Are Our Schools Going Green?

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I wrote this post back in September 2008 after nearly drowning in a sea of paper coming home from the girls’ school.  Before you read it, you need to know that I have been impressed with our school system and their “Going Green” efforts.  I would say the amount of paper that came home last year was down a good 1/3 from the year before.  Teachers are utilizing emails, the PTO has started a Facebook page so we can stay up to date on events and activities, and the newsletter is even sent via email. 

I’ve been pretty disappointed with the start of the new school year, however to. To be fair, Maddie is starting middle school, and Belle is starting Kindergarten, so there is lots of information that their new schools need.  In general, I am seeing a trend of less and less paper coming home, which keeps my kitchen desk, and my scattered brain happy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  What are your schools doing to eliminate the clutter?

When Schools Go Green…

Forms for this and that.  Newsletters.  Permission slips.  PTO announcements.  Market Day forms….you get the idea.  These papers stress me out and make my life very complicated.  Where do I put them?  Are they important?  Do I really care about Market Day?  Maybe I really should, but I don’t.

This is what came home in my girls’ folders after their first day of school. 

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I counted about 40 pieces of paper.  How many trees will be cut down to supply my two girls with endless forms to fill out and redundant announcements?

after one week:

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100 pieces of paper after 5 days of school.  The girls are in 3rd and 4th grade.  How much money does it cost to print off 100 pieces of paper?  How many weeks of school are there?  Figure 100 pieces of paper times the weeks of school and I’m sure that’s a small fortune, and that is for two children.  Just two.  There is something terribly wrong here.

after one month…


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The papers you see here are not homework.  They are simply reminders after reminders, Market Day stuff and fund-raiser stuff.  PTO stuff and more reminders.  I have nothing against the Penn-Harris-Madison School system, they do an amazing job of teaching and educating my children.  I am hoping to make some people aware of what I think is a pretty serious problem.  I’m just hoping to raise the question of what to do.  I don’t have the answers.  I am just hoping to start the discussion.   Any ideas?

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What are you doing to cut the clutter down at your school?  What about at home or church?

4 thoughts on “Are Our Schools Going Green?

  1. Wow! It is annoying when their backpacks are overflowing. I got into the habbit of taking all the announcements and using them as scrap paper. I put them directly in my computer printer as most things I print up are for personal use and never leave the house.

  2. Cindy Gray says:

    yes I have an idea….the schools know how many children in the family go to that school. The school should give the all that extra stuff to the oldest child in the family to bring home. Cutting down on the extra hand outs. Of course this only works if you have more then one child at the same school!

  3. I also re-use the paper only printed on one side. It goes directly into my printer.

    Some schools are better than others. Our elementary school is still pretty bad. I tried personally to get the PTA to use a Facebook page. Too many people are still afraid of trying something new so we still have no Facebook page and lots & lots of paper.

    Our school system also will not allow teachers to use a website/blog site for their classroom unless is it approved and maintained by the administration so even the teachers send home periodic updates on paper.

    Even email is not used effectively, which makes me wonder why they ask for it every year?

  4. wow– I have a granddaughter starting to kindergarten this year… I’m going to ask her parents to keep tabs on the amount of paper she brings home, just out of curiosity! I saw this fascinating video on building a sustainable (square foot) garden bed on Youtube that used black and white printed newspapers as part of the fill– the colored (ink) newspapers were deemed too “toxic” for the plants. I’m wondering why stuff is not printed on cheaper paper (like newsprint-type printer paper?) and only with black ink for parents who want to compost it? I also believe (dream on) that every elementary school should have an edible garden and composting program. But I also agree that there should be much more utilization of email and social networks (they could be “private”) for school communiques. Thanks for posing this question and for showing the “paper trail”! (I’m one of your Twitter friends at /comoxadventist ) ~Cynthia

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