H.U.S.D. is talking trash, advice and not the gossip kind of “trash.” We are talking about real garbage. It is grabbing our attention, and we are taking it seriously. Hayward High, for example, has jumped on board with support from partnership agencies A.C.O.E., !Recycle@School!, Learn and Serve K-12, and Stopwaste.org to engage in S.L.W.R.P.: a year-round emphasis on a Service Learning Waste Reduction Program.
Nate Ivy, the S.L.W.R.P. Program Coordinator at sites throughout the Bay Area, has coordinated with Hayward High teachers and administration to help Hayward High build a service learning model that bridges Content Standards and curriculum to community based projects. The new projects will help students, teachers, and community members learn the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot” formula for reducing waste.
The service learning model is a shift from direct method teaching to interactive learning that empowers students on multiple levels. The model includes the following areas: meaningful service, student voice, reflection, diversity, partnerships, duration/intensity, link to curriculum, and evaluation. The model stands apart from traditional community service in that it infuses values around service, integrates Standards based curriculum and high academic achievement, and builds sustainability.
Hayward High instructors Charles Martin and Megan Ball had the opportunity to attend the S.L.W.R.P. orientation at the Waste Management Transfer Station’s Education Center in San Leandro before the school year started. There they took a tour of the facility and saw how they sort and recycle trash from at least fourteen cities. They were able to observe firsthand the kinds of materials people dispose of in the landfill that could be easily sorted and recycled into usable products. Those on the tour were surprised, for example, at how much cardboard and food product were not either recycled or composted. It opened the tour members’ eyes not only to the consumption habits of people but also the excessive waste that could have been avoided in the first place. The abundance of trash equates to 30 trucks a day that carry, to the landfill, 50,000 pounds of garbage each. It was noted that the “life” of much of the trash could be different if people rethought their daily habits. Much trash that people dispose of, for instance, like bowling balls, shoes, stuffed animals, and tennis balls, have a possibility of another life if they are reused.
The inspiring, informative orientation highlighted successful, ongoing projects at local schools which build awareness about waste management and help community members become more responsible in their choices. Those include Winton’s Garden and food program, Irvington’s Ewaste program and Go-Green initiatives, Tennyson’s media academy blogs, and other projects that involve litter indexing, waste audits, and battery recycling, to name a few.
It will no doubt be a transformative experience. Students, teachers, and administrators are invited to attend and celebrate continuing development of service and waste awareness. In November, Hayward High students hope to attend an educational program and tour at the Transfer Station. The program will focus on Bay friendly gardening, integrative waste management, or green building. The kick-off event for S.L.W.R.P. will take place at Irvington High on September 19.