JDS is pleased to be a part of the King County Green School Program earning Level 1 during the 2009-2010 school year and Level 2 in November 2011. The school is currently working toward Level 3 which is recognition for water conservation.
Shomrim Shift: Each school day at 10:00am, a chime is sounded and students from each class (as well as staff from offices), bring waste receptacles to the waste station centrally located on campus. Students empty trash, recycling and composting and are able to see how their collection compares to other grades. Faculty are on hand to ensure materials are properly disposed and that recycling and compost containers are not contaminated.
Team Yerukim: The school currently has two green teams - one for elementary students and the other for middle school. In 2013, the Middle School Green Team started its own blog to update the school community on green efforts: www.jdsgreenteam.tumblr.com.
- Elementary School: Initiates green projects, serve as lunchroom monitors ensuring waste is properly disposed, communicates green messaging during morning announcements and during school assemblies (Managed by Rabbi Stuart Light)
- Middle School: Research and initiate green projects, updates students via the Green Team Blog on Tumblr, monitors waste reduction and energy conservation (Managed by Jim Wiesen)
- School Garden & Worm Bin. Garden has flowers, herbs, vegetables, strawberries etc. The Middle School Team Yerukim and Jim Wiesen have applied for a rain barrel for the garden. We have a student who has volunteered to maintain the worm bin as his own community service project.
- Yard Waste Compost Container - for grass clippings and other landscape cleanup.
- Recycling Boxes - batteries, lightbulbs - collection boxes are housed in the Front Office.
- Art Classes use recycled materials for art projects across all grades throughout the year.
In the Classroom:
Sustainability and environmental awareness is woven into the school's new inquiry-based curriculum. Units of study allow students to 'dig deep" for a rich understanding of various environmental issues and collaborate for solutions or projects to improve our own environmental stewardship.
- Science Kindergarten: Unit of Study on Trees
Kindergarten students are immersed in study of the environment through inquiry and exploration. They have a unit of study dedicated to trees. Their teacher Aileen Okrent explains, " The children discovered that our scrap paper box was empty, and in it’s place were bags of sawdust, wood shavings and paper pulp! Why were those things in our scrap box instead of paper? Also in the box was a letter from the “mayor” of Bellevue. In the letter, the “mayor” told us how the city was growing and as a result was using more resources from trees. He asked the children to help in doing some research about trees so that he could present this information about the importance of preserving trees and products from trees at a board meeting. Throughout this unit, the children will be learning about the parts of trees and their functions; what trees need to grow and survive, different types of trees and their characteristics and how trees are helpful to people and the environment. We will also be taking a field trip to the Seward Park Environmental Center to learn more about trees!"
- 4th Grade: Water Resources & Conservation
4th graders have a two part unit of study on water resources & conservation. Part one focuses on the properties of water and what makes water, water. Part 2 is focused on salmon in the Northwest. Students learn about water recources and surrounding issues then end with a "taking action" project which will vary from year to year. In Spring 2012, the students chose a "taking action" project that involved sending persuasive letters to government officials and companies to urge them to make choices that will protect the earth's water and ecosystem. By learning what water is, how it is formed, how it can change, and how it is used, the students gain a deeper understanding of why water is so vital. In the Part 1 "taking action" stage, students explore the value of water in our world and ask what their responsibility is to conserve and protect the earth's water. In Part 2, they look at the vital role of salmon in the northwest, identify obstacles to the journey of salmon, why there is conflict between using and protecting the earth's water resources and what their responsibility is to protect water resources.
- 5th Grade: Energy Resources & Conservation and Islandwood
5th graders have a unit of study on energy resources. Students culminate their unit of study with a Going Further project which includes a presentation of their research and visual representation of their self-selected alternative energy source. These students also spend four days at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island in January - an experience showing them the significance of environmental stewardship.
- 6th Grade: Natural Deodorizer Project
In their science lab, 6th graders this year created a product called “JDS Fresh – A Natural Deodorizer”. It’s a mixture of baking soda and essential oils that you can leave in your fridge, shake into stinky shoes, etc. The students designed packaging for the project and distributed it to family members.
- 7th Grade: Household Cleaner & Lorax Trial
In 2012, as 6th graders, students created a safe and environmentally friendly household cleaner called "SuperNatural." In 2013, the students (now 7th graders) improved their formula and have been selling bottles of the cleaner as a fundraiser to benefit Children's Hospital. These students also held a mock trial in January 2013 during which they tried The Onceler from The Lorax. The trial occured during Tu B'Shvat which is the Jewish New Year for the Trees. Each year, the students learn about Jewish laws related to caring for the environment and for animals. They then use Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax as a case study to put these laws into action. The Onceler is put on trial to see if he is guilty of crimes based in the Jewish laws related to the environment, treatment of animals, air and noise pollution. Their teacher Nance Adler writes, "The prosecution made a strong case that the destruction of the forest and displacement of the animals was needless – despite the amazing qualities of a Thneed – and the judges ruled that the Onceler needed to make restitution and restore the area to its original state so that the animals could return to their homes." The judges handed down a split decision on the case.
- Middle School Science: Middle school students have a series of speakers on environmental issues throughout the year including Hazards on the Homefront (September) and Eco-Connections (January). Science teacher Lisette Trombley manages the coordination of speakers for the science classes. The most recent in January 2013 was the new Eco-Connections "Food for Thought" workshop which focuses "on the food we waste, students learn that food has a life cycle – with inputs and outputs – that includes processing, packaging, transportation, and disposal. Students learn how the production and disposal of food affect the environment, how a landfill works, and how decomposition occurs. Then they are asked to think about ways to cut down on food waste." (Description from Eco-Connections)