Kennedy High School in Fremont, hosts two green themed academies that grew out of the school’s participation in the Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project. The GreenTech academy partners with Ohlone College to offer students dual enrollment credit in courses such as BioTech and ChemTech. The GreenVentures academy focuses on sustainable agriculture and culinary arts. Both programs partner with the ROP to offer career/technical education classes with a green theme. All programs offer opportunities for students to apply 4Rs principals and Kennedy students frequently volunteer to support younger students efforts to go green.
38 students in Chef Moschetti's hospitality class audited a sample of trash from one wing of their school, where the hospitality classroom is located, on Dec. 9th, 2010. The hospitality class is part of Kennedy's Green Ventures Acadamy, for students that are interested in entrepreneurship, culinary arts, agricultural arts, or business and management. Students had the opportunity to discuss waste within the scope of the hospitality industry, and looked at zero waste planning as a way of addressing the environmental impacts of large scale events. The hospitality classroom has a green waste bin, and students imagined expanding use of that bin to provide compost for the school vegetable gardens, thereby bringing their culinary exploits full circle!
Dear Staff and Teachers,
Do you remember the 4Rs from the beginning of the school year?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.
The theme for the Service Learning Waste Reduction Kick-Off days is "Closing the Loop." What choices can consumers make to help close the loop of recycling?
During lunch on November 6th, Stephanie Saenz of Allied Waste will work with members of 540 Club and Leadership Class to challenge students to reduce what goes into our landfills. For example, which item is better for the environment? A CD or a MP3 player? Find out on November 6th.
You may have already seen posters with recycling facts. Fiona Wong will contact teachers regarding a student survey, and a team is preparing displays in the library and quad on Closing the Loop and Community Service Learning opportunities.
Here's what I need some help with. Can you donate one item that was created from recycled material? I have a ream of Recycled copy paper. How about an empty laundry detergent container? What else can be purchased that will close the recycling loop. Drop off will be in the Staff Room.
Examples of On Going Community Service Learning Projects
- Recycling: Paper during home room / Bottles and cans after school on Wed and Fri
- Mini Greenhouse and planter project
- 540 Club Clean up Days Oct 27th and Nov 17th
- Grad Night E-Waste Collection Nov 3rd and Apr 5th
- Video and Digital photo PSAs and documentation of activities
- Garden and Sustainable Landscaping Projects
- Tule Ponds and Tyson Lagoon clean up / Wildlife Habitat
- EarthTeam meetings and activities
- Used Battery Collection Project
- Used Ink Cartridge Program
Thank you for your help,
SLWRP Site Coordinator
John F. Kennedy High School
Even as Kennedy High School students work to reduce their impact on the planet, cheap they seek to have a large influence on the community. Dozens of students from KennedyHigh School hosted booths at the City of Fremont’s Earth Day Festival on Saturday, buy April 24, 2010.
Students taught community members how to reuse newspaper to create seedling pots for the garden. Participating community members received planted seeds to take home. Kennedy’s Culinary Arts students cooked and sold vegetarian chili, carrot cake cupcakes and sun tea as a fund raiser for the Tri-City Foodbank. Kennedy’s photography students installed an exhibit of nature photography from the gardens on campus while a digital art class entered posters in an Earth Day poster competition. Kennedy students from the Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program housed next door to KennedyHigh School explained the new GreenTech construction class teaching roofing and solar installation.
Other projects included a display describing a lab in a biotech class investigating traditional herbal remedies, recycled fashions created by the Environment Club and two huge quilts made of snack bags collected during just one week. Each display measured larger than 100 square feet and contained hundreds of chip bags.
When asked what the school could do about the chip bag problem, one sharp young student from Kennedy replied, “Well, they could start by selling us healthier food! We shouldn’t be eating this stuff in the first place- it’s bad for our health and bad for the planet.”
This year, KennedyHigh School established a Green Ventures program that provides career training in green jobs for agriculture and culinary arts. The new program compliments the existing GreenTech program established two years ago. It looks like students are already taking the lessons to heart.
Students from Kennedy High School's Green Ventures Academy will sell healthy snacks at Fremont's Earth Day fair on Saturday April 24 11AM-3PM at Central Park in Fremont. The Green Ventures Academy students study sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship in food and nutrition.
Fremont's Earth Day Fair will also include a puppet show, native tree giveaways, a creek clean-up event, bicycle valet service, and more.
Kennedy High School shows that "going green" equates with "saving green" by reducing garbage service in half compared to last year. In the last four years, Kennedy has expanded recycling, added green waste service for kitchen food scraps, and integrated environmental programming into a wide range of curricula. The efforts have paid off, both in terms of resource conservation and the bottom line.
