Our Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

September 4, 2019

Greetings Prospect Sierra community, near and far! We are committed to environmentally sustainable practices on campus and a curriculum that gives our graduates the tools to be future stewards of our planet. We have been recognized both locally and nationally for these efforts, earning designation as a Green Ribbon School and a Certified Green Business. The following information will orient you to what we do in many different realms to maintain this commitment.

Carbon neutrality

Our school has made a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in all our operations, including transportation.  We have made great progress in this direction and in 2019-20 we hope to purchase carbon allowances for the first time, to completely offset the carbon pollution we generate. The entire school community can help lower the cost of this by choosing the greenest possible commute options. And beginning last year, through the help of a parent volunteer, we provide a detailed carpool map to facilitate sharing rides.

Waste Management and Reduction

Recycling

    • Bins in each classroom for paper recycling
    • Bins in each courtyard for paper, cans, plastic
    • See the signs on the bins for more detail
    • Special bins in the faculty lunch room for pens/markers and glue sticks/bottles

Compost

    • Bins in each courtyard for all food waste and compostable plates and cutlery

Event Supplies

    • Compostable supplies are available in the Extended Program kitchen at Avis and Multipurpose Room (MPR) kitchen at Tapscott. Faculty use these instead of having families bring them in for classroom and larger events. Cups, bowls, plates, forks, knives, and spoons are all available.
    • Pizza Day; we use plastic plates and students wash them.
    •  Printing; we developed guidelines to reduce paper waste.

Ecoliteracy Curriculum

Ecoliteracy is the ability to understand, appreciate, and care for the natural systems of our planet. The faculty has spent time reflecting on how we incorporate this into our curriculum in each grade and subject area. Sometimes this is through learning directly about environmental issues, and other times the practices of ecoliteracy can be learned or used in contexts with completely different subject matter. Grade level teams often collaborate on how to infuse ecoliteracy into the topics taught in their year.

Green Committees

Faculty and staff have the option of joining the committee that works on supporting and interpreting the goals of our strategic plan. There are committees at each campus that meet monthly.  There is also a very active committee of the PSPA and an umbrella group that meets a few times a year to bring all of these stakeholders together.

Earth Week

Earth Week is celebrated either the week before or the week after Earth Day each year in April.  Activities vary, but in general this is a time when we put an extra emphasis on incorporating ecoliteracy into the curriculum, as well as having special events, guests, presentations, and competitions.

Gardens and Outdoor Learning Environments

Avis

  • Two growing areas for food – 6th grade vegetable garden, 8th grade vertical garden.
  • Native pollinator garden – open during recesses and lunch for calm hanging out.
  • Upper Hillside – open once a week during lunch recess for active play.

Tapscott

  • A school garden that is used for both curriculum-connections in science, and as an elective for students in the garden club. Primarily used to grow food plants.
  • Native gardens along the front of the school, in the entranceway near the MPR, in front of the development office, and between the kindergarten yard and staff room.
  • The Tapscott bunnies, Sunset and Midnight, live in the school garden during weekdays and support our ecoliteracy value of developing empathy for all living creatures.

Facilities

  • Photovoltaic electricity generation includes hundreds of rooftop solar panels on each campus.
  • HVAC has been renovated and is centrally controlled for efficiency.
  • There are soaps and other cleaning supplies available for classroom and kitchen use on both campuses. The products that are stocked are the least toxic options for each category.

Resource Links

Strategic Plan (Priority #6)
Center for Ecoliteracy