Green Schools Challenge

The KPS Green Schools Challenge (GSC) involves completing various Monthly Challenges and/or Extra Activities over the course of the school year that promote environmental responsibility. The challenges/activities focus on simple changes in behavior and basic school building operations that reduce energy waste and material waste. A significant aspect of the GSC entails encouraging and providing ongoing opportunities for students to be actively involved.

To help schools complete the Monthly Challenges, the district makes resources available throughout the school year. Recognition and incentives are built into the program.

The GSC runs from September - April. In May, recognition and incentives will be announced.

 GSC Recognition & Incentive Levels:

Schools achieve these recognition & incentive levels by completing challenges/activities and earning participation points. The recognition & incentive levels consist of the following:
  • Level 1 (Green Performance) = 20 - 40 points. The school earns a framed certificate of recognition.
  • Level 2 (Green Achievement) = 41 - 60 points. The school earns a small award banner and $150 for Green Team activities next school year.
  • Level 3 (Green Excellence) = 61+ points. The school earns a large award banner and $350 for Green Team activities next school year. The Green Team's efforts may also be highlighted on an NTV segment/commercial in May. Additionally, all schools that achieve Green Excellence are entered into a drawing for $650 to spend on district-approved items that help reduce waste or energy (e.g., smart power strips, vending machine energy misers, native landscaping/trees, rain barrels, native plants for classrooms, indoor/outdoor recycling containers, etc.).
Green Achievement and Green Excellence schools will receive an award banner made from recycled materials. The district will hold a drawing for the Green Excellence schools' $650 prize at the end of the school year. Each school that achieves 40 participation points will have 5 "tickets" entered into the drawing, plus an extra "ticket" for each additional point beyond 41 points. Examples:
  • 41 points = 5 "tickets"
  • 43 points = 7 "tickets" [5 "tickets" + 2 extra "tickets"]
  • 46 points = 10 "tickets" [5 "tickets" + 5 extra "tickets"]

Overview of Monthly Challenges & Extra Activities

The KPS Green Schools Challenge provides guidance, support, and flexibility. Schools are encouraged to complete the Monthly Challenges in sequential order, but they do not have to do so, nor do they have to attempt all or even most of the challenges. However, it is advantageous for schools to follow the schedule since the challenges build on one another and the district provides resources each month that corresponds with upcoming months' challenges. For example, the district will provide resources in October that correspond with January's challenges. That said, schools are still permitted to skip challenges and deviate from completing the challenges in sequential order.

The GSC encourages active student involvement in completing Monthly Challenges and Extra Activities. Schools earn participation points for completing Monthly Challenges, Optional Bonus Points Activites, and/or Extra Activities. Schools can also complete Extra Activities or Optional Bonus Point Activities if they want to go above and beyond the Monthly Challenges or if they want to participate in alternative activities not included in the Monthly Challenges. Participating schools are not required to complete every single challenge each month to be eligible for awards. 

Click here for a description of this years' program and additional information about what is new this year.


List of Monthly Challenges and Resources

Click on the month/heading below to go directly to that section:


September 

Challenges
Energy Smart Checklist + Classroom Energy Captain - (Re)distribute the Energy Smart Classroom/Office Checklist to all staff AND encourage each teacher to designate a student Classroom Energy Captain for his or her room. (4 points)
Recycling Bin Assessment + Signage - Complete the brief Recycling Bin Assessment to determine your school's recycling needs AND put up district-approved recycling signage as necessary. (3 points)
Start/Continue a Green Team - Start or continue a Green Team for your school. (3 points)
  • Optional bonus points: Invite your custodian to be a part of the Green Team. (2 points)
  • Optional bonus points: After restarting (or establishing) your school's Green Team, announce the team to your school and briefly explain the Green Schools Challenge. (2 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of Green Team members/students conducting the Recycling Bin Assessment AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycat.com (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of Green Team members/students conducting the Recycling Bin Assessment AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the September challenges. (1 point)
Resourcesrecycling bins

