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What the Carmel Clay School District is doing

MH900433132Working quietly behind the scenes for years, our district has benefitted from the green efforts of Bob Yull and Jeff Maidlow. They, along with others, have made a significant impact on our schools in terms of energy savings, use of green custodial products, using fuel efficient vehichles, introducing co-mingled recycling at 16 buildings, and even recycling carpet during remodels!  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  Click Here to see the entire list.

Posted in Green Ideas

The Great Locker Clean Out

No one likes to see things go to waste.  Unfortuantely, as the school year draws to a close, many locker items simply get thrown away because it is just “easier”.  One of the CCS Green Team members ran a very efficient and effective all-school locker clean out for Clay Middle School that was designed to have as little as possible go into the trash.  Wendy DeLuca has outlined for us all how to run such an event.  Thank you, Wendy, for leading such a worthwhile project to minimize waste!

lockerAt Clay, by coordinating with school administration we helped first to educate students through periodic school announcements during the month of May, encouraging them to start taking things home that had accumulated in their lockers.  Then the week of locker clean out we had daily announcements, some to suggest to bring certain items home each day. Meanwhile we coordinated parent volunteers to be in the hallways during locker clean-out to encourage the kids to firstly, bring home as much as possible

or use next year (its amazing how kids think money grows on trees & that their parent will be happy to buy them a calculator each year!).  Secondly we encouraged them to put recyclable items into boxes we had placed next to the trash cans.  (We also spent time, sometimes with students helping) retrieving items form the trash bins that could be recycled or reused.)
Ideally it would be best to have 3 bins: trash, items for co-mingled recycling, & items for re-use.  We amassed the amazing amount of items for re-use in the school media center & organized it.  The media center specialist then emailed staff that they could come & take what they could use for their class/students next year. A day or so later, after teachers picked over the goodies, I then put what remained in my mini-van & took it to Teacher’s Treasures.  (In previous years we had also donated the items to IPS & Teach for America.)
Attached are documents from our efforts at Clay for locker clean-out. Perhaps with this as a starting point you can more easily assist at your school in educating & helping the students to reduce, reuse & recycle!
Download PDF of Timeline for locker clean out.
Several Weeks worth of announcements having students take home certain items each week so that the final locker clean out day isn’t so overwhelming! Download the Announcements for Locker Clean Out.
Wendy had only half of each grade go at a time so that it was not so overwhelming.  Good idea!  Each group had 20 minutes to clean out their locker.  Attached is the information to Volunteer information and outline of schedule they used on that day for each grade.
Posted in Green Ideas

Schools Offering Sustainable Alternative to Bottled Water

Cherry Tree Elementary has reduced its plastic water bottle use by two-thirds with a method introduced by its cafeteria manager Mary Sipes last spring.  Students who want to drink water with their lunch no longer have to buy a bottle of it for 60 cents; they can drink it for free!  And they do so out of re-usable plastic cups that go through the cafeteria’s dishwasher.  Students fill their cups at a five-gallon water cooler on a cart in the lunchroom.  Kudos to Mary for reducing waste and thinking outside of the box!  For details of her creative solution, click here to download the PDF file.

Students in Cherry Tree’s green club wanted to share this sustainable solution with other schools. This fall, they applied for a grant from the Carmel Green Teen Microgrant Program.  The $610.64 check they received will pay for cups and coolers for Smoky Row Elementary and Carmel Elementary and is enough for even more schools to get on board.  Thanks, Cherry Tree, for helping Carmel schools go green!!!

Reusable Plastic Cups and Water Coolers at Cherry Tree

  • Approximately 40 cups and a 5 gallon water cooler are placed on a rolling cart at the beginning of lunch.
  • After the students are seated they may signal that they would like a glass of water by holding up their three middle fingers, so it looks like a W (for water)
  • The students are asked to drink all the water they take, so many just fill their glass halfway.
  • Students keep their cup on their tray when they leave so it can be run through the dishwasher and returned to the cart for the next group.
  • The cooler needs to be refilled only one other time during the lunch period.

Benefits of this program:

  • Students who want to drink water with lunch can do so without an additional expense for their family. (Currently it costs 60 cents for a small bottle of water) Unless parents check their lunch account, they might not know their child is purchasing this extra item.
  • Younger students don’t need help getting the top off their water if it’s in a cup.
  • The number of water bottles used is greatly reduced. Since the beginning of this school year, Cherry Tree has reduced the number of bottles they use by more than 2/3! They had been selling 3-4 cases per day (24 bottles in each case) and now sell less than one case per day.
  • A reusable plastic cup can be used countless times with minimal extra energy involved. While a plastic water bottle is hopefully recycled, that still takes a lot of energy to make it into another bottle and transport it to and from factories, stores and schools.
  • This program helps convey to students that anyone, no matter how small, can be responsible and help our world be a little more environmentally friendly.

