Archive for Thursday, April 9, 2009

District goes green to reduce paper sent home with students

April 9, 2009

In a time where “going green” has taken precedence, De Soto USD 232 isn’t being left behind.

The district has taken on a number of green initiatives, from increasing recycling opportunities at schools to the newly implemented E-Backpack.

On March 23, De Soto USD 232 launched the E-Backpack Web site. The site was created to conserve paper and other resources in the district.

“The vast majority of the families in our district have Internet connectivity at home,” Alvie Cater, communications director said. “Those who don’t, we’ll work with so they have the information they need.”

The site, managed by board clerk Wendy Denham, makes flyers available to parents interested in activities, programs and events offered by non-profit organizations in the community.

Cater said the site would be a huge benefit for families who have elementary and middle school children.

“The amount of paper that goes home in one week in one student’s backpack,” he said, “we’re talking thousand of pieces of paper a year. A lot of parents complain when they have multiple children in the school and receive a flyer multiple times.”

The site shows flyers from outside organizations such as Cub Scouts, youth football or cheerleading teams.

“We believe, as a school district, that the primary information going home from the schools should be closely related to that child’s work,” Cater said. “We felt over time that it was just a clutter, the amount of paper being wasted.”

Cater said the site also saved valuable time in the classroom.

“It’s a time commitment to send each flyer to each class and put ti in the backpacks,” he said. “Teachers had to take time out of the day to put the flyers in the backpacks.”

Pam Hargrove, Mize Elementary School principal, said the factors surrounding the E-Backpack were very positive.

“Environmentally, we are saving thousands upon thousands of sheets of paper,” she said. “It’s a time-saving factor. We spent a lot of time counting and distributing flyers to the different grades. Anything we do for outside agencies, even though they are great, they take time away from what is happening in the classroom. So taking this just this one piece out of the teachers’ hands really helps to value the time we have.”

As a parent with three children in the district, Hargrove said it was nice not having all the paper to go through at night.

“I’ve been on it,” she said. “It’s easy and organized. You can find it in an easy fashion and it’s very user friendly.”

Another measure the school will begin this spring is online registration.

Cater said the district will allow parents to register their children for the upcoming school year via an online program. The registration is for existing students only; new students will have to enroll through paper documents.

The system will allow parents to register using family access accounts.

“The time it takes to make copies is a drain on resources,” Cater said. “That’s one reason why we think online registration and E-Backpack are positive.”

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