The Byram Hills School District recognizes the importance of educating students, parents, faculty and other community members about environmental responsibility. To this end, the District models best practices in the schools, develops a coordinated K-12 curriculum, integrates environmentally sustainable products and practices into the facilities and transportation departments, and finds partners with local, state and national communities and organizations.
How are we all going to live well within the means of nature?
The Byram Hills sustainability efforts fall within three categories: Curriculum, Campus and Community. The Byram Hills Board of Education recognizes the importance of environmental responsibility through their operational policy (click to view.)
"Educators for sustainability work to develop in young people
and adults the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and enduring
understandings required to individually and collectively contribute
to a healthy and sustainable future."
(Jaimie P. Cloud, Educating for a Sustainable Future, 2010, p. 168)
The external web resources and links identified on this page are not created, maintained or edited by the Byram Hills Central School District or its employees. Such web resources are provided for informational purposes, and the School District does not assume responsibility for their content or accuracy.
Goal: The Byram Hills School District will implement a comprehensive K-12 curriculum on environmental sustainability by 2014 in order to educate students about the importance of environmental responsibility. The curriculum will be reviewed periodically and include ongoing assessment of student learning on the Education for Sustainability Core Content Standards.
In 2008, the District joined an innovative curriculum writing project in the region through Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES on Education for Sustainability. The curriculum was first written and piloted by fifteen (15) teachers in H.C. Crittenden Middle School. An overview of the curriculum project and sample lessons can be found on the BOCES website. The District implementation plans include:
- Write and pilot Education for Sustainability curriculum in grades 6-8
- Watch a presentation to the Board of Education on the HCC curriculum project: HCC Sustainability, May 12, 2009
- Study future curriculum plans
- Write and pilot Education for Sustainability curriculum in grades 3-5
- Watch apresentation to the Board of Education on the Wampus project: Wampus Sustainability, April 20, 2010
- Review and implement curriculum in grades 6 - 8
- Write and pilot Education for Sustainability curriculum in grades K-2
- Review and implement curriculum in grades 3-5
- Study and plan for grades 9-12 curriculum work
- Write and pilot Education for Sustainability curriculum in grades 9-12
- Review and implement curriculum in grades K-2
- Engage in continuous improvement by evaluating the Education for Sustainability curriculum, reflecting upon it's impact, and revising as needed.
Thanks to the Byram Hills Education Foundation
for their generous support of the
Education for Sustainability curriculum project.
- Overview of curriculum initiatives, October 2010. Click here.
- Overview of EfS curriculum K-8: Essential questions and Education for Sustainability standards alignment. Click here. Standards here:
- Teachers involved in the Education for Sustainability project have created several podcasts related to some of the standards. This is an ongoing project: http://pnwboces.org/efs/podcasts/podcasts.html
Goal: The Byram Hills School District will model responsible environmental practices throughout the schools. Specifically, we seek to:
The District seeks to "reduce" in several ways.
1) Initiatives to reduce the use of plastic bottles is seen through the promotion of reusable water bottles, reduction in the selling and use of small plastic bottles at various events, and by educating students about the use of plastic bottles.
H.C. Crittenden Middle School students created an art instillation in the court yard during Art class to raise awareness about the use of plastic bottles in the United States.
2) Each school building seeks to reduce the use of paper. The schools eliminated the mailing of newsletters. Instead, the newsletters are available on the individual schools' website at: www.byramhills.org/schools.cfm.
3) Teachers promote additional efforts to reduce the use of paper, including: posting assignments on e-boards and wikis; copying assignments on both sides of the paper; and reusing the back of old handouts.
4) The High School Guidance Department is currently exploring a paperless college application process and a paperless course scheduling process. The efforts will significantly reduce paper use in our guidance program.
5) The district encourages students to ride the bus in order to reduce the amount of carbon emissions generated by the volume of traffic at our schools. We also promote a "no idling" policy while vehicles are waiting at the school. Please watch the Care for the Air public service announcement created by the HCC Green Team.
- Reuse: Teachers always seek was to reuse items in the classroom. For example, teachers collect yogurt cups to use for pencil holders; books are collected and redistributed through a "book swap;" and initiatives to collect old cell phones to donate to military personnel in Iraq.
1) Bottle Cap collection for recycling occurs in all the buildings. The Byram Hills High School Green Team collected over 30,000 bottle caps during the 2009-2010 school year.
2) Each school participates in a comprehensive recycling effort. We separate our trash in the classroom by paper, plastic and metals, and garbage. The custodial staff keeps the material separated during trash collection in the evenings, and sorts the materials into separate waste containers for collection. During lunch time, we sort garbage in the same way, but also sort by compostable materials. See below for details on composting.
3) Through the PTSA Sustainability Committee (link to PTSA site here), the elementary schools have adopted "Recommendations for Environmentally Friendly Classroom Parties." The recommendations are an excellent way to discuss the ideas of reduce, reuse and recycle with young children while supporting environmentally friendly practices. You can access the guidelines here.
