  • The Gregory Heights Student Leadership Team gave classroom presentations on recycling, launched classroom waste audits, made posters and purchased a worm bin to begin composting food scraps
  • Recycling containers provided by the Green Schools Program were added to the lunchroom for milk cartons, juice boxes, plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
  • School staff placed recycling stickers on classroom and lunchroom recycling containers. Provided by the Green Schools Program, the stickers list what can and can’t be recycled.
  • The school promoted and initiated a “waste free lunch” day in which students and staff were encouraged to reduce their lunchtime garbage. Students and staff noticed that garbage bins were much less full on the “waste free lunch” day.
  • Students participated in a “zero waste” cubby clean out at the end of the year. Unwanted materials that would have been disposed in past years were reused or recycled.
  • The school instituted “reuse it” boxes for paper. Eighty percent of the school’s teachers use these boxes in their classrooms.

2008 King County Earth Hero at School award:

The school received this award for the collaborative effort among students, parents, the PTSA, teachers, office, support staff and principal that resulted in a comprehensive recycling program with widespread participation. Students decorated bulletin boards with recycling information, the PTSA purchased recycling containers, student leaders and lunch assistants guided students on proper recycling, and a recycling ethic now pervades the entire school.

Participation in the King County Green Schools Program has grown each year. To date, 10 of King County’s 18 school districts have received assistance or are now participating, and in doing so they have increased recycling, reduced energy and resource consumption, and engaged students in benefiting the environment.

The program has helped more than 300 schools cut waste and save resources since its inception in 2003. By providing hands-on assistance, including school visits, tailored recommendations, help with outreach to students and staff, and recycling containers and stickers, the Green Schools Program provides schools and school districts with the support they need to set up and maintain effective conservation practices.

In addition to providing schools with the hands-on help they need, the program offers a website, www.kingcounty.gov/GreenSchools, with useful tools and resources.

Schools interested in receiving assistance to improve conservation practices can contact Dale Alekel at [email protected].

And don’t forget – Gregory Heights’ “Better Together” Auction is coming up Saturday, Feb. 27th – read more about it here.

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