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Westside Neighborhood School (WNS) has in Playa Del Rey partnered with the Grades of Green organization to expand on going ‘green.’ Grades of Green is a nonprofit organization, “with a vision of making environmental protection ‘second nature’ in young minds.”

Environmental stewardship is a core value at WNS and is reinforced at every morning assembly with a pledge to the earth. WNS is always looking for authentic and meaningful ways to put words into action. Through the partnership with Grades of Green, WNS is rolling out a new program that is expected to grow over the years to come.

The partnership serves to both educate the school community on the importance of reducing trash buildup and to see how much lunch-time trash can be reduced at the school. To help implement the program, volunteer middle and elementary division WNS students have been separated into two student-led green teams. With the support of elementary science teacher Shellinda Barre and middle school math and science teacher Kaitlin Lester, these students will help lead WNS in this important initiative.

Barre adds, “Partnering with Grades of Green enables us to provide opportunities for our students to practice their leadership skills as they help to implement a program that will help to keep trash out of our landfills and preserve our natural resources. Already, our students have displayed their dedication to the cause by showing up to our green team meeting and helping to create informative posters and assembly presentations during their free time.”

One element of the Grades of Green program that the student green teams are in the process of introducing to the WNS community is “Trash Free Tuesdays.” The ultimate goal of the Trash Free Tuesday program is to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills. Students are encouraged to bring lunches that contain reusable containers and utensils instead of disposable ones. A new waste sorting system will be introduced at the Trash Free Tuesday kick off that includes a bin for landfill trash, recyclables, compostable items, and liquids. Several other Los Angeles County schools will also be participating to reduce lunchtime waste. Collectively, schools expect to divert thousands of bags of trash destined for landfills this year alone. More more importantly, the Grades of Green program will teach better habits that will protect the environment.

For more information on WNS or Grades of Green, visit www.wnsk8.com or www.gradesofgreen.org.