Both Lori Storer and Mary Sipes, Cherry Tree’s cafeteria manager, are very willing to answer any questions about how this has worked and what it involves. Please feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions. Thank you so much for considering this project.
Marcia Roberts, Cherry Tree parent and Green Club Co-Coordinator

Posted in Green Ideas

Green Team Coordinator

Some schools are creating a dedicated PTO position for the Green Team.  For those of you that may also be considering this new position, Wendy DeLuca, Green Team at Clay Middle School and member of Carmel Green Schools Committee provided a copy of the position description they will be using at Clay. Thanks to Wendy for putting this together. Please feel free to modify and adapt the description to meet your school’s needs. We welcome your input and suggestions.

Initiating a PTO Green Team

PTO Board Position Title: Green Team Coordinator

The Board Member responsible for the Green Team shall:

  • Be the coordinator for the school’s Green Team
  • Attend all the CCS Green Team meetings
  • Work with the CCS Green Team to come up with ideas to promote green practices and awareness in Carmel Clay Schools
  • Work with the school’s staff, students and parents to adopt green practices in the school
  • Act as coordinator for any green projects within the school initiated by the school’s Green Team
  • Submit articles for school newsletter with updates/tips from the CCS Green Team website

To the PTO Executive Board,

Please consider adding a Green Team to our school’s PTO. This committee would engage in approved activities that help our schools to become more sustainable and involve students and families in learning how to be better stewards of our resources. Activities could include but are not limited to the following:

  • School Recycling –  Working with our school to incorporate mixed recycling into the classrooms and eventually into the lunchroom.
  • November 15 – America Recycles Day – offer teachers a pre-approved packet of activities and lessons revolving around the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Coordinate with student groups (student council, art classes, or student club) to decorate the hallways with themed posters and deliver daily announcements.
  • Earth Week – offer teachers a pre-approved packet of activities and lessons revolving around care for the Earth. Coordinate with student groups to decorate the hallways with themed posters and deliver daily announcements. Last year, Earth Week involved a clean-up event and district-wide art contest as well. Some schools had poster and poetry contests. Some student groups planted or gave away trees.
  • A student club led by parents, teachers, or both. Clubs throughout the district have created bulletin boards and displays to share how to take care of the planet. See website for ideas!
  • Any additional new projects that meet school administration (principal and administrative green team) approval are welcome.

We understand that this committee’s coordinators must okay all activities with the principal.

Each month, there is a meeting where all Carmel Clay School Green Team PTO representatives have the opportunity to meet and coordinate events. This gives everyone interested in instituting more green initiatives at their school a chance to see what other schools are doing, what works, and what doesn’t.
These are optional meetings, but all are welcome. The meeting dates are listed under the Event tab.

Posted in Green Ideas

See how schools across the country are going green.

Go Green Initiative –  is a simple, comprehensive program designed to create a culture of environmental responsibility on school campuses across the nation.

Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools Program – engages students in creating energy-saving activities in their schools, using hands-on, real-world projects.

Oregon Green School – across Oregon, students, teachers and staff are making a difference in their communities with programs to recycle, reduce waste, save energy and conserve water.

Green Schools Alliance – The mission of the GSA is to galvanize pre-K to grade 12 schools’ individual concerns about climate change and the environment into collective action to protect our shared future.

Wisconsin Green & Healthy Schools Program – is a web-based, self-paced and voluntary program available to all Wisconsin public and private elementary, middle and high schools….

Next Generation – Empowering young people to work for peace and our environment.

Posted in Green Ideas

Co-mingled Recycling Begins Districtwide

After Carmel Elementary’s successful pilot program from January to June, 2010, Carmel Clay Schools is expanding co-mingled recycling to all elementary and middle schools beginning Fall, 2010.  District Energy Manager Bob Yull worked with Ray’s Trash Service to make sure that each school has a co-mingled (or single-stream) dumpster, into which will go the schools’ paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, and (tin and aluminum) cans.  Each school’s principal will determine the extent to which their school participates and who will bring the recyclables to the dumpster.  Recycling containers within classrooms and offices that were formerly used for paper only will now be used for all the above listed recyclables.  Whereas the community is highly encouraged to contribute paper to the Abitibi bins on our campuses, the co-mingled dumpsters are for school building use only.

The CCS Green Team is deeply grateful to Mr. Yull and the CCS Administrative Green Team for their leadership in making our schools more environmentally sound!

Any schools needing more recycling bins for classrooms or cafeterias may apply for a Carmel Green Teen Grant to pay for them.  Applications are due February 29, 2012.  More information can be found at

Click here for a list of what’s recyclable at the schools:

Posted in Green Ideas

Green Ideas

The success of the CCS Green Team comes from the collaboration of many individuals working together to create best practices for our school district. Listed below are some of the practices that have been implemented. Please browse the list and see what Carmel Clay Schools are doing and how they do it. Feel free to send us any ideas you may have. Working together we can achieve so much!