Alert Solutions Blog

4 Ways for K-12 Schools to Go Green for Earth Day

Posted by Philip Young on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 @ 08:04 AM

Earth Day is an international awareness event focused on preserving the environment’s natural resources from the negative impact of industrialization. There are many ways people can go green and take action, including attending marches, signing petitions, getting involved in local politics, cleaning up litter or waste in public spaces, or working in community gardens.

Earth Day

Across the United States, local K-12 schools have a unique opportunity to participate in Earth Day. This year, the holiday falls on Monday, April 22nd, and it’s the perfect time of year for administrators, teachers, students, and staff to look into new ways to go green.

Prioritizing sustainability in K-12 settings is a practice that will improve the community as a whole. Students will take these lessons home, and consider their individual impact on the global climate outside of the classroom. It’s also an opportunity to reassess school functions, both on an administrative level and in the classroom. Schools are likely to find new ways that technology fits into the picture while exploring eco-friendly options, and these solutions will improve operations for their district. By going digital, administrators can further reduce waste on school grounds while increasing access and convenience for students and parents.

Four Ways K-12 Schools can Go Green for Earth Day

  1. School-Wide Recycling Initiatives
    One of the most essential ways K-12 schools reduce waste is recycling. Luckily, there are several ways schools can make recycling a priority, starting with a student-led recycling club. Putting students in charge of collecting and emptying recycling bins is an excellent way to empower young people to be active participants in green initiatives. By making recycling a chance for students to hang out with friends and be social, the community will be more motivated to participate. Teachers, students, and custodians working together will reduce the number of recyclables wasted or put in landfills, but it is also another way to strengthen a sense of community.

    Schools also have an opportunity to find fun and unique ways to reduce recyclable waste. For example, art teachers can integrate old newspapers, magazines, and other discarded paper goods into classroom projects. Many crafts and classroom activities integrate recyclable materials, including hanging bottle gardens, creating bracelets or other accessories from newspapers, making a rainbow made from bottle caps, or using old cans and pots to create classroom organizers.
  1. Invest in Clean Energy
    K-12 schools across the United States are exploring ways to utilize green energy, such as installing solar panels on roofs and using electric buses. Schools make ideal candidates for solar power panels since they only require energy during the day when the sun is shining, and because they often have the roof size required for installation, as per the New York Times. The main barrier to access electric solar panels is financial, but costs are coming down. If a school does have funding for the installation, the panels can help the building save money on electric bills in the long run.

    Electric buses are an option school systems are  beginning to explore in the United States, though they’ve long been popular abroad. These buses provide a valuable alternative to diesel because they don’t expose children to soot or other harmful pollutants. Unfortunately, these vehicles are still twice or three times as expensive as traditional buses, but K-12 schools can potentially make up that money in low fuel and maintenance costs. These green solutions might not be viable in every community, but students, teachers, and administrators can advocate for clean energy funds on the local and state level.
  1. Start a Community Garden
    A community garden is a great idea for school systems looking to bgo green. Gardens help decrease air temperature, increase property value, and have the potential to provide fresh food to supplement school lunches, which reduces carbon emissions by cutting down on transport. There are also mental health benefits to gardening. Being in nature is therapeutic, and the sense of responsibility gardening provides can have a positive impact on mental health for students. Dedicating even a small amount of resources and class time to a school-wide garden space can help cultivate a healthier, greener community.
  1. Go Paperless
    Schools tend to use a lot of paper for bureaucratic and communication purposes. From student health files to detention or late slips to report cards, a lot of paper is used in the daily management of a school. Administrators can eliminate or significantly reduce the amount of paper waste by migrating systems into the digital sphere.

    Luckily, technology provides plenty of paperless methods for communication. A school notification system like SwiftK12 can send voice, e-mail, social media and SMS Text alerts that keep students informed of changes in scheduling or developing emergency situations in the community. Also, our Secure Document Delivery feature can help schools drastically cut paper use by sending report cards, student transcripts, and other timely notifications electronically.  

Not only will investing in digital communication make for an eco-friendly campus, it has also been shown to result in reduced truancy, better parent engagement and more transparency between staff and student families.

