Forming a Green Generation

The Alpert Family Aleph Bet Jewish Day School has some really fantastic sustainability initiatives on campus! Head of School Nan Jarashow spoke with us, familiarizing us with this impressive new member of the Clean Currents family.

Aleph Bet is a tight-knit community, educating fewer than 40 elementary students. In 2011, they moved into a new facility, and sustainability started taking precedence. They immediately strove for Maryland Green School certification, which they achieved in 2012. This program assesses factors such as facility construction and operations, curriculum, and school practices.

Aleph Bet dove head first into involving the young student body, getting them excited for clean practices and sustainability. The school focuses on waste, educating students to separate everything between trash, recycling, and compost. Nan told us of a particularly feisty first grade girl who is now “the recycling police” and heartily reprimands anyone who even considers incorrectly disposing of something!

Rain gardens around the school are also especially successful. These help students understand the effects and potential benefits of harnessing water runoff. Students take the lead on planting projects, utilizing compost from the lunchroom as fertilizer. Furthermore, science and art classes incorporate the rain gardens into the curriculum, through soil studies or sketches of the beautiful flowers.

Such hands-on experience ignites interest in the students, who then receive a culminating experience at the end of their time at Aleph Bet. In May of their fifth grade year, all students go on the Teva camping experience. Teva is Hebrew for “environment,” and the camp promotes harmony between Jewish values and environmental stewardship.

Aleph Bet is now applying for Sustainable Annapolis certification. Here at Clean Currents, we find the daily involvement of sustainability at this school extremely impressive. By taking time to engage the student body, the administration of Aleph Bet is actively forming the next generation of environmental stewards!