Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Goddard's Gone Green
By Tracy Gross,
Tracy Gross is a teacher at Robert Goddard Montessori

In the spring of 2007 Robert Goddard Montessori School was awarded the prestigious honor of being identified as a Green School. Many people know what it means to "Be Green," but what does it mean to be recognized officially, as a Green School? The goal of a Green School is to use the school, community, and curriculum to educate and instruct students on how to build a sustainable future. Additionally, the goal is to promote an awareness, sensitivity, and commitment to help solve current and future environmental challenges that we as a local and global community face.

There are three broad objectives that must be met in order to qualify as a Green School. The first objective is Curriculum and Instruction which includes environmental issue instruction, staff development, and school wide celebrations. The second objective is Operation, Maintenance, and Design of School Building and Grounds. This includes, water, pollution, and energy conservation, solid waste reduction, habitat restoration, responsible transportation, and healthy school environment. The last objective is School Community and involves establishing relationships with community partners in the local and the school community that addresses environmental issues.
Becoming a Green School is an extremely rewarding and challenging experience. The benefits are numerous. Research has shown that students in Green Schools show:
  • greater pride and respect for nature and all living things
  • greater achievement in math, reading, writing, science and social studies
  • reduced discipline issues
  • greater pride and ownership in accomplishments

And if that doesn't convince you of all of the rewards and benefits, then how about this: being a Green School is a blast! Here at Robert Goddard, we have begun to transform our battered schoolyard and students into a tremendous habitat for wildlife, learning and budding environmentalists.

Last year we built a butterfly garden in our courtyard. The students wrote a grant, designed the structure, researched appropriate plants for the space, and executed the construction.We built a rain garden to help with drainage problems on campus, built a bluebird trail, have a recycling program, and have planted hundreds of plants, flowers, and trees. Our school is quite a site to behold.

On Friday, April 24, Robert Goddard Montessori will hold our second annual Earth Day Festival. This is a school wide event. During the day the students will rotate through outside stations receiving lessons from the community on environmental issues. We will have many wonderful presenters such as The Patuxent River 4-H Center, Camp Schmidt, Solar Connections, NASA, U.S. Park Services, just to name a few. We will also be welcoming many dignitaries that will be visiting our school. Additionally, every student will be planting, playing environmental games, and celebrating our glorious planet.

Being a Green School is a real commitment to the students, community, and the earth. It is not to be entered into lightly as it is a tremendous commitment and responsibility. If you are interested in becoming a Green School, check out http://www.maeoe.org/ for more information.

Arrowhead Elementary School: 1999
Berwyn Heights Elementary School: 2006
Charles Flowers High School: 2001
Eleanor Roosevelt High School: 1999
High Point High School: 2004, 2008
John Hanson French Immersion: 2004
John Hanson Montessori: 2004, 2008
Patuxent Elementary School: 2004
Queen Anne School (I): 2007
Robert Goddard French Immersion: 2007
Robert Goddard Montessori School: 2007
Scotchtown Hills Elementary School: 2005
Tanglewood School: 2002
SOURCE: The Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education

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