Derby Middle School was named among the top-three 'green schools' in Oakland County Wednesday for continued efforts to enhance environmental education.
The schools was among 173 throughout the county recognized for earning the Michigan Green School designation. Representatives from several of the schools gathered Wednesday at the Oakland Schools campus in Waterford to receive an official Michigan Green School flag and a certificate signed by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Oakland Schools Superintendent Vickie L. Markavitch.
Derby earned the No. 3 spot Michigan Green Schools in Oakland County behind University Hills Elementary School in Rochester, and the John F. Kennedy School in Ferndale, according to Michigan Green Schools coordinator Debby Dunn of Oakland Schools.
Schools must complete at least 10 of 20 "green" activities to earn the designation, and the activities range from paper recycling to garden projects to the use of renewable energy.
Sixth grade science teacher Barbara Pepper credited the students and their parents for continuing a commitment to 'being green' during their elementary school years and taking it the next level this year. Part of that culminated with a new project she and colleague Mrs. Cole created this year by utilizing the iPads purchased by the district.
As part of their regular science curriculum, students brainstormed a list of issues and specific environmental topics as a class. They split into teams, researched one specific topic, and then used the iPads and a movie app. to create video trailers that showcased their issue, and offered solutions.
"It was a risk because we had to learn along with the students but it turned out really well," she said.
Derby students also collected electronic devices during a special recycling and effort during parent conferences that left the collection bin overflowing, she said. And the student council also helped organize an environmental spirit week, with each day designated with a different theme. For example, on 'Dress Loony Day,' the students could donate a dollar for the privilege of dressing outlandishly. The money raised went to the Save the Loons group, which works to help the loons recover from the recent outbreak of botulism brought on by the overabundance of Zebra Mussels.
For more information on the Michigan Green School program visit the Oakland Schools website at www.oakland.k12.mi.us and click on “Michigan Green Schools” in the "Educators" column.