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Posted: 04/09/14

A GREENER ROMEO Above, staff members with Romeo Community Schools attended the Green Schools Award Celebration for Macomb County on March 26, where they learned every Romeo school earned a green, emerald or evergreen status for partaking in environmentally-friendly practices. Indian Hills Elementary had the honor of being top emerald school out of all schools that earned the status. In the Michigan Green Schools program, schools earn points in five areas related to eco-friendly education and activities. Schools are given a certification by earning points: 10-14 for green, 15-19 for emerald and 20 or more for evergreen.

(Photo courtesy of Nancy Campbell)

All RCS schools certified
as MI Green Schools

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Community Schools is one of three Macomb County districts to have all of its schools go green.
       All six of Romeo's schools were honored as being Michigan Green Schools at the Green Schools Award Celebration for Macomb County on March 26 for participating in environmentally-friendly activities.
       Initiated in 2006, the Michigan Green Schools program has schools earn points in five areas related to eco-friendly education and practices. Schools are given a certification by earning points: 10-14 for a "green" status, 15-19 for "emerald" and 20 or more for "evergreen."
       Superintendent Nancy Campbell said one of her goals was to have each school in the Romeo district to be a part of the program and earn a certification. She said she passed it onto the principals, who in turn got the staff and families involved.
       "I told them it's something that does fit within our curriculum," she said. "The ultimate goal is teaching students."
       Indian Hills Elementary was recognized as the Top Emerald School by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners out of all 43 schools to receive the status this year. Principal Lisa Wujczyk said she was surprised to receive the award, but said teacher Amanda Rocha and office aid Leslie Hill were the driving force behind it.
       "I knew we had done a lot more with our efforts this year, but we certainly didn't expect to be honored in this way," she said. "We have many very dedicated staff and parents."
       She said the school has made efforts to reduce its waste production through TerraCycle, which takes items like snack bags and drink pouches for recycling.
       Students also volunteer during recess to collect paper from classrooms to recycle, and for the third year have adopted an endangered species that lives in Michigan.
       Wujczyk said the school plans on pursuing the evergreen status by looking at more recycling programs, clean-up projects around the school and installing bird and bat habitats on campus.
       "We're always reaching for that evergreen status," she said.
       Romeo High School was named the Top Evergreen School in Macomb County during the 2012-13 celebration, giving Romeo Community Schools two consecutive years to have a school named a top school.
       In its first year of participating in the program, Hevel Elementary earned the evergreen status. Campbell said it boils down to the dedicated students, staff and parents working hard to achieve so many points.
       "I'm very proud of what we accomplished in one year," Campbell said. "It isn't enough to say we're doing it, we still have to apply and do all the activities."
       Romeo High School maintained its evergreen status, boasting its alternative energy programs and initiatives with the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center and being the pilot for an energy efficiency program.
       The buildings underwent energy audits from Creative Collaborative Solutions, and after seven months of reduction efforts, the schools have saved $40,000 in costs.
       "We've already saved what we paid them," Campbell said. "We had one of our harshest winters this year and yet we had tremendous savings."
       The high school buildings also earned points for innovative programs like raising salmon in the classroom and conducting energy audits of local companies. The school has participated in the Green Schools program since 2011.
       The rest of the district earned the following certifications: Amanda Moore Elementary, emerald; Hamilton-Parsons Elementary, green; Powell Middle School, green; Romeo Middle School, emerald; and Washington Elementary, green.
       In Macomb County, 37 schools have participated in the program for five years. There were 22 schools to earn a green status and 61 to receive the evergreen designation.

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Retrieved 7/28/2015 at 5:43:52 PM.
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