October

Challenges
Energy Smart Squad (ESS) - Start an Energy Smart Squad. (4 points) 
Vampire Energy Education - Distribute the Pesky Plug Load flyer (a guide for turning off and unplugging devices to staff). Please note when printing that this poster is 11 inches by 17 inches. (3 points)
  • Optional bonus points: Have students design posters about vampire loads and the importance of unplugging items not in use and hang them around the school. (1 point)
Recycling Education - Educate staff and students on what can and cannot be recycled AND distribute the 'What's Recyclable' list to staff. (3 points)
  • Optional bonus points: Create an educational recycling video of students recycling the correct materials and distribute it to the school. (3 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your efforts to educate the school about vampire energy AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your school-wide recycling education efforts AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the October challenges. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

November/December

Challenges
Energy Smart Squad - Continue with (or start) an Energy Smart Squad. (4 points)
Lights Off - Tour the school with the Green Team and (re)distribute/replace the Lights Off stickers on light switches as needed. (3 points)
Sustainable Holiday Guide - Educate students about carbon footprints and brainstorm ideas for gifts with a small carbon footprint. (3 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of Green Team members/students participating in the Sustainable Holiday Guide challenge AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your Lights Off tour AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com.(1 point)
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the November/December challenges. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

January

Challenges
Energy Smart Squad - Continue with (or start) the Energy Smart Squad. (4 points)
Classroom Recycling - Measure the volume of recycling and waste produced by your classroom for two weeks and estimate a total for the school year. Set a goal to increase the amount of recycled materials (4 points)
  • Optional bonus point: Invite other classrooms to also complete this activity and help them complete the activity as needed. (1 point)
  • Optional bonus points: Create a game for the students that allows them to practice sorting common materials into the correct bins. (2 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your classroom waste measurements AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the January challenges. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

February

Challenges
Energy Smart Squad - Continue with (or start) the Energy Smart Squad. (4 points)
Student Pledge - Create an environmental stewardship pledge for students AND incorporate a way to publicly recognize participants. (3 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your environmental stewardship pledges AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point) 
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the February challenges. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

March

Challenges
Energy Smart Squad - Continue with (or start) the Energy Smart Squad. (4 points)
Small Appliance Count -  Complete an inventory of the small appliances in your building and send the completed inventory to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (4 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of a Classroom Energy Captain in action AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of your Green Team members involved in the small appliance inventory AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the March challenge. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

April 

Challenges
Environmental Education -Have at least 30% of teaching staff incorporate Earth Day or an environmental topic into the curriculum on Friday, April 21st or Monday, April 24th. (4 points)
Earth Day Activity - Plan an Earth Day and/or Arbor Day activity for your Green Team or school. (3 points)
Photos / Tips & Best Practices
  • Take photo(s) of teachers' classroom lessons/activities incorporating Earth Day or an environmental topic AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Take photo(s) of staff/students participating in your Earth Day activity AND submit them to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point) 
  • Share a tip or best practice with the Green Team Champions' email list (GreenChamps@kearneycats.com) regarding your experience completing one or both of the April challenges. Feel free to include a photo. (1 point)
Resources

May

No Challenges - Simply provide feedback regarding the KPS Green Schools Challenge.

Recognition - Schools will be recognized based on their level of participation, certificates/banners/incentives will be distributed, and NTV will potentially produce and air a segment highlighting Level 3 participants (Green Excellence).


List of Extra Activities

Your school can also complete Extra Activities throughout the year if it wants to go above and beyond to earn more participation points or if it wants to engage in tasks other than the noted Monthly Challenges. A list of Extra Activities is shown below by category. Please note that unlike Monthly Challenges, many Extra Activities do not have supporting resources developed by the district.

Your school can also conduct activities that are not listed below. If your school wants to discuss an unlisted activity and possibly receive participation points for the given activity, please email gogreen@kearneycats.com to discuss the amount of points that could be granted.

