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DCPS Recycles! Celebrates Success Stories from 2014-2015

DCPS Recycles! is proud to present just a few of the highlights of the 2014-2015 school year! See More Photos for examples of DCPS recyclers in action.

Highlight #1: Organics Champions!

Congratulations to the 53 schools that have made the DCPS Recycles! Honor Roll 2015! Honorees are DCPS schools have shown enthusiasm for, and excellence in, recycling. Special congratulations to the 37 schools that successfully launched organics recycling this year, and in particular to the newest additions to the organics champions list: Barnard Elementary School (Ward 4), Hart Middle School (Ward 8), Ketcham Elementary School (Ward 8), Leckie Elementary School (Ward 8), Payne Elementary School (Ward 6), School Within School @ Goding (Ward 6) and Shepherd Elementary School (Ward 4).

Highlight #2: Maintenance Masters!

On Earth Day we profiled the exemplary work of the CW Harris Elementary School (Ward 7) maintenance team. Here are just a few more examples of the great maintenance work happening across DCPS:

  • At Truesdell Education Campus (Ward 4) the maintenance team, headed by Mr. Larry Holt, took it upon themselves to begin their recycling program on the first day of school without even requesting additional assistance from DGS. Mr. Holt, understanding the importance of reducing waste for the future, has really embraced the program and their team has taught their students how to sort properly.
  • Ms. Diane Winsett, Foreman of Moten Elementary School (Ward 8) has led a successful program that runs during both breakfast and lunch. Her program involves student helpers, as well as staff who watch over the bins and work with students to make sure waste is sorted properly.
  • Mr. Anthony Smith from Thomson Elementary School (Ward 2) created his own innovative system that uses different bins from the ones originally provided by DGS. Smith’s program captures materials while reducing bag usage, allows for better student mobility around the cafeteria, and enlists the help of students to monitor the bins.

Highlight #3: Data Makers!

Thanks to the schools that helped us collect valuable data to inform improvements to the DCPS Recycles! program!

  • In addition to implementing exemplary recycling programs, Powell Elementary School (Ward 4) and Stoddert Elementary School (Ward 3) hosted DGS’ first DCPS school-wide waste audits.
  • Students at Browne Education Campus (Ward 5), Hart Middle School (Ward 8), Leckie Elementary School (Ward 8), School Within School @ Goding (Ward 6), Tubman Elementary School (Ward 1) and Tyler Elementary School (Ward 6) learned about waste through real world data collection.
  • DCPS Food and Nutrition Services led cafeteria waste audits with the DGS team and staff at Aiton Elementary School (Ward 7), Burroughs Education Campus (Ward 5) LaSalle-Backus Education Campus (Ward 4), and Smothers Elementary School (Ward 7).

Highlight #4: Kitchen All-Stars!

Did you know that a lot of recycling in the schools actually happens behind the scenes in the kitchen? Examples of little-known recycling success include:

  • The Chartwells staff at Thomson Elementary School (Ward 2) demonstrate model collections of organics, mixed recycling, and broken down cardboard boxes in the kitchen. They dispose of their food prep scraps and excess food from the service line in their organics bin, and are experts at recycling materials such as empty aluminum cans and plastic jugs.
  • The DC Central Kitchen staff at Walker Jones Education Campus (Ward 5) have had an exemplary recycling program since the organics pilot program started in 2013. Each day the kitchen dumps food scraps directly into the organics dumpsters, eliminating the need for bags. This conserves resources and money!

Highlight #5: Principal Advocates!

Leadership from principals is essential for the success of the DCPS Recycles! program in all participating schools. A few of our principals have shown extra willingness to get hands on in the cafeteria, including:

  • At Ketcham Elementary School (Ward 8), Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger demonstrated how to sort to every lunch period and helped guide students through the process when it was time to clean up on the first day of their program.
  • At Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8), Principal Kennard Branch was willing to get his hands dirty to help his students learn how to sort, and created a memo to teach his entire staff the sorting process.
  • At Maury Elementary School (Ward 6), Principal Carolyne Albert-Garvey can regularly be found in the cafeteria holding up examples from the school lunch and explaining which bin each item belongs in.

Highlight #6: Student Leaders!

In many of our schools, students have taken the lead in establishing recycling, including:

  • The Recycling Club at McKinley Technology High School (Ward 5) collects recyclables from around the school building twice a week, receiving community service credits towards graduation. The club has also collaborated with art students to create an art exhibit entitled “Trashing” where they created clothing items out of discarded materials. This year the club even helped a neighbor who designed his garden with recycled bottles from the school.
  • At Hyde-Addison Elementary School (Ward 2) second graders initiated their school recycling program. As part of Hyde-Addison’s Day of Service these students audited their school building to establish an inventory of supplies they had and still needed, learned about the importance of recycling, and promoted recycling to the student body.
  • Sixth graders at Hart Middle School (Ward 8) not only helped conduct a waste audit of their school’s cafeteria waste, they also helped rap, record, and film a music video promoting recycling at Hart. “Welcome to Hart, the heartbeat of Southeast. Where we recycle and com-p-o-s-t!” as they like to say!

Highlight #7: Artist Activists!

Schools across the city incorporated the idea of reducing, reusing, and recycling through art, including:

  • At J.O. Wilson Elementary School (Ward 6): students created posters during art class that demonstrated the proper way to sort in the cafeteria by gluing actual example items to poster board.
  • Students at Mamie D. Lee School (Ward 5) created “recycled rugs” made from discarded materials, including milk cartons from their own school cafeteria.
  • Students from across the city showcased their hand-crafted clothing made out of un-recyclable waste at the DCPS Trashion Fashion Show at newly constructed Brookland Middle School (Ward 5).

Many thanks to all DCPS staff and students who participated in recycling this year!