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Success Story: Grand Ridge Elementary School

[+] EnlargeGrand Ridge Elementary School

Grand Ridge Elementary

4th grade students from Mrs. Pathak’s class empty classroom recyclable materials into hallway recycling container

[+] EnlargeGrand Ridge Elementary School

A first grader in Mrs. Holzer’s class recycles paper

[+] EnlargeGrand Ridge Elementary School

Earth Hero at School Award

Grand Ridge received the King County award in April 2011.

[+] EnlargeGrand Ridge Elementary School

Students recycle in their lunchroom.

School District: Issaquah
School Location: Issaquah
Began Participating in the Green Schools Program: September 2010

Level One of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in November 2010
Level Two of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in May 2012
Level Three of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in May 2014

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Level One)

  • Grand Ridge Elementary maintained a recycling rate of 53 percent, through a school-wide program that includes classroom, office, and lunchroom recycling.
  • Students placed stickers listing what can and can’t be recycled on recycling containers throughout the school.
  • Student volunteers called Waste Watchers monitored lunchroom recycling and garbage containers to ensure proper sorting.
  • With assistance from the City of Issaquah, the school set up a program to collect compostable materials for delivery to Cedar Grove Composting.
  • In 2009-10, food scraps collected during one week each month were used for onsite composting. The finished compost was used in the school garden, the Grizzly Patch.
  • Along with all schools in the Issaquah School District, the school’s lunchroom eliminated the straws and uses durable trays that are washed and reused.
  • When it’s not possible to use durable trays, the lunchroom used compostable paper trays instead of polystyrene trays.
  • All utensils provided for school lunches are compostable.
  • Students created a video and signs demonstrating which materials should be recycled and composted.
  • The school promoted recycling at school-wide events and at events sponsored by the PTSA. Recycling receptacles were placed at the annual Walk-A-Thon, Field Day, and other events.
  • Grand Ridge Elementary significantly reduced paper use by converting to electronic newsletters and fliers instead of paper copies.
  • Scratch pads made from paper used on one side were placed in the staff workroom for use by teachers.
  • Classrooms, offices, and workrooms have G.O.O.S. (Good on One Side) boxes to collect paper used on one side, allowing students and staff to reduce waste by using paper more efficiently.
  • The school posted reminders to use only one or two sheets of paper towels in every bathroom.
  • Grand Ridge participated in the King County waste reduction and recycling assembly in 2013.

Energy Conservation (Level Two)

  • A sign reminding staff and students to shut off lights when they leave a room was placed in each room, including classrooms, restrooms, and conference rooms.
  • The school created an Energy Conservation Checklist to be completed at the end of the day by each classroom.
  • An energy pledge was created to be sung by students to remind them about how they are helping the Earth.
  • The school posted reminders on all outside doors to shut doors in order to save energy.
  • Third-grade students posted signs throughout the school with reminders of how energy conservation protects salmon habitat and the earth.

Water Conservation and Pollution Prevention (Level Three)

  • Grand Ridge Elementary School communicated water conservation tips and leak reports to staff and community members through lunch announcements, monthly emails and newsletters.
  • The school used a rain barrel in the community garden to recycle rain water for watering plants.
  • Water use is monitored monthly by a district staff member.
  • Custodial staff routinely checked for leaky faucets and reported problems for maintenance.
  • All classroom faucets have been replaced with a water saving system. Student bathroom faucets are connected to a time-controlled water savings system that only allows faucets to run for 60 seconds at a time.
  • Fourth-grade students engineered a water filtration system, learned about problems related to contaminated water, and explored problem solving methods.
  • Third-grade students studied watersheds and how pollution affects the water in our local watersheds.
  • Grand Ridge dedicated one day of Earth Week 2014 to water conservation. Students discussed ways they can conserve water at school.


  • Grand Ridge received a King County Earth Hero at School award in 2011.
  • Two members of the Grand Ridge staff and one third grade class received King County Earth Hero awards in 2012.

For more information about this school’s conservation achievements and participation in the Green Schools Program, contact:

Kathy Keegan, dean of students
Christy Otley, principal
John Macartney, resource conservation manager, Issaquah School District

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Updated: Jan. 9, 2015

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