SwiftK12 Brochure Download

Topics: earth day, environment, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, go green

Go Green - 6 Great Ways K12 Schools Can Observe Earth Day

Posted by Tara Gibson on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

For many k-12 school systems, the international holiday known as Earth Day — always held April 22nd — represents a time to reassess go green progress made in terms of sustainability.

For others, Earth Day presents the opportunity to start a new program promoting environmental friendliness.

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It’s important that our nation’s schools act as leaders in the movement toward a greener future. Not only do responsible environmental practices set a good example for our children, but going green can also protect students’ health, improve learning conditions, help attract new students to k-12 schools and save schools money.

“Safeguarding the health of America's 58 million schoolchildren must be central to a high-quality education,” writes national nonprofit Green Schools Initiative.

The organization points to research indicating green schools cost an average $3 per square foot to build, but generate an average $74/square foot in benefits including energy savings, increased attendance and teacher retention.

If you’re a k-12 school district looking for ways to go green, here are a few of the many possibilities:

  • Participate in Nationwide Events All Year. Your school family could choose to participate locally in any number of earth-friendly events that enjoy national or international support. A few examples this spring include Arbor Day, World Fair Trade Day, World Migratory Bird Day, World Oceans Day or National Trails Day.
  • Go Paperless. With today’s digital technology, there’s no need to waste copious amounts of paper communicating with parents and students. Instead, implement a school notification system like SwiftK12 can efficiently and effectively broadcast such important information with a few taps of your keyboard.
  • Demonstrate Solar Cooking. Go green by showing students how to cook something simple via ovens they construct of cardboard, aluminum foil, rocks and sticks. 
  • Visit a Site of Interest. Field trips to landfills, alternative energy plants, recycling centers, sustainable fisheries, farms, etc., can be real eye-openers for students.
  • Start a Composting Program. Teach students how composting works, encouraging them to bring ingredients from home and assigning them maintenance tasks.
  • Attract and Help Birds. Explain to students what birds mean to our ecosystem, then build and install birdhouses and bird feeders that can help sustain them in your area.

Taking steps to go green can often be a win-win for everyone in your school family. Think about how you might add better sustainability to both your school curricula and your school operations.

Decatur Public Schools Goes Green,  Saves Budget Dollars with Alert Solutions LEARN HOW

Topics: earth day, environment, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, go green

Earth Day is Almost Here – 4 Ways Your School Can Go Green

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 @ 11:04 AM

Each year on April 22nd people across the US celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day originated in the US in 1970, becoming recognized worldwide by 1990. Here are a few more interesting facts about Earth Day:

  • Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day while he was working as a US senator.
  • Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day.
  • On Earth Day in 2011, 28 million trees were planted in Afghanistan by the Earth Day Network.

It sounds clique to say, but children are the future of this planet. Educating students in school about different ways they can help the environment is crucial. This Earth Day, try to implement one of these initiatives:

1. Go Paperless
Did you know k-12 schools, on average, use about 250,000 pieces of paper each year? That’s crazy! If you’re still sending home flyers and newsletters in student’s backpacks, you should consider going paperless. Many schools have implemented a school notification system to help go green. Using email, voice and SMS text messages instead of paper notifications will save both valuable staff time and money.

Decatur Public Schools Goes Green,  Saves Budget Dollars with Alert Solutions LEARN HOW

2. Trash the Trash
Designate Earth Day as ‘Trash the Trash’ day at school – a day when students bring in a lunch that creates zero garbage. For example, packing a lunch in a reusable container or using thermoses instead of juice boxes.

Bonus Fact! According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, if every child did this every day, your school would save an average of 67.5 pounds of trash per year, per child!

3. Sponsor an Earth Day Poster Contest
Allow students time in class to work on their posters so everyone has a chance to enter. Select winning posters from each grade and display them throughout the school.

4. Host an Earth Day Reading Night
Encourage students to turn off the television or disconnect the iPad for the evening and read a book instead! Ask school administrators and staff to recommend books with an environmental message.

What is your k-12 school doing this Earth Day? Share your ideas on our blog!

