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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
2014-15 Sustaining Green School (Level Four):Achieved in May 2015

Sustaining Green School (Level Four) – 2014-15

  • Grand Ridge Elementary School sustained its Level One waste reduction and recycling practices, Level Two energy conservation practices, and Level Three water conservation strategies.
  • In 2014-15 student Green Team leaders collected used plastic bags at school and took them to a grocery store collection bin for recycling.
  • The Green Team conducted regular litter clean-up projects.
  • The school participated in the district-wide Waste Free Lunch Challenge and reduced daily lunchroom waste from 23.6 pounds to 16.6 pounds.
  • The school released 18,000 ladybugs as part of an education unit about alternatives to pesticides.

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Level One)

  • Grand Ridge Elementary maintained a recycling rate of 64 percent through a school-wide program that included 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 the 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 used durable trays that were washed and reused.
  • When not possible to use durable trays, the lunchroom used compostable paper instead of polystyrene trays.
  • All utensils provided for school lunches were 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.
  • 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. G.O.O.S. paper was also made into scratch pads for the staff workroom.
  • The school posted reminders in every bathroom to use only one or two sheets of paper towels.
  • 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 was monitored monthly by a district staff member.
  • Custodial staff routinely checked for leaky faucets and reported problems for maintenance.
  • All classroom faucets were replaced with a water saving system. Student bathroom faucets were connected to a time-controlled water savings system that only allowed 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 promoting water conservation.


  • Grand Ridge received a King County Earth Heroes at School Award in 2011.
  • Two members of the Grand Ridge staff and one third grade class received King County Earth Heroes 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
Dawn Wallace, director of instructional support, Teaching and Learning Services, Issaquah School District

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Updated: Nov. 18, 2015

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