"Green" measures discussed at Red Lodge school

On Nov 20, the Red Lodge School board met to hear public discussion about sustainability initiatives, report on administrative issues and review other action items. After a presentation from Red Lodge Science teachers, Kate Belinda and Pam Nell about their recent workshop from UnCommon Sense: business leadership for a sustainable future program, the board decided to move forward with measures that would help make the school more “green.” Due to the tremendous amount of waste left at school sporting events, especially canned sodas and plastic bottles, Belinda presented to the board the idea of selling re-usable plastic cups featuring logos of the Rams and the opponent team. For $3.00 patrons could buy the cup and have it filled with soda pop. They then have the option to return the cup to get a deposit back or keep the cup and bring them to the games to be re-filled for $1.00. Superintendant Mark Brajcich was excited about the idea, “ I think it’s a cool idea. We could be pioneers and see a lot of schools doing the same.” Further the two distributed the Red Lodge District’s UnCommon Sense mission statement and identified other ways the schools could reduce waste. Belinda and Bell explained the beneficial impact of installing recycling bins in the K-8 cafeteria and purchasing a milk dispenser because the wax on the milk cartons cannot be recycled. The board considered all of their proposals for further review. According to their website, UnCommon Sense integrates education and peer-support by requiring businesses to attend five group workshops over a two-year period and participate in monthly teleconferences. Each training module explains how to conduct self audits, make operational improvements and measure and communicate.” Currently, the school is engaged in four modules, in which eight are needed for graduation. The meeting continued with administrative reports. High School Principal Rex Ternan explained the work teachers have been doing with the Step-Up into writing K-12 program. By using a common template, the program encourages writing in many different subject areas, including the sciences and arts and will help in upcoming assessment tests. Roosevelt Middle School Principal, John Fitzgerald was excited to see 250 attendees at the fall sports banquet, but would have like to see students dress more formally. Doug Mann, Mountain View Elementary Principal discussed the recent PRI day, in which teachers examined a supplemental math program that would help students develop math skills and better track their progress. He is looking into purchasing the program for grades 2-4. Student trustee Levi Lynde said the Key Club has now signed up with Rotary Club to be called Interact, which recently hung up Christmas lights on Broadway. He was also impressed with the fall sports season wins and proud that 35 students also received academic all-state awards by achieving at least a 3.5 GPA. Superintendant Brajcich discussed holding a public forum in Jan. about Internet safety and the common core. He further reviewed the results of staff surveys and said the Beartooth Community Front Forum and a Place for our Arts plan to host a public meeting to examine the use of the old Roosevelt school sometime in March. The meeting adjourned after the board approved new hires and action items. The next school board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1.