In The News: Sustainability Curriculum at MCDS

MCDS’s sustainability curriculum and practices were the focus of a story that aired on NBC Bay Area News in April. The story featured MCDS students, teachers, and staff talking about our efforts to care for the environment and make a positive difference!

The story included a look at the trout project in kindergarten where students hatch eggs and release the fish in a local waterway, student leaders from the Upper School Green Team speaking about their recycling efforts, third graders harvesting vegetables during Culinary Farm class, and the energy-efficient features of the two LEED platinum-certified buildings on campus — the Learning Resource Center and Creekside Science Building. 

You can learn more about our sustainability practices below.

TerraCycle recycling bin

More About Sustainability at MCDS

MCDS’s commitment to green practices is integrated into our everyday habits. From programs that focus on reducing waste by reusing and recycling whenever possible to empowering students to take the lead in conservation efforts, these green practices include:
The Green Team: This opportunity allows students in grades 3rd-8th to be involved in our recycling and waste reduction programs like TerraCycle and the Battery Brigade.
TerraCycle Collection: Students on the Green Team collect cheese stick and snack wrappers to send to TerraCycle for recycling. Various types of plastic can also be deposited in a TerraCycle box located in the school workroom

Waste stations: Our four-bin waste stations are located throughout campus to collect: food, paper plates and napkins for composting; bottles (plastic and glass), cans (metal and aluminum) and other containers (for recycling); paper and cardboard (for recycling); and non-recyclable garbage (i.e, cartons, plastic bags, etc.).

Dead Batteries & Old Markers: Collection bins in school workrooms and the first floor of the Learning Resource Center keep dead batteries, dried-out markers, unusable writing instruments, and glue sticks out of the landfill.  Plastics are sent to TerraCycle for recycling.

Lost and Found: We try to reduce the need for clothing purchases to replace “lost” belongings with our Lost and Found program. Upper School advisory classes take turns each week returning all lost items that are labeled to their owners. All unlabeled items are donated at the end of each month.

MCDS Freecycle: Adults in the MCDS community can sign up to give away and acquire items (everything from furniture and kitchenware to sports and camping equipment) for free via MCDS Freecycle. Freecycle reduces waste, saves resources, and keeps items that are no longer needed or wanted out of landfills. 

Purchasing supplies and disposing of items:  We factor environmental impact into purchasing decisions to determine a product’s environmental impact. Before making a purchase we ask: 

  • Do I need to have this product? 
  • Does anyone else on campus have one they aren’t using? 
  • How many miles does the product travel? Can I buy it locally? 

These questions and others are from a list that was carefully formulated by fifth grade students from the Class of 2014 as part of their Conservation study in Science.

As we envision future priorities for MCDS with our next strategic plan, we will continue to strengthen our green practices and our commitment to being careful stewards of the environment.