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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.


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

K-12 Schools are Moving to Paperless Report Cards – 3 Reasons Why

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 @ 15:04 PM

Nervous students waiting for the mail to hide their report card from their parents may no longer have that option.

In this digital age, more and more K-12 schools across the country are nixing with tradition and moving to paperless report cards by sending home report cards to parents electronically.

Here are 3 reasons why:

1. Schools are Going Green.
Schools waste enormous amounts of paper. Did you know k-12 schools, on average, use about 250,000 pieces of paper each year? That’s crazy! With each student needing about 4 report cards per year, moving to a paperless report card system is a great way to eliminate excess paper use and reduce the school’s carbon footprint.Automated_Report_Cards-1.jpg

2. It Improves Parent Communication.
With digital access to report cards, progress reports and more, parents stay informed of their child’s progress throughout the school year. Not only is student and parent communication enhanced, but parent-teacher relationships flourish when student information is readily accessible any time.

3. There is a Significant Cost Savings.
With k-12 school budgets getting smaller every year, school administrators are always looking to cut spending. Between paper, printing and postage costs, sending home tens of thousands of report cards isn't cheap. Compounding the issue, not all mailed report cards make it to their destination.

Did You Know? Alert Solutions offers PowerSchool users the ability to send report cards home to parents electronically with its PDF Builder. This school is saving thousands of dollars with it!

Streamlining Report Card Distribution A Best Practice Guide

Topics: environment, school notifications, school announcement, report cards, power announcement, powerschool, education, go green

Going Green – Key Benefits of a Paperless Property

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 11:02 AM

Did you know that estimates that the average office worker can print up to 10,000 pieces of paper per year?  It’s astounding!

Property management operations can be very paper-heavy also.  With numerous leases, payments and other documents to keep ahold of, it’s easy to lose track or become disorganized.

To reduce the reliance on paper, ink and postage, your property management operation may have already taken steps to “go green”.  If not, a paperless property management operation can bring numerous benefits – including:

Property Manager Benefitspaperlessproperty.png

- Time Savings: The National Apartment Associates claims online rent payment users will spend 65% less time processing payments than those that accept traditional payment methods.

- Fewer Costs: Paperless means no paper, ink, or postage to buy in order to distribute information to tenants and staff.

More Tenant CommunicationDigital tenant communication ensures each tenant receives important updates about what’s going on in their rental communities. Plus, you can track who receives each message and take corrective action.

Tenant Benefits

- Better Service: Property managers that go green may have better response times than those that do not. This means faster resolutions to maintenance requests or complaints.

- More Tenant Communication Options: Many tenant communication systems offer multiple channels, allowing tenants to choose the method that they prefer.

To learn more about how Alert Solutions can help your property management office use less paper, click here to download our brochure.

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Topics: property management, environment, tenant communication, go green

Property Managers – Are You Ready to Go Green?

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 08, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

The Credential for Green Property Management (CGPM) is offered by industry associations to properties that exemplify green standards of living. RecycleGoGree.png

Some of the training topics included are:

  • Water and Energy Efficiency
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction
  • Resident Education

Even the most efficient property management operations can benefit from the certification. How about yours?

Properties that ‘go green’ attract like-minded tenants that also want to help the environment, articles suggest.  Here are 3 more reasons prompting property managers to go green:

1. Saves Money
Go Green initiatives such as water and energy conservation save money for property managers and tenants alike.  The use of energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs and replacement windows all help cut down on high utility bills and increase the bottom line!

2. Improves Tenant Satisfaction
Property managers can do simple things like provide abundant recycling bins or perhaps educate their residents about energy-saving techniques. Regardless, these efforts are appreciated by tenants who will more likely keep the rental space clean and well-maintained.

3. Streamlines Tenant Communication
One widely practiced method of ‘going green’ is digital tenant communication.  This significantly reduces paper, ink and postage, as well as helps to ensure all tenants receive your important updates.  Property managers can even reach tenants in their most-preferred communication channels with this green technology.

Alert Solutions can help your property management team go green by implementing multi-channel messagingTo learn more, download our brochure today!

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Topics: property management, environment, tenant communication, go green, tenant satisfaction

3 Ways Your Property Management Office Can ‘Go Green’

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 05, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

Some property management offices are buried in paper.  Others are buckling under the stress of high energy bills. 

