SOUTHINGTON — Kennedy Middle School is the latest school in town to pledge to reduce its environmental impact and increase environmental education.
Last month Kennedy joined Thalberg Elementary School and DePaolo Middle School in becoming a Connecticut Green LEAF School.
Students and staff at Kennedy, like the other town schools, are focusing on school lunch waste. They will sort the waste into categories — including recyclables, compostable food waste and trash.
The effort is led by the school's Green Team, a group that includes students, teachers and other staff.
Lauren Jacobs, a learning specialist at Kennedy and Green Team advisor, wrote that the school's administration and the team are “excited to serve as a model for other schools in the district to roll out similar programs.”
Last month, the school received a visit from Connecticut Green LEAF Program director Abby Peklo. The program is a joint effort of the Connecticut Outdoor & Environmental Education Association and EdAdvance.
The state's Green LEAF Program started about 14 years ago. “We're trying to help schools see how they can become greener,” Peklo said. “We asked them to look at their curriculum to increase environmental literacy, sustainability literacy. We ask them to look at health and wellness programs as well.”
One of the program's requirements is that the teams include students, teachers, administrators and custodians. “So everyone is working on the same goals,” Peklo said.
Another goal is for students to also be more environmentally aware out of school.
“For example, recycling properly is a learned behavior that takes a lot of time and energy. Those practices will carry over to home,” Peklo said.