- Compost: Byram Hills participates in a comprehensive composting initiative throughout the district! Watch a Bobcat TV video explaining the details. Each School building separates compostable material from recyclables and garbage during lunch. The compost bins are collected several time per week and sent to a nearby farm for composting.
Green News and Events from the Schools
Coman Hill Elementary School
Wampus Elementary School
Watch the latest animated short featuring the iCARE characters, Francine, Theo, Frankie, and Cara, as they discuss how to be sustainable at Wampus.
H.C. Crittenden Middle School
Byram Hills High School
On April 19, 2010, the BHHS Green Team and the Student parliament sponsored The Green Mile, the first annual walk-a-thon to increase environmental awareness. The funds were used to purchase items to support the school's efforts in reducing our ecological footprint.
District-Wide News and Information
Energy conservation initiatives reported to the Board of Education on November 3, 2008. Click here.
Energy conservation initiatives from our Operations and Maintenance Department, October 2010. Click here.
Goal: Identify our individual and community responsibilities for maintaining and respecting "the commons" through leadership and service.
The commons are that upon which we all depend and for which we are all responsible (The Cloud Institute). With students, we introduce the commons as the resources we share within the classroom. The concept of the commons continues to generalize as students grow in their understanding from the concrete to the larger global community. See a graphic or our representation of the commons.
The District embraces the Westchester County Climate Change Task Force Action Plan.
Partnerships and networks include:
News and Events
- Green Schools Coalition of Westchester - Fall Conference, October 14, 2010.
- Sustainable North Castle - Meeting, October 25, 2010. See Flyer.
- Think Green, by Jeanine Behr Getz. Website.
When cleaning out your house, don’t throw out! Reuse or donate!
Those old, worn out sneakers cluttering up your closet can be donated to Nike (www.nikereuseashoe.com) and the sneaker soles will be reused to make sports surfaces like tennis courts and playground surfaces.
Have old electronics cluttering up your desk space? Green Disk (www.greendisk.com) will gladly recycle your old CDs, DVDs, and old audio tapes. And Best Buy, Staples, and Radio Shack have recycling programs for old electronics and ink cartridges.
Are you receiving endless junk mail?
All of those weekly circulars and advertisements that pile up in your mailbox day after day are created by cutting down 100 million trees each year! Forty-four percent of all junk mail arrives unopened at the landfill!
You can stop this cycle of useless paper by signing up for opt-out lists. You can end your delivery of junk mail through Donotmail.org. Also, you can remove your name from major advertising lists through precycle.tonic.com, and they will even plant five trees for you!
Do you let your car idle when waiting to pick up a passenger?
Did you know that idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed to start the car up? Americans waste about 2.9 billion gallons of gas each year just by idling. To prevent this waste, turn off your car while waiting. With just a simple act such as turning your key in the ignition, we can easily conserve gas and help make the world a more sustainable planet.
Try going organic!
Eating organic foods (foods grown without synthetic chemicals) is good for both our health and the earth. Organic farmers use soil and water conserving techniques for produce so that they are doing their part to help keep our earth sustainable. We can feel better about what we are feeding our families by knowing our food is not enhanced with potentially harmful hormones or pesticides. Opting for organic foods is easy because they are nutritious, delicious, and easy to find. Keep our earth sustainable and our families healthy by going organic!
Lower your thermostat.
Consider lowering your thermostat this month! With the cold months approaching, it is easy to become worried about the cost of your heating bill. You can save money and energy by making sure that your house is fully insulated and draft-proof so that heat is not escaping and the cold is not coming in. If you are going to be out of the house during the day, lower your thermostat just 10 degrees while you are out and you will save about 10% on your heating bill. Since 6% of US greenhouse gas emissions come from home use of gas and heating oils, we should do our part to help make our greenhouse gas emissions lower and our houses more energy efficient.
Use Organic Detergents.
Instead of using liquid detergents that are filled with toxic chemicals, try using organic liquid detergents. Chemicals like ammonia and chlorine bleach are hazardous to your health and to our waterways. Organic detergents are safe to use around children and pets and they are ideal for people who have sensitive skin or are allergic to common skin irritants. Your local supermarket will carry great alternatives that are environmentally friendly and cost effective. Be green to your clothes and to the earth!
Be aware of what you are printing. Only print emails that are necessary for reference, such as receipts. Instead of pressing print after each email you receive, create a folder to store those conversations. Many people are catching on to this idea and have added the line “Please consider the environment before printing this email” at the bottom of every email they send as a reminder to conserve paper. It is easy to set up this customized signature with any email provider and it’s a great way to let others know how important it is to conserve paper.
Buy food in bulk.
Buying food in bulk from wholesale clubs helps you save on packaging material and is cost efficient. Dry foods like pasta, rice and sugar are ideal for buying in bulk. These items use a lot of plastic, metal, and cardboard in the packaging. Since packaging materials make up more than 30% of all consumer waste, your actions will make a big difference in what we throw away into landfills.
Please send any additional resources for review and posting on our website to:
Dr. Tim Kaltenecker at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting the Byram Hills Sustainability website, and for making a difference toward a sustainable future!