The new project is designed to promote recognition of recycling as a community ethic within the school's population of low-income Hispanic immigrant families. School-based and sponsored activities for K-thru-6 students and their parents will be carried out to build environmental awareness and participation in school and community recycling programs. They will measure by both pre and post project questionnaire surveys the differences of neighborhood recycling activity before and after completion of the project.
The project will also respond to the current needs of both the neighborhood and the state for Spanish language recycling educational materials for early elementary grades through development of a student-produced booklet. The booklet will be published electronically on the Union City Public Schools website and disseminated to the district's eight other elementary schools as well as community, county and state information centers.
The grant application and the project are part of an overall school system recycling program headed by Union City Commissioner Ernestine "Tina" Yandolino, who doubles as commissioner of public works and as recycling coordinator for the schools. According to Hudson School Principal Silvia Abbato, the project will also include recycling-related classroom work, field trips, workshops for teachers and parents, and schoolwide recycling poster contests.
Last year, the Hudson School tied with the Edison School for championship honors in a citywide school recycling contest in conjunction with Earth Day. But it was the citywide reputation of Hudson School for years as "unofficial" recycling champions that spurred the idea of the contest. Through Mayor and Freeholder Brian Stack, the school established working relationships with the Hudson County Improvement Authority and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, both of which conduct recycling programs in the school.
School Board President Carlos Perez and Superintendent of Schools Thomas Highton both praised the awarding of the grant and cited the project as another example of "a meaningful educational project which delivers dual positive results for both students and their parents. "
"In this case the students not only get educated about the environmental benefits of recycling," said Highton, "but their parents develop a recycling work ethic which results in an overall benefit to the community, creating a win-win situation."