The school used to have three garbage dumpsters that were picked up three times each week. This year, the school has reduced the garbage pick up to two containers, twice per week.
"Three years ago, we were sending 9 full dumpsters to the landfill each week," reports lead custodian Liz North, "now two bins are picked up twice per week, and usually one of them is empty- I'd get rid of another one, but I like to have it on hand, just in case."
The reduced service is saving the campus $400 per month in hauling fees.
To achieve such a dramatic reduction, Kennedy has made a number of changes to the operations, management, and education on campus including:
- Pairing each indoor and outdoor trash can with a recycling bin
- Adding green waste service for kitchen food scraps
- Involving student clubs in recycling paper, bottles and cans
- Creating "green-themed" career pathways in technology and culinary arts
- Implementing an aggressive campus beautification campaign
Recycling at Kennedy High School
Student clubs at Kennedy collect paper and CRV materials to divert them from the landfill and raise funds for environmental initiatives on campus. According to Yovani, the recycling club treasurer, the club has been able to fund three $200 "green scholarships" and purchase plants, gloves, bags, bins and other supplies to beautify and maintain the campus.Recycling club members report that a major shift has taken place in the attitude of the student body, "people think twice before throwing stuff out- they think about where it will go and how long it will take to break down. I think we are really helping our school and providing an example to others."
A strong testament to the success of Kennedy's efforts to recycle CRV materials comes from lead custodian Liz North, "scavengers used to dig through our garbage and recycling dumpsters- they'd throw stuff all over the place as they dug out bottles and cans- now, they don't come to Kennedy any more because the students have diverted so much out of the waste stream that there is nothing left to scavenge."
Moving from "Who cares?" to "This Matters!"
One of the most remarkable changes to take place at Kennedy over the last 5 years has been the transformation of courtyards from hard packed dirt to small gardens. English Language teacher Lauretta Aldridge views the improvement of the campus environment as a critical part of student academic success and environmental dispositions- "In the past, students would see a trashed campus, and think, 'Who cares?' They felt that nobody cared about the campus, that nobody cared about their education, so why should they?"
The campus has four central courtyards. Each has been adopted by one of the classes and class officers are responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and beautification of their area. Students have planted native plants, installed stepping stones, spread mulch to keep down weeds, and more to create pleasant sitting areas around campus. The school's Green Ventures Academy also contributes to the beautification efforts by maintaining vegetable and flower gardens in smaller courtyards outside of classrooms. The academy also provides funding and support to English Learner and Special Education programs to provide students with hands on opportunities to learn.
The campus is becoming an oasis with plenty of sitting areas next to flowers, shade trees, and other plants that provide habitat for a wide range of birds and butterflies.
Green for All
Kennedy High School has implemented a wide range of programs that seek to engage all students in meaningful academic work that often includes environmental programming. In 2008, all 9th graders participated in a project based learning lesson focused on the topic of "sustainability." The school has created two green-themed career academies in Green Technology and Agriculture/Culinary Arts. Importantly, the school makes sure that these opportunities are available to all students.
English Language teacher Lauretta Aldrich uses the garden space outside of her room to anchor hands on lessons to help her students gain English skills while learning science content in Biology and Ecology.
Ms. Kohl, a special education teacher, has worked with her autistic students to transform a hard-packed area of campus into a texture garden for her students. The garden provides her students with opportunities to develop responsibility, independence, and other employability skills. Ms. Kohl reports that many of her students have difficulty with new textures and tastes. When students see plants grow from seeds they are able to become familiar with the plants over time which lowers the students' anxiety about the world around them. Because the garden is located just outside her classroom, Ms. Kohl is able to use it as a "positive distraction" when a student is having a tough day. A few minutes taking care of a chore in the garden helps defuse tensions and frustrations common in the day of an autistic student.
Engaging all Stakeholders
Kennedy has worked hard to make sure that students are making the right choices about where to put waste. They have worked equally hard to support all campus staff in implementing waste reduction.
The Kennedy kitchen prepares meals for over 2000 per day for students at 6 elementary schools, a middle school and the high school itself. Reducing waste from the kitchen has been an important factor in Kennedy's efforts. Each prep station in the kitchen has a green waste bin paired with every garbage bin. All kitchen staff have been trained to separate organic waste from garbage, and now the kitchen diverts waxed cardboard, food soiled cardboard, food scraps and uneaten foods into the composting stream.
Dora, the kitchen's manager, is thrilled with the program and reports an unanticipated benefit. "Originally there was concern about attracting pests. However, we just had the pest management company come out and they reported that there are less problems now than in the past. Instead of having so much food waste spread out among all the garbage bins, it is in one place now and much easier to control."
Kennedy's inclusive team approach has resulted in a more sustainable, pleasant and engaging campus for students, staff and community members alike.