GCES Going Green!

GCES Summary of Activities

            At Gorman Crossing Elementary School, “going green” has become a way of life for students, staff, families, and the community.  Many of the activities described in our application are ongoing projects that have become routine at our school.  Although this is our first time officially applying for certification, Gorman has been actively trying to reduce our carbon footprint for quite a few years.  The activities and lessons described on the following pages reflect a collaborative effort among teachers, students, administration, parents, and community organizations.  Our school provides an exemplary model for other green schools, as our program is both replicable and ongoing.  

            Gorman Crossing’s green school committee was formed over four years ago when our community began to take an active interest in increasing ecological awareness.  The committee is a group of dedicated staff, administrators, parents, and students.  Initially, our committee spent quite a bit of time educating the community about what it actually means to “go green.”  We very quickly realized the importance of making sure that everyone in our school community would be on board with our decision to make changes around the school, and begin the long process of becoming a more eco-friendly campus. 

            The four main areas that we focused upon were waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, and responsible transportation.  Our committee collaborated and worked hard to come up with creative and innovative ways to design and implement activities and programs at our school that would best exhibit these four areas.  The highlight of waste reduction at our school was our overall recycling program in classrooms, the cafeteria, the front office, and the staff lounge.  To conserve energy, our school was very proud of the creation of a “Go Green Patrol Team.”  This group of students is responsible for reminding staff to turn off desktop computers and printers, and unplug overhead carts and projectors at the end of the school day, and especially before weekends.  Our school also made great efforts to encourage water conservation.  One exciting activity we planned was storm drain stenciling on our school campus with a Girl Scout Troop from GCES.  Finally, the highlight of our responsible transportation effort was a weeklong campaign to bring down the number of vehicles in our car-pool loop by promoting walking, riding the bus, or carpooling with other families. Although the celebration of living green lifestyles has become a daily routine, there are also several special events that we’ve sponsored to recognize the efforts of our school community, which can be seen within our application.

            Since beginning the green school process, Gorman has taken great pride in the relationships we’ve established with community members and organizations to promote our purpose.  We’ve worked very hard to collaborate with various groups to expose the students to new information and opportunities for going green within our community.  The students enjoyed many different types of presentations by community members, which sparked new ideas, or inspired us to be even more active participants in this effort.  Our school feels confident that we’ve also made an impact on our surrounding community by promoting “green-ness” and by taking home the activities and lessons that were learned in school, and applying them in our households and businesses. 

             Our classroom teachers have made a tremendous effort to go above and beyond the general curriculums in Science and Social Studies to extend and enhance students’ understanding of environmental issues and current “hot topics.”  Teachers spent a lot of time planning and creating enriching lessons and activities that would engage students and support our efforts toward going green.  The lessons included on our application provide the reader with just a small sliver of the impressive environmental instruction that is taking place at Gorman Crossing.  Some of the highlights on our application include lessons in which the teacher tied objectives to an activity that could be done outside, thus, resulting in the creation of a new habitat.  A big part of making our instruction effective at school was ensuring that students saw environmental curriculum everywhere they went.  Thus, it was greatly encouraged that related arts teachers also made the effort to incorporate environmental instruction into their lessons and routines.  Part of what makes our instruction so effective at Gorman is the staff’s willingness to participate in and seek out opportunities for professional development.  Due to the commendable efforts of our staff, students have gained an in-depth knowledge of the environment, which will follow them in all of the facets of their lives.