GCES Going Green!
Gorman Crossing’s Top 5:

1.  Ongoing Workshop Series

            For the last two years, Gorman Crossing Elementary School students and staff have partnered with various organizations in our community to increase ecological awareness.  Our school implemented a series of ongoing workshops that related to environmental issues that are “hot topics” and things that have had a negative impact on our planet.  Included in our workshop series was Alicia Moore, from the Howard County Recycling Center; Diane Sweeney, an employee of Howard County Public Schools who works in the department of energy management; Roberta Jackson, the coordinator for Howard Commuter Solutions; and Dave Liker, the owner of the Gorman farm.

2.  Comprehensive Recycling Program

            At Gorman, recycling has become an integral part of our lifestyle.  We recycle paper, food wrappers/containers, plastic bottles, cans, ink cartridges, cell phones and other electronics, and Elmer’s glue sticks.  A team of fourth and fifth grade students collects paper recycling from every classroom and office within the school and brings it to the “official collection center” in the cafeteria.  Staff members are encouraged and reminded to recycle their water bottles and soda cans, as well as materials from their lunch in our recycle bins in the break room.  Recycling is promoted and maintained in our cafeteria by both students and the custodial staff.  The second grade team involved Gorman in the Office Depot Recycling Rules program and third grade runs the Elmer’s Glue Crew collection.

3.  Environmental Education

            At the beginning of this process, teachers and staff made a commitment to enhance our general curriculum by planning engaging activities, and keeping students up to date on current environmental issues.  Both administration and parents have noticed that our teachers demonstrate a genuine devotion toward helping students understand what it means to “go green” and ways to incorporate this mindset into everyday living.  Staff was also dedicated to planning field trips that tied into our school’s commitment to going green.  Finally, the collaborative effort of classroom and related arts teachers to incorporate going green into lessons demonstrated to our students that this is a way of living, not just something that is temporary or short-lived.

4.  Responsible Transportation Week

            For a one-week period, staff and students made efforts to reduce the number of vehicles in our carpool loop in the morning and afternoon.  The week began with an advertisement to parents and students that it was “Responsible Transportation Week.”  Each day in the morning and afternoon, a staff member stood outside to count the number of cars that came through the carpool loop.  The numbers were recorded and then displayed on large posters outside for parents on the following day so that families could watch the numbers go down throughout the week.  In the actual carpool loop, another staff member stood with a large poster with tips for going green as it relates to responsible transportation.  The activity greatly heightened awareness among our community members and since that week, we’ve noticed a definite decrease in our carpool loop numbers.

5.  Student Led & Student Centered Activist Groups

            The students at Gorman Crossing turned out to be the biggest advocates in our effort to go green.  They came up with many unique ideas for innovative and creative projects and clubs at our school.  Our paper recycling team is entirely run by students.  The “Go Green Patrol Team” stemmed from a student idea that was put into action with efforts from staff and students.  Now, the team flawlessly does its’ job without adult assistance.  A group of responsible fifth graders asked for permission to form a club that cleans up the playground on a weekly basis.  Fourth grade students formed a group that promotes going green on the morning announcements.  A third grade student wrote a newspaper article describing and supporting Gorman’s work in becoming a green school.  Additionally, a fourth grade student actually created a website to advertise and track our GCES recycling team.  Without question, the students at Gorman Crossing have played an integral part in this process.