Topics: earth day, environment, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, go green

‘Going Green’ in K-12 Schools - 4 Projects You Can Start Today

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

While it’s a great idea to use Earth Day to help students understand the importance of ’going green’, it’s also vital to encourage students to be environmentally conscious throughout the year.

From turning off lights in the classroom to students riding their bike to school, there are ‘going green’ initiatives that can work for everyone. This post includes 4 exciting ‘going green’ projects k-12 schools can try throughout the school year.

1. Start a Student-Run Recycling Club
First, educate students, teachers and staff members what materials can and cannot be recycled. Then, ensure each classroom, copy room and office has at least one recycling bin in it. Have students volunteer to collect and empty the recycling bins in specific rooms.
 
2. Compost Lunch Scrapsschoolsgogreen1
Some schools are ‘going green’ by finding an environmental use for the waste created by school lunches.  These schools place a separate trash bin in lunch rooms for food waste specifically.  These scraps are sent to a compost heap where they are churned into nutrient-enriched dirt that farmers or landscape architects can buy.
 
3. Take an Environmentally Informative Field Trip
Field trips are another great way to help students become more environmentally conscious. Some environmentally informative field trip ideas could include:
  • Local Landfill
  • Recycling Center
  • Organic Farm
  • Alternative Energy Plant
4. Go Paperless!paperlessschools
Did you know k-12 schools, on average, use about 250,000 pieces of paper each year? To help reduce their reliance on paper, many k-12 schools are adopting digital communication initiatives like email, voice calls and SMS text messages. In addition to ‘going green’ and reducing paper use, digital notification systems like Alert Solutions can also tell school administrators if these messages were actually read!

Interested in using digital communication to go paperless at your school? Download our electronic brochure today to learn more!

School Announcement Notification System Download Our Brochure!

Topics: earth day, environment, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, go green

Property Managers: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint this Earth Week

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

Did you know this week is Earth Week? Earth Week focuses on the importance of being environmentally conscious.  Although it is important for all industries to reduce their carbon footprint, this is extremely important within the property management industry.  Not only is it important for property managers to be environmentally conscious in order to help preserve our earth, but also to produce a greater image for current and future tenants. 

More and more tenants are factoring in the environment and how “green” a rental unit or community is when making their decision on where to live.  Energy efficient appliances, windows, solar energy usage, etc. are just some of the items that environmentally conscious tenants are looking for in a rental unit.

There are multiple ways property managers can make an investment in reducing their carbon footprint.  Some methods are long term and more expensive, such as installing low flow toilets in rental units or installing solar panels to reduce energy usage and cost. However, there are several easy and more inexpensive ways to conserve energy and help preserve the environment. 

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In light of Earth Week, we would like to share with you some simple, inexpensive ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your rental property,  including:

1.       Recycling: We know – this might seem like an obvious one, but there are still property managers who do not participate in recycling.  If you are not doing so, you can begin to recycle paper, plastics and aluminum cans.  It is also important to ensure your tenants have access to recycling containers.  Tenants who are environmentally conscious may be turned off by a rental property that does not make it easy for them to recycle.

2.       Reduce Paper Usage:  Property management requires a lot of documentation, and therefore, can turn into a very paper driven industry.  By communicating with tenants through a notification system, you can reach them through preferred communication channels such as email, SMS text and voice messaging.  This can be done for tasks such as rent payment reminders, renewal notices, community event newsletters and much more.  This can save you valuable time as well as printing and mailing costs - drastically reducing your carbon footprint.

3.       Small Upgrades:  Although it is important to begin replacing older appliances in rental units with new energy efficient ones, there are also smaller energy efficient upgrades that you can provide tenants with.  Property managers can provide tenants with energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs, replacing older incandescent ones.  These light bulbs are designed to use less energy and last much longer. 

    How do you preserve the environment in your rental community?  Share your thoughts on our blog!

    To learn more utilizing a tenant notification system to reduce your carbon footprint, download Alert Solutions’ Resident Reach brochure.

    Alert Solutions' Resident Reach Download the Brochure!

    Topics: property management, earth day, environment

    Earth Day 2014: Celebrate and Start “Going Green” Today!

