Crestwood Elementary School has been recognized by Missouri Green Schools for their commitment to improving health and wellness of students and staff, lowering their environmental impact, and providing place-based education. Place-based education grounds students in local environmental and community systems, facilitates real-world problem solving, and helps students see the relevance of educational concepts to their lived experiences.
The Environmental Club at Crestwood helped achieve this status with their “Green Wave of Change” project that was implemented in 2019-20. That year, the students won the Green Schools Quest first place prize in the elementary school category, in the contest held by the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. It was the school’s first year in the competition which brings a no-cost or low-cost sustainable project to the school.
The student-driven project at Crestwood and Long elementary schools included working with the cafeteria on improving recycling and sustainability. Recycling in the school was contaminated. For example, students would put candy wrappers into recycling bins thinking they were recyclable or throw in food from lunch. The school also began to use sustainable lunch trays and utensils.
Additionally, Crestwood created a new garden, maintained by the Environmental Club. Jaclyn Jezik, a parent, and Karen Luning, a reading specialist, both co-sponsor the club.
Missouri Green Schools (MGS) is a support and recognition program for Missouri schools co-managed by the U.S. Green Building Council - Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. Every October, MGS recognizes schools for initiating and maintaining green practices on campus and in the community.
Crestwood is one of 17 honorees in 2022 and one of 10 that achieved Sprout level recognition by involving school administration, beginning to benchmark and track improvement, and setting goals towards further advancement of green and healthy practices.
By achieving Sprout Level, Crestwood is setting the stage for continued improvements to the school’s campus, curriculum, and culture.