BSD Schools Celebrate Earth Day Through Sustainable Practices
This year, Earth Day fell on Saturday, April 22, but there are many ways our learning community supports environmental protection year-round. At the March 23 school board meeting, BSD students shared their perspectives on the importance of sustainable energy, ways to create a safer and greener planet for current and future generations, and student sustainability initiatives. Some Earth Day events throughout the district included those centered on recycling, minimizing waste, and reducing carbon footprints.
Several BSD high schools also participated in Ditch the Drive/Carpool to School Day, where students, staff and families were encouraged to walk, bike, carpool or bus to school and work. Other schools participated in Turn Off the Lights Day (T.O.L.D), an initiative to turn off lights that are not determined to be critical in classrooms, hallways, and other areas of schools for the entire day. These initiatives were supported by the Sustainability Ambassadors, a youth organization made up of students from the Puget Sound area, including Lake Washington, Issaquah and Bellevue. Learn about the Sustainability Ambassadors from BSD, who represent Sammamish High School, Bellevue High School, Newport High School, Interlake High School, International School, and Tyee Middle School. William Chang, a junior at Bellevue High School and a Sustainability Ambassador, recently spoke on the importance of sustainable practices and encouraged the community to participate in Ditch the Drive and T.O.L.D. through a video on social media.
BSD Board Adopts Sustainability Policy
At the Thursday, April 20 Regular School Board Meeting, BSD’s Board of Directors adopted a new policy regarding sustainability. BSD is among the first districts in Washington state to institute such a policy.
As defined in Policy 6811 Sustainability, the Bellevue School District seeks to minimize our impact on the environment and increase our individual and collective understanding and agency of how we can work towards an ecologically sustainable school district, community and world. Furthermore, the policy is framed using four pillars of sustainability practices: district resources, environmental safety, collective understanding, and student voice. Several students were on-hand to show their support of the policy during the meeting’s public comment portion. They spoke about the benefits of the policy, student initiatives, making BSD more environmentally friendly, and setting an example for others to adopt positive changes in sustainable practices.
Randy Litzenberger Named 2023 Above & Beyond Award Winner
Serving as a teacher leader and advisor for projects focused on school safety, environmental stability and civic engagement, Randy Litzenberger, a history teacher at Bellevue High School was recently selected as the recipient of the “Above and Beyond Award,” presented by Greet West Bellevue magazine and Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler. The Above and Beyond Award was created to honor teachers who believe in the true spirit of teaching: fostering a creative, fun, and safe environment for kids to learn and grow.
Each year, Litzenberger collaborates with AP Government and AP Environmental Science classes to host a global summit where student teams propose actions that will help provide a healthy future for our planet. BHS senior, Amirah Haque, provided the student update at the April 6 School Board Meeting, sharing remarks about Litzenberger and the potential for Board Policy 6811 Sustainability, “History classes, such as Mr. Litzenberger’s, have begun to bridge the gap between learning and action and giving students options of involvement on this policy as well.”
As stated by Greet West, “Mr. Litzenberger truly brings the Above and Beyond Award to life with his ongoing dedication to his students and their lives. The Bellevue community is lucky to have Litz and so many other amazing nominees who go Above and Beyond every day!”
Climate Change Game at Phantom Lake Elementary
In April, 4th and 5th graders at Phantom Lake Elementary played a game to cut carbon emissions and make a positive impact in slowing climate change. They competed as classrooms and tracked the following actions for each school day:
- Biking, skating, scooting or walking to school instead of driving
- Riding the bus or the train instead of using a car
- Following a vegetarian diet for the day
- Taking a 5 minute or less shower
- Bringing and using a reusable drink container at school
- Bringing and using a reusable bag/lunchbox at school
The game was organized through a nonprofit called 2030 or Bust. and intended to show that everyone can impact climate change by taking daily actions and not waiting for others to solve problems. We can solve so many really BIG problems by empowering ourselves to take action.
SchoolPool Explores Sustainable Transportation
Schools across the district participated in the 2023 Spring SchoolPool Challenge the week of May 1. Bellevue SchoolPool, a collaboration between the City of Bellevue, King County Metro and Bellevue School District, is a program that encourages families and students to explore sustainable transportation options for their commute to and from school in order to alleviate congestion at drop-off and pickup zones around schools.
Students and staff also celebrated the Spring 2023 SchoolPool challenge with help from Pedbee Bee, the SchoolPool official mascot. Pictured are Pedbee with both Anecia Grigsby, Principal, Woodridge Elementary, and with students from Phantom Lake Elementary, who were excited to walk and bike to school and receive prizes from the Phantom Lake PTA for participating in SchoolPool.
Big Picture Hosts Earth Day Fair
The Big Picture Green Team hosted an Earth Day Fair, with the theme of Ocean Plastics. Students participated in a variety of activities and had an opportunity to learn how to help our amazing planet.
Earth Day at Cherry Crest – Chargers as Global Citizens
Students at Cherry Crest Elementary learned that we only have one Earth, and why it makes sense to take care of it and the resources it provides. During Earth Week, third grade started a pilot program to compost paper towels from their bathrooms via a separate bin to be added to the lunchroom compost collection. All grades were able to participate in the collection of candy and snack wrappers and squeeze packs that otherwise cannot be recycled in our normal waste stream.
Beyond Earth Week, the BSD Environmental Impact club and Green Team students are learning together more about being responsible caretakers for the environment. There are always opportunities to connect with nature and help protect it for generations to come. With the right mindset, these students feel that every day can be Earth Day!