Lincoln Avenue student "Green Team" members with their Sugar Maple Award banner.
April 22, 2019
In observance of Earth Day 2019, we celebrate the amazing achievements of one of our very own Milwaukee Community Schools!
In November 2018, Lincoln Avenue Elementary on Milwaukee’s South Side was awarded “Sugar Maple” status by Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin, the program’s highest possible designation. Lincoln Avenue is now only one of 35 schools in the state - and one of the only bilingual schools in an urban environment - to achieve this designation.
“Lincoln Avenue School is a model for other schools seeking to leverage partnerships to achieve mutually desired goals among organizations,” said Samara Hamze, in “Powerful Partnerships Help WI Schools Achieve Health & Wellness Goals” Green and Healthy Schools December 2018 Newsletter.
Over the past year, Lincoln Avenue has started several programs in an effort to “go green.” In partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs (Lincoln Avenue is a site), they applied for and won a grant to add additional garden beds so students could grow their own herbs and vegetables. Thanks to a partnership with MATC Horticulture Department and UW extension, Lincoln received a grant from WholeKids to plant garden beds themed around different foods, like salsa, pizza, and soup. Then, kids who participated in Boys & Girls Clubs summer programs enjoyed snacks from the gardens!
Another fun partnership Lincoln Avenue has built is with Compost Crusader, which equipped the school with bins to compost leftover lunches and snacks. Then, Compost Crusader sends the compost to Blue Ribbon Organics, and buys back soil to help Lincoln Avenue maintain their garden beds.
“Students are the true stewards of our green initiatives,” said Regina Stieber, Community School Coordinator at Lincoln Avenue and employed by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers Department of Environmental Health. In fact, the school created a student “Green Team,” and members are in charge of ensuring that students, teachers, and staff are using the compost bins correctly.
“They love having the responsibility; they know what goes in compost, in trash, and have fun keeping other students and teachers in check,” said Regina. “Students will find me in the hallway and ask if they can be on the Green Team, too!”
As if that weren’t enough, Lincoln Avenue also achieved the status of “Green” (meets expectations) on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s annual State Report Card, which measures factors like student achievement, absenteeism, and on-track success.
As a member of the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership, the Lincoln Avenue leadership team - made up of students, parents, neighbors, and staff - identified three priorities for school improvement: safety, parent engagement, and sustainability. The green efforts are part of the sustainability strategy, with goals aimed at building a healthy environment, a healthy community, and healthy students and families.
United Way proudly collaborates with Milwaukee Public Schools on the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership, a collective strategy to transform schools like Lincoln Avenue Elementary into places where students, families, staff, and the surrounding community can work together to ensure every student is successful.
Feeling inspired? Help your (or your kids’) school go green by encouraging recycling in the classroom and lunch room.
Learn more about the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership.