Lewis School recognized by state in Oregon Sustainable School Awards
email@example.com” >By Nicole Dungca | firstname.lastname@example.org
May 06, 2013
The Oregon Department of Education named Southeast Portland’s Lewis Elementary School a winner of its Healthy, Safe Students and Staff distinction in the Oregon Sustainable School Awards. The Oregon Department of Education named Southeast Portland’s Lewis Elementary School a winner of its Healthy, Safe Students and Staff distinction in the Oregon Sustainable School Awards. This marks the second time the K-5 school, which shared its recognition with Lake Oswego’s Oak Creek Elementary, has been celebrated for its student health initiatives by the state this year. Lewis also joined Benson High School in capturing $2,500 through the Oregon School Wellness Awards.
The Lewis community encourages biking and walking to school, offers “Brain and Body Breaks” during class, tends to a school garden and has made strides toward eliminating waste by recycling and composting more materials during lunch.
The state partners with the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative for the awards to laud buildings in the areas of environmental impacts, healthy and safe students, sustainability education and social sustainability. Medford’s Jackson Elementary won the overall award, and three other schools won recognition in other areas.
Oregon Department of Education Spokeswoman Crystal Greene said the Oregon Sustainable School Awards help districts recognize buildings showcasing practices not only around sustainability education, but around sustainability practices.
“What are they doing to reduce their environmental impacts, whether that’s fuel efficiency or composting or school gardens or more efficient buildings?” she said. “And we’re looking at education components: what are they doing to foster the next generation of environmental sustainability stewards in our youth?”
Lewis Principal Tim Lauer says the recognition wouldn’t be possible without a staff and parent community dedicated to the cause of sustainability.
Parent volunteers, for example, help wash out milk cartons to recycle during lunch, which cuts down considerably on waste. And for about seven years, the staff has made a conscious effort to bike or take public transit to work. In the past, the school has raffled off bike helmets to get kids interested in cycling.
“It’s a reflection of the work of the staff and the parent community,” said Lauer. “I’m very happy for them to have that recognition in terms of there’s a lot of volunteer hours that go into these types of things.”
Lauer, who bikes about 3.5 miles to work three to four days a week, says the staff tries to lead by example.
“If they see you walking around with your bike helmet, you’re sending that message to them,” he said.
The list of winners, which were chosen by a panel of 17 judges, includes:
- Oregon Sustainable School Award: Jackson Elementary (Medford School District)
- Pillar 2 Award (Healthy, Safe Students and Staff): Meriwether Lewis Elementary and Oak Creek Elementary (Lake Oswego School District)
- Pillar 3 Award (Education for Sustainability, Environmental and Social Literacy): Jesuit High School
- Pillar 4 Award (Social Sustainability): Jackson Elementary (Medford School District)