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What is the Green Schools Program?

The Green Schools Program (KCGSP) is sponsored by King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Solid Waste Division. Their program mission is to provide King County schools and school districts with tools and support needed to

  • initiate and expand waste reduction and recycling practices and other conservation actions.
  • involve the whole school community in environmental stewardship.
  • operate environmentally efficient and responsible facilities.

The program allows any King County schools and districts to progress through four program levels: Level OneLevel TwoLevel Three and Level Four.  King County provides assistance and support to the schools while the school is participating in its program.  After completing the criteria in each level, participating schools and districts receive recognition.

Lakeridge is very proud to be a Certified King County Green School in all 4 Levels of the King County Green Schools Program. Supporting this program is vital for our children to understand the importance of our environmentalism and why these efforts make a difference.   Additionally, Mercer Island School District is a certified green district.  This means every school in the district has been certified in at least the first level of the program and that the district itself has progressed through the program to meet their criteria for certification.

In 2013, King County Green Schools recognized Lakeridge Elementary as a Level 3 school which is the highest level achieved in conservation efforts.We are certified on all 4 levels: waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation and continued education about the environment throughout our school.

The teachers and students have done a great job keeping our environment clean by sorting recyclables, compostables and sending the rest to the landfill.  By diverting all of our recycling and compostables away from the landfill, we are turning 2/3 of our trash into reusable materials a new plastic bottle, a shoe or rich topsoil for planting fruits and veggies.  Supporting this program is vital for our children to understand the importance of our environmentalism and why these efforts make a difference.

Green Schools Program Student Clubs

Green Schools Program Parent-Led Club

Video on Sustainability at Lakeridge!!!

Remember, Lakeridge is a No Idle Zone. Please turn off your cars and do not idle when dropping off or picking up your children at Lakeridge


Lakeridge Elementary honored with national Green Ribbon Schools award

May 4, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Lakeridge Elementary is among the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.  

Lakeridge is being honored for its innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. The 64 districts and schools honored nationwide were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. Only two Washington state schools were selected this year. 

“We are so proud to have Lakeridge recognized as a national Green Schools leader for its continued sustainability practices,” said Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano. “This award is a tribute to the remarkable efforts of the District Green Team chair, Nancy Weil, as well as the school’s staff, students and families over the last eight years.” 

Representatives from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Green Ribbon Schools’ corporate sponsor California Casualty presented a $2,500 award to Lakeridge Principal Jenny McAlaine and the school’s Green Team at a recent Earth Week assembly.

“This is such an incredible honor for our school,” McAlaine said. “Our Green Team has worked hard to make Lakeridge a model for sustainability throughout the building.”

“Achieving the Green Ribbon Schools award is a huge accomplishment and we are proud to help sponsor this program,” said California Casualty Washington Partner Relations Regional Manager Brian Goodman.

Lakeridge first formed its Green Team in 2009, spearheaded by parent Nancy Weil and teacher Heather McLyman. Today Green Teams exist in every school in the Mercer Island School District. 

Over the course of six years, it attained recognition as a level one, two, three and then four Green School in this comprehensive program, which encompasses waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, transportation education, and environmental education on all levels. 

Lakeridge, along with the entire school district, participates in an energy-benchmarking program run by Smart Buildings in Seattle. The District’s maintenance and operations department uses this program to obtain energy use numbers and find ways to reduce usage further. All indoor and outdoor light bulbs were replaced with LED lights.

Students learn the importance of monitoring energy use and turning off computers, appliances and other equipment when not in use. Many classrooms have light timers and sensors. Water conservation consists of student educational campaigns, and recently added low-flow faucets in bathrooms and classrooms are reducing water usage by approximately 20 percent.

In fall 2016, Lakeridge ran a food waste reduction campaign during which students created posters all around the school teaching students about the effects of food waste, and helped weigh food compost after each lunch for several weeks. Students made announcements every morning over the loudspeaker and in the lunchroom with facts about food waste and its heavy environmental impact. As a result, Lakeridge reduced food waste by 15 percent. 

The Lakeridge PTA is active in supporting the school’s Green |Team by educating parents about sustainability, with lessons about everything from packing waste-free lunches to running zero waste classroom parties and school events. The PTA provides room parents with compost bins and party supplies, making every effort to run zero-waste events.

The school participates in the HealthierUS School Challenge, has a coordinated school health plan, and participates in a farm to school program. The garden club helps to educate students about nutrition and sustainability, and its produce is used in the school cafeteria. Parents volunteer to run a walkers club daily after lunch.

Every September, Lakeridge hosts re-education on being a green school, this year featuring a new, student-created video on the danger of plastics in the oceans. The school offers an Earth Week celebration that involves a different activity each day. Student green team members share daily green tips, go around the school daily to collect recyclable materials from all classrooms, visit classrooms frequently to promote conservation practices, and have started a contest to engage students in conservation actions.

Environmental and sustainability topics are integrated into Lakeridge’s science lessons. Students attend a three-day NatureBridge environmental science program in the Olympic National Park, they participate in field experiences at local beaches and the waterfront aquarium. They visit a salmon hatchery, where they learn about and acquire salmon eggs, and raise them until they are ready to be released into the water. Students visit the Mercer Slough to learn about the effects of environmental changes on plants, animals, and the air we breathe.

All grades have the opportunity to work and plant in the school garden. Second graders raise caterpillars to butterflies and learn about releasing them to migrate south, while learning how air quality changes migration patterns. Kindergarteners raise chicken and duck eggs until they hatch, while learning about the life cycle and meeting farmers who adopt the birds and take them on to the next part of their lives.

The school’s Green Team also teaches students about environmental stewardship in their daily life. “Our goal has been that this becomes second nature to students, so when they grow up and join the world they’ll always have that connection,” said Weil. “We have received full support from the district and spread these practices to every school in the district.” 

In 2016, Lakeridge was honored by the state with the Washington State Green School Leader Award by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The award recognizes schools in Washington state whose practices reduce waste and protect the environment. Lakeridge has also been recognized by King County as a Sustaining Green School for maintaining strong conservation practices.

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