Manhattan Beach Unified School District

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Green District

MCHS Grades of Green Club Wins Top Spot in Worldwide Competition
The club is one of 10 finalists who were selected by Grades of Green in May 2022 for developing and implementing a solution to the climate crisis as part of the organization’s RISE Climate Solutions Campaign.
Students participated in a year-long program, which guides teams of students through a four-phase leadership process to learn, plan, lead, and take action on a project in their communities to fight the climate crisis. The club had two main projects including a clothing swap event to raise awareness about the harms of fast fashion and textile waste and a clean-up event at the Redondo Beach King Harbor. 
450 students from across the world joined the Campaign and the Mira Costa Grades of Green club, led by 12th grader Samantha Torres, was named a top 10 finalist. At the Eco-Grant Award virtual ceremony, Mira Costa was awarded $250 for the “Greener Good” award.
MBUSD has been honored as a gold medalist in the California Green Ribbon District competition and further honored by the US Department of Education as a National Green Ribbon District.  
In 2012, Grand View Elementary School was named one of the nation's first-ever "Green Ribbon Schools."  They were recognized for waste reduction, green practices, classroom instruction, recycling, and more. See one of the articles on this amazing accomplishment here.
For example:
  • The District began an energy conservation program in 2010 with Synergistic. The program has saved over $1,000,000 in energy costs over 5 years, in addition to reducing the schools’ carbon footprint by more than 100 metric tons of CO2 thus far.

  • Volunteers at MBUSD’s five elementary schools conduct a trash-free lunch program that has reduced trash sent to landfills by 84%—or more than 11,500 bags per year—with a cost savings of more than $10,000 a year.

  • All five of the District’s elementary schools have walk-to-school programs. In many of our schools, an average of 70% of students walk at least one day a week, up from just 15% of students four years ago. Grand View school alone has saved 52 metric tons of CO2 annually, and about $366,000 in gas costs a year for parents. 

  • The District has switched to Green Seal Certified cleaning supplies and has reduced insecticide applications, reducing students’ exposure to toxins. Paul Ruta, Director of Maintenance and Operations states, “Currently all of the cleaning chemicals used by the District are environmentally friendly. The District is proud of this accomplishment and thrives to be an example to students and parents.”

  • Robinson Elementary has implemented a program to acknowledge children who take steps to help the environment. Pennekamp and Grand View Elementary Schools even have a program that encourages students to donate old costumes and rent, them rather than buy their costumes for parties and Halloween.

  • Meadows Elementary School has native water-free gardens that beautify its landscape.

  • The District has begun its partnership with Vitality City, through which even more green activities will develop.

  • Pacific Elementary and the other elementary schools participate in the Go Green Challenge, sponsored by Grades of Green, educating and challenging students to be super green! Click here for more information.

  • Grand View Elementary was named a National Green Ribbon School in 2012.

  • The District installed solar panels at Mira Costa High School and LED lights throughout the District in the 2015-16 school year.

In addition, most MBUSD schools have implemented:
  • In-class composting and recycling
  • E-waste recycling programs
  • No-idle zones
  • Reusable earthquake kits
  • Docent-led environmental lessons
  • Earth Clubs and planting native gardens
  • Paperless school newsletters
  • Composting
  • Reusable lunchboxes and bags
“As a mother who’s concerned about the environment, I’m amazed at the difference one school district can make,” said Suzanne Kretschmer, an MBUSD parent, and co-founder of Grades of Green. “Can you imagine the impact if every school across the country did what we’re doing?”
Growing Great is another non-profit partner for MBUSD in its effort to be green. Growing Great uses school-based gardens and nutrition education to empower children and adults with the knowledge to make healthier food choices is critical to improving our health and environment.