Will Rogers Learning Community was presented a check for $750 from Grades of Green for winning second place in a Trash Free Lunch Challenge, competing against 27 other Southern California schools. The check was presented during a school assembly today. Rogers submitted a 10-page application that included many activities and actions toward reducing trash on campus. With the support of involved teachers, staff, parents and students, the Rogers family implemented a zero-waste program at that ultimately led to a reduction in lunchtime trash bags from 25 to two per day. The plan included recycling, sorting trash and composting as well as various school activities. Many projects were part of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education at Rogers with grade appropriate projects and learning opportunities. “The Will Rogers Learning Community Student Council is very civic-minded,” Principal Liz Cochran said. “Our staff, parents and students continually seek opportunities to serve the community and make the world a better place and we are extremely proud of our results.” The Zero-Waste Project was led by incoming PTA president Zakiya and green team chairs Darcy O’Brien and Jon Felson. Fourth and fifth grade students served as Grades of Green Ambassadors and worked hard to implement this project. Teachers and parents are thrilled and supportive of students learning about the Earth and how to protect it and will continue these practices as part of the Rogers culture. One of the biggest changes on campus that helped reduce trash was a switch from packaged sporks / napkins served with each cafeteria meal. Many students did not use the spork, plus the plastic wrapper ended up in the trash.
The Rogers’ cafeteria manager, Victoria Escobar, switched to a napkin and utensil dispenser system so students now only take what they need. -more- Page 2 – Rogers Grades of Green This change has been implemented at all cafeterias in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, reducing trash at all schools. The $750 will be used to purchase two more compost bins from the City and to buy gardening tools and supplies for Mildred’s Garden and all beds through the school.
The team will also consider purchasing Common Core-based instructional materials that teachers can use to teach gardening, composting, sustainability and water conservation. “Students were thrilled at the chance to work with each other to reduce the amount of trash we produce at Will Rogers, so that we can do our part in reducing our carbon footprint,” Cochran said. “Many student council members have reported that it’s their favorite activity of the year because every student plays a part and every student makes a difference.” The Grades of Green application with details of the activities and photos is online at: http://www.smmusd.org/news/news1516/TrashFREEChallenge.pdf