Regardless, now is a great time to make efforts toward “going green” in and around your property management office. The following can help get you started:

1. Cut down on paper usage.paperless.png
Lease renewals, rent payment receipts, legal documents; it all adds up!  According to, more and more property management offices are finding that the key to organization lies in a paperless office.  For starters, cut down on paper usage.  This could be as simple as not printing emails.

2. Digitize your tenant communication.
Digitizing your tenant communication prevents you from printing documents and spending money on postage.  It’s also preferred by the majority of tenants!  Implement a multi-channel notification system and keep in touch with tenants in the ways they most prefer.  Another benefit to keep in mind – digital tenant communication makes it easier to keep records of all the dialogue that occurs between you and your tenants.

3. Instill energy-saving initiatives among tenants, staff and contractors.
You can’t accomplish this on your own - make sure everyone on and around your property knows about your efforts to ‘go green’.  Start by letting tenants, staff and contractors know where recycling bins are.  Have contractors install energy-efficient lighting or have them recommend more ways to cut down on energy consumption.  

To read more tips on making your property management operations more sustainable, click here to see all of our property management topics.

Ready To Go Digital? Click here to learn more.

Topics: property management, environment, tenant communication, 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

Going Green Takes Commitment – Advice for Property Managers

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Spring is right around the corner. What better time than to discuss going green at your property?

Going green has been a topic of consideration in the property management industry for quite some time. And according to research, the benefits are plentiful. It saves money on energy and, of course, helps the environment. One article even suggests that property managers that go green attract more considerate tenants that care about these initiatives.

Nevertheless, going green is a big commitment for property managers. It’s such a big commitment that Appfolio has coined a new term, “green-ish”, to describe properties that don’t take the full step in going green.

Are you having trouble making the conversion at your property? Check out some helpful advice below:

1. Start with tenant communication! Whether residential or commercial, your tenants are alwaysgreenpropmgmt on-the-go. Pinning a flyer to a bulletin board in the lobby may not be the best way to reach them. Instead, distribute newsletters, memos or other quick notes digitally using the communication channels your tenants prefer – email, voice and SMS text messaging! Another way to reduce paper and ink is to implement an electronic rent payment system. Check out more benefits about using digital tenant communication.  

2. Make green investments throughout your propery. It’s more than just energy-efficient light bulbs. Although a great start, units with replacement doors and windows, as well as ENERGY STAR appliances, can help reduce your tenants’ utility bills too. Low-flow bathroom fixtures and motion-sensing exterior lighting also helps to conserve resources.

3. Encourage tenants to go green with you. Have you provided recycling bins to your tenants? Be sure to notify them of pick-up or drop-off locations for their recyclables. Property managers can also offer discounts on rent payments for automatic withdrawals. Remember, going green requires commitment from everyone at your property!

Could automated messaging be the first step in taking your property green? Download our Property Management Brochure to see how we can help!

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Topics: property management, environment, tenant communication, tenant notifications, go green

K-12 Schools Go Green and Find Uses for School Lunch Waste

Posted by Cassie Breen on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

The addition of more fruits and vegetables into K-12 school lunches has been a struggle, especially in regards to the new USDA guidelines.  Many of the fruits and vegetables that students are required to take end up half eaten or not eaten at all.

Some schools find a way to go green and environmentally use 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.

schoollunchAlthough most of the participating schools exist on the west coast or in the Midwest, more schools across the United States are catching on.  For example, PS 30 in Staten Island, NY has begun to embrace composting in their school.  At P.S. 30, students done with their school lunch have a choice of three plastic bins: one for landfill garbage like plastic bags, foam cups and wrappers; one for recyclables, like metal, glass, plastic and milk cartons; and one for food scraps.

Since students must take these items, but the school district cannot force them to eat the food, an environmentally-friendly solution seemed like the way to go.  In a recent article, Joseph Napolitano, P.S. 30’s assistant principal said, “It’s really being recycled whether they eat it or not; it’s not really a waste.”

Although not all students follow the directions and throw items away in the trash bins, there are a “green team” of students who carefully pick out unwanted junk, while wearing latex gloves.  Even with less than a quarter of school buildings participating, the weight of all discarded scraps came to 1,400 tons between September and March, compared with 450 tons during the entire 2012-13 school year.

The New York City school composting program kicked off just two years ago in 230 school buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island and is expected to at least double in the fall.  The city is hoping this will encompass 1,300-plus school buildings.

To view the full article click here.

To read more about “going green” in your school check out more blog posts.

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

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