Communication & Team Dynamics
  • Student Involvement- Incorporate students as members of the Green Team (i.e., students are involved in decision-making, planning, and conducting Green Team activities). (2 points)
  • Principal Photo/Pledge- Have the principal sign Principal’s Sustainability Pledge AND submit a photo of the event to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Principal Communication- Update the principal about the Green Team’s efforts at the beginning of the school year and throughout the year. (1 point)
  • Monthly Update - Update your principal AND school every month about your Green Schools Challenge progress. (1 point)
  • Tracking Tool- Complete and submit the monthly Tracking Tool to gogreen@kearneycats.com. (1 point)
  • Green Idea Program- Start an optional and anonymous Green Idea program for staff and students at your school. (1 point)
  • Community- Present your school’s/Green Team’s sustainability efforts to a community organization or business.  (1 point)
Energy
  • Energy Investigation - Conduct an energy investigation using an NPPD energy kit and develop/submit an action plan. Please contact gogreen@kearneycats.com if you are interested in this extra activity. (3 points)
  • Unnecessary Lighting- Conduct an inventory of any lights unnecessarily left on outside during the day and submit findings to your custodian, principal, and gogreen@kearneycats.com. (2 points)
  • Energy Smart Squad-  Start/continue the Energy Smart Squad during the month of April. (1 point)
  • Energy Star Award- Complete the application for an Energy Star Award (begin in October 2016 for the 2017 award) if your building has a rating of 75 or above. Email gogreen@kearneycats.com for more details.  (5 points)
  • Energy Star Rating- Communicate your building’s Energy Star rating every month to students and staff. (2 points)
  • Energy Star Rating- Place a poster with your building’s Energy Star rating in a prominent place in the building. Update it every month. (4 points)

 Waste Reduction & Recycling

  • Marker Recycling- Sign up or continue the Crayola ColorCycle to recycle used Crayola markers. (1 points)
  • Cartridge Recycling- Set up or continue up a toner/ink cartridge recycling program through Office Depot through the My School Recycles program AND inform the staff of the program. (2 points)
  • Junk Mail- Unsubscribe school from unwanted junk mail and encourage staff and parents to register for free with the Catalog Choice to opt out of unsolicited/junk mail. (1 point)
  • Writing Instruments- Set up/continue a free Terracycle recycling program to collect expired writing instruments. (1 point)
  • Styrofoam- Work with kitchen staff to identify at least one styrofoam item that can be permanently replaced with a paper-based or recyclable plastic alternative. (1 point)
  • Student Lunches- Distribute information about waste-free lunches that students can take home. (1 point)
  • Composting- Begin a compost bin. (1 point)
  • Recycling- Tour the City of Kearney recycling facility. (1 point)
Miscellaneous
  • Water Reduction- Work with your custodian to tour the school and identify any water leaks.  (2 points)
  • Resource Reduction- Distribute the Energy, Waste, and Water conservation guidelines to custodial and teaching staff. (2 points)
  • Wear Green Day- Hold a “wear green day.” (1 point)
  • Community Event - Have staff and/or students attend or participate in a community event focused on energy conservation, waste reduction/recycling, or environmental stewardship. (1 point)
  • Environmental Education- Have a speaker from a local environmental stewardship organization conduct a presentation at the school. (1 point)
  • Mentoring Program- Establish an environmental stewardship mentoring program (i.e., older students teach younger students about recycling or energy conservation). (1 point)
  • Native Trees- Plant native trees and/or plants on school grounds (please ask for approval from the principal and the Facilities Department). (1 point)
  • Green Science Fair- Host a Green Science Fair.  (3 points)

GSC Monthly Tracking Tool

To update the district on a monthly basis regarding completed Monthly Challenges and Extra Activities, an identified Green Team Champion for each participating school is asked to complete and submit the GCS Monthly Tracking Tool to gogreen@kearneycats.com.

Download the GCS Monthly Tracking Tool by clicking here. If you would prefer the Monthly Tracking Tool as a Google doc, please email gogreen@kearneycats.com.

Once the tracking tools are received each month, the district will email KPS Green Team Champions noting the current point totals for all schools.

Please note that the April Tracking Tool will serve as the official and final form for reporting your school's progress for the 2016-2017 school year and determining your school's recognition level and incentives. The Green Team Champion will need to update the Tracking Tool with April's activities and then send it to their Principal for review. The Principal will then review the Tracking Tool. If everything looks accurate to the Principal, then he or she will send it to gogreen@kearneycats.com as the official and final form to be used for recognition points. However, for the more informal monthly tracking tool, Green Team Champions do not have to sign it or consult with their principal: they simply need to complete it and submit it to gogreen@kearneycats.com.


Contact us

 For any unanswered questions and/or if you would like to discuss the KPS Green Schools Challenge in further detail, please contact gogreen@kearneycats.com.