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Congratulations to the 2016 DC Recycle Right! Competition Winners and Participants

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Department of General Services Recognizes 26 DC schools for promoting recycling.

(Washington D.C.)—The Department of General Services (DGS) congratulates the 26 District schools that participated in the 2016 DC Recycle Right! Competition, which is part of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Growing Healthy Schools Month celebration in October.

The second annual competition was inspired by the Green Schools Alliance’s Green Cup Challenge. During the competition, students in both District Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and a DC public charter school used math skills in a real-world application to conduct weekly classroom bin surveys in which students counted the number of recycling and trash bins used correctly and incorrectly. Students and teachers then took action to improve bin survey results over the course of the competition.

“We are very proud of the continuing enthusiasm demonstrated by schools across all eight wards for recycling right in their schools, and of the increasing sophistication of the strategies they used to succeed,” said Greer Gillis, DGS Director.

“This year we saw schools build on prior success by employing strategies identified during last year’s competition,” said Zach Dobelbower, DGS Interim Director of Sustainability and Energy. “Students demonstrated the transformative power of peer-to-peer learning. As a city, we also learn by sharing replicable sustainability strategies with peers across the United States.”

For example, School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens organized student recycling monitors and “recycling heroes,” who presented to younger students about correct recycling procedures.

“This is real math, real science, real development of a sense of community, and student ability to make a difference in their school,” said Karin Harrison, the lead teacher for the competition at School Without Walls. 

Two students at Ballou High School, which placed 1st in Most Improved, demonstrated their initiative by volunteering to present the recycling program to classrooms throughout Ballou.

Student recycling clubs and school recycling committees were established throughout the District as a result of the competition. The student recycling club at Wilson High School started with two students volunteering to conduct bin surveys during the first week of the competition and grew to an impressive 20 students by the end of the competition.

Tyler Elementary School’s recycling team customized recycling bins and created stickers to reward students who recycled correctly. Burroughs Elementary School’s recycling committee educated the school about acceptable recyclable items and began using recycling supplies that were previously in the school’s storage.

Cardozo Education Campus students adopted the bin survey worksheet to survey bin labels and liners in addition to correctness. Cardozo students also participated in a full lesson, created by teacher Molly Smith, during which they made homemade paper to learn firsthand the importance of recycling right.

Overall, the average of all schools’ bin surveys increased from 65 percent correct during the first week of the competition to 82 percent correct during the last week, an improvement of 17 percentage points. While most recycling competitions reward participants for recycling more based on volume or weight, the Recycle Right Competition rewards participants for ‘recycling right’ based on percentage of correct bins, which is more in line with the SustainableDC zero waste goal.

Schools that are interested in conducting the competition activity on their own can find instructions on the DGS – Healthy Schools page, here: http://dgs.dc.gov/node/882692.

Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the D.C. Healthy Schools Act in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration every October, school staff coordinates activities aimed at engaging students in conversations about nutrition, the environment, recycling, and being active.

The D.C. Recycle Right! Competition is part of the international Green Cup Recycle Challenge, a program of the Green Schools Alliance.

The full list of D.C. schools that participated in the Growing Healthy Schools Month recycling competition activity includes: 

- Highest Performance -

First-Second-Third & Honorable Mentions (with Percentage of Correct Bins)

  • 1st Place: Brookland Middle School - 97%
  • 2nd Place: Burroughs Elementary School - 92%
  • 3rd Place: Janney Elementary School - 86%
  • Honorable Mention: Dorothy I Height Elementary School - 80%
  • Honorable Mention: Key Elementary School - 80%

- Most Improved -

First-Second-Third & Honorable Mentions (with Percentage Point Increase)

  • 1st Place: Ballou High School - 70 percentage points 
  • 2nd Place: Randle Highlands Elementary School - 52 percentage points
  • 3rd Place: Tyler Elementary School - 50 percentage points
  • Honorable Mention: Drew Elementary School - 48 percentage points
  • Honorable Mention: Cardozo Education Campus - 32 percentage points

- Most Replicable Solution -

First-Second-Third & Honorable Mentions (with Replicable Solution)

  • Ballou High School - Student Presentations
  • School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens - Student Recycling Monitors
  • Cardozo Education Campus - 5E Lesson Plan

Other Participating Schools:

  • Anacostia High School (Ward 8)
  • Ballou High School (Ward 8)
  • Benjamin Banneker High School (Ward 1)*
  • Brookland Middle School (Ward 5)
  • Burroughs Elementary School (Ward 5)*
  • Cardozo Education Campus (Ward 1)*
  • Deal Middle School (Ward 3)*
  • Dorothy I Height Elementary School (Ward 4)
  • Drew Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)*
  • Houston Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School (Ward 6)*
  • Janney Elementary School (Ward 3)
  • Key Elementary School (Ward 3)*
  • KIPP DC: Heights Academy (Ward 8)
  • Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School (Ward 6)
  • Noyes Elementary School (Ward 5)
  • Phelps ACE High School (Ward 5)
  • Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)*
  • Roosevelt High School (Ward 4)
  • School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens (Ward 2)*
  • School-Within-School @ Goding (Ward 6)
  • Tyler Elementary School (Ward 6)
  • Van Ness Elementary School (Ward 6)*
  • Woodrow Wilson High School (Ward 3)
  • Youth Services Center (Ward 5)

*Denotes schools that participated in the 2015 competition as well