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"Green" Schools

posted Dec 14, 2012, 6:21 AM by Dianne Georgantas
I am enthusiastic to report that effective immediately Longmeadow Public Schools will conduct their activities and operations to reflect best environmental practices in order to control and reduce our direct impact on the environment. This is a tremendous opportunity to teach children about ecological sustainability, environmental health and nutrition; integrate environmental education into curricula; and encourage students to become responsible citizens by making their own schools and the community at large healthier and more ecologically friendly. In addition, reducing the amount of waste the schools send to the incinerator will also reduce the Town's cost for trash disposal. Past practice has shown cost savings for the town positively impacts the school budget. Consequently, your support and participation makes it a "win–win" for our students and the environment.
To this end, the Longmeadow Public Schools will work to comply with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's waste ban, which prohibits disposal of glass and metal containers; recyclable paper, cardboard, and paperboard; and single-resin, narrow-necked plastics.

Going forth, environmental sustainability and responsibility will be part of the core culture of the Longmeadow School system.

Guidelines and Procedures
Administration Level

Purchasing—We will follow our school's purchasing policy and attempt to buy recyclable, recycled content, sustainable, less toxic, and locally produced products whenever possible. (Environmental Purchasing Policy-DJBA)

Waste Management—Each building shall develop a waste management plan for all aspects of its operation following the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Proper and
environmentally conscious disposal will be part of any plan to replace facilities or equipment or remodel any facility or part of a facility. (Waste Reduction and Recycling Policy - EDE)

Resource and Energy Conservation, Building Maintenance—
By following a maintenance policy, buildings will conduct energy audits at all sites on at least a yearly basis and develop a resource and energy conservation plan for all sites.
Where possible, the schools will use non-toxic, hypoallergenic building and maintenance products as described in the green cleaning policy. (State policy)

Food Services—All schools will encourage waste-free lunches and provide receptacles for recycling.  Kitchen staff will recycle all plastic, paper, cardboard and metal containers, rather than put them in the trash.  Also, the food service provider shall avoid using styrofoam plates, cups, trays, and bowls.

Transportation—Unnecessary idling of school buses or other vehicles on school property will be discouraged as per state law. (Motor Vehicle Idling on School Grounds Policy – EEAJ)

Curriculum and Staff Support—All schools will support environmental experiences that develop an environmental ethic in students. Teachers will be encouraged to continue to heighten their awareness of environmental issues and develop teaching strategies that reflect this awareness.

Communication—All schools and administration should reduce use of paper by using double-sided copying where possible and using electronic communication as much as possible.

Building Level
The community of each school will make a conscious effort to:
•       Reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.
•       Conserve resources.
•       Preserve and enhance local environments.
•       Encourage parent and community involvement in environmental issues through ongoing communication.
•       Reduce the amount of paper used.
•       Consider environmental impact when engaging in fundraising activities (including providing recycling at events and avoid using Styrofoam plates and cups for food service).
•       Instill in students the desire to participate individually and collectively in environmental issues through appropriate classroom and school-wide activities at all levels.
•       Encourage the formation of a Green Team (or similar sustainable recycling team) of staff, teacher(s), and students to design, improve, and carry out a program for ensuring recyclable materials are separated from solid waste throughout their schools.
•       Have a clearly labeled recycling container next to every garbage can put out for public use.
•       Inform all users of school facilities of this policy and ensure recyclables are not mixed with solid waste during their use of the school buildings and grounds.
•       Make appropriate recycling containers available at convenient locations during Longmeadow school sponsored events including athletic events.

Community Level
•       The schools will promote their involvement in programs that promote good environmental practices.
•       Students will be encouraged to develop ownership for green initiatives and to help educate the public on recycling issues.

Please feel free to share your ideas and recommendations at the building and district levels. I thank you in advance for your cooperation and support!

Marie H. Doyle, Superintendent of Schools