    Posted by Cassie Breen on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

    Today, April 22, 2014 is Earth Day!  Earth Day is a day through which worldwide events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection and to educate about environmental issues.  Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin announced the Earth Day concept at a conference in Seattle in the fall of 1969 and Earth Day was officially founded in 1970.

    According to Nelson, “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”

    Since 1970, Earth Day has grown globally, according to the Earth Day Network (EDN), aimagesCAFSNMLH resized 600 nonprofit organization that coordinates Earth Day activities.  Here are some statistics:

    • In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in over 140 nations participating.

    • In 2000, Earth Day focused on clean energy and involved hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups.

    • Today, the Earth Day Network collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. According to EDN, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities.

    Many K-12 school districts get involved in Earth Day.  Some school districts get students involved by presenting a contest for students to come up with solutions for environmental challenges, allowing students to plant trees or educate others on the importance of recycling.  For other great ideas, Earthday.org offers a K-12 toolkit to help get schools involved in Earth Day.

    In addition to student involvement, schools themselves also can take steps to “go green” for Earth Day.  This can be done through efforts such as:

    How does your school celebrate Earth Day?  Share your thoughts on our blog.

    To learn more about “going green” with a school notification system visit our website.

    Topics: earth day, environment, school notifications, school announcement, powerschool, education

    Go Green! Campbell County in Tennessee Uses Solar Energy to Fund Education

    Posted by Nina Russo on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 14:07 PM

    School districts across the country have struggled for years to find funding for schools and educational programs.  In order to produce more revenue and go green, all 12 Campbell County schools’ have installed solar panels on their roofs.  In order to pay for the system, Campbell County approved a 15-year bond.

    Campbell County Schools explained in a press release: "During the first 15 years, the annual revenue generated from the sale of solar energy will produce an average annual surplus of $1,000-$1,200 per installation for Campbell County's coffers, after paying all bond principal and interest and any maintenance costs. When the 15-year bond has been retired each installation will generate approximately $13,000-$15,000 per year for Campbell County for years 16-20 of the power purchase agreement. Additionally, the system design life is 30 - 35 years; therefore, the county will benefit from cost savings long after the TVA contract expires, should TVA choose not to renew it."

    Not only will the solar panels bring more revenue into the school district, but it also has a positive impact on the environment.  Here are some other ways schools are going green:GoingGreen resized 600

    • Automated Report Cards – Schools, on average, use about 250,000 pieces of paper each year.   Automated Report Cards can help schools save money and go green.

    • Email School Newsletters – Instead of mailing paper copies, schools can send school newsletters via email, saving paper and lowering supply costs.

    • Hydration Stations – By setting up “hydration stations” students can fill reusable water bottles with fresh water.  This not only reduces waste, but also increases student health.

    What environmentally-friendly improvements is your school making? To learn more about how Alert Solutions’ can help you go green, visit our website or contact us today!

    Topics: earth day, environment, power announcement, powerschool, education

    K-12 Students Take on Environmental Challenges

    Posted by Nina Russo on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 13:04 PM

    The environment and the sustainability of our planet is an important topic, especially during this week’s Earth Day celebrations.  Across the globe, students, teachers, parents and community members are doing their part to hold events, create projects, educate and learn about the environment.

    Some K-12 students who put outstanding effort into tackling environmental challenges are the participants of the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. This national, environmental project-based sustainability challenge inspires K-12 students and offers them the tools to improve their schools, communities and the world.GoingGreen resized 600

    In light of Earth Week, the winners of this competition were announced.  With the guidance of a teacher or mentor, these elementary, middle and high school students took an environmental issue and created a replicable green solution.  A panel of environmental advocates, science teachers and professors judged the competition and selected the winners based on each project’s creative and viable solution as well as community engagement.

    The students were judged in categories based on grade level, with prizes for winning teams.  This challenge was an exciting way for students to take an interest in important environmental issues people are facing around the world.  These students’ projects can help affect change and make the world a better place.

    The 2013 Challenge Winners consisted of the following schools:

    Topics: earth day, environment, power announcement, powerschool, education

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