Manzo Elementary School

Manzo Elementary food bank tour photoHow does this company exemplify the concept of “reducing”?

Manzo Elementary School exemplifies the concept of “reducing” through school-wide energy efficiency, recycling, and rainwater harvesting education.

To increase energy efficiency and reduce Manzo’s carbon footprint, Manzo students have formed a daily Energy Patrol. Energy patrol members give up recess time to perform energy audits daily, and rating classrooms and public areas based on appropriate energy usage. Students are on the lookout for unused computers with computer monitors turned on, empty rooms with lights turned on, and doors propped open with heating or cooling turned on. Green, yellow, and red tags are awarded based on proper energy usage.

When comparing electric bills from 2012 to 2013, Energy Patrol audits and the adjusting of classroom thermostats have saved the Tucson Unified School District over $6000 in electric utility costs.

In addition to energy patrol audits, Manzo has worked with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and Tucson Water to offer student, teacher, and community energy and water efficiency workshops. Students, teachers, and community members receive valuable information on how to reduce energy and water consumption in the home.

In the area of recycling, Manzo offers school-wide recycling education and recycling bins are provided in each classroom. Energy Patrol members empty recycling bins during recess time and students school-wide sort their lunch-time recyclables. Compost Committee members empty lunch-time recycling containers during lunch recess.

Composting education is also provided preschool through 5th grade and Manzo composts all of its food waste creating rich soil for the school’s food production gardens. Manzo compost committee members track food waste collection data daily and over the 2012-2013 academic year, Manzo composted over 6000 pounds of food waste.

Rainwater harvesting is Manzo’s primary method of reducing municipal water usage . Manzo Elementary currently has 16 rain water harvesting tanks across campus with a total capacity of over 17,000 gallons. Rainwater catchment tanks are used to teach and demonstrate water conservation. Harvested rainwater is used for landscape and food production irrigation, reducing Manzo’s municipal water usage.

How does this company exemplify the concept of “reusing”?

Manzo elementary exemplifies the concept of “reusing” in a much more meaningful way than simply repurposing used items for student art and science projects (Although our preschoolers do make some pretty cute chickens out of recyclables). Manzo’s most significant “reusing” is the repurposing of food waste for intensive food production. Manzo students and staff prevent food waste from going to the landfill and in turn support egg and soil production. Manzo has 14 laying hens which consume 15 to 20 pounds of food waste per day and produce free range eggs for the Manzo community. Recycling food waste into chicken food saves Manzo money on commercial feed and eliminates the carbon footprint associated with chicken feed production and transportation.

Food waste is also repurposed into rich compost used to grow organic produce. Every day Manzo students separate food waste in the cafeteria and Compost Committee members sacrifice recess time to tend and aerate compost bins. Finished compost is then used in Manzo vegetable gardens to grow organic produce for the Manzo community. Students have access to school grown produce through classroom food tastings and the Manzo community is able to purchase low cost organic fruits and vegetables through student run on campus farmer’s markets.

What is this company’s recycling policy and practice?

Manzo Elementary’s recycling policy and practice is centered on recycling education and hands-on modeling. Classroom teachers, along with Tucson Clean and Beautiful, present recycling programming to students preschool through 5th grade. Recycling programming is then reinforced and modeled through a comprehensive composting policy. It is the expectation of all students and staff to recycle and students take the lead in maintaining and emptying recycling bins across campus. Student leadership in composting promotes a sense of responsibility, ownership, and pride, and deepens student connections with the principles of composting.

Manzo Elementary’s food waste recycling program (composting) is a school-wide policy modeled through practice. Teachers present curriculum on composting and students take the lead in managing our composting systems in a project-based learning approach. Furthermore, students track data on food waste collection and data sets are used to teach standards-based math concepts such as graphing, mean, median, mode, and range. Along with reducing our carbon footprint our composting program is the cornerstone of organic food production and high quality hands-on instruction.

How is this company engaging and informing consumers and employees about the 3 “Rs” and other sustainable practices?

Manzo Elementary is informing students, staff, and community members about the 3 “Rs” and sustainable practices through classroom instruction, community workshops, and campus tours.

Teachers deliver sustainability curriculum and students then model sustainability practices through project based learning. Curriculum is presented and students participate in recycling, composting, rainwater harvesting, and intensive food production.

Expanding sustainability programming into the community, Manzo has partnered with Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Community partners use Manzo Elementary to present community workshops on energy conservation, recycling, composting, and gardening.

In addition, Manzo Elementary opens it’s campus to community tours throughout the school year, touring hundreds of participants. Manzo students are trained as docents and lead tour groups throughout the campus highlighting Manzo’s green education programming. In the past year Manzo has participated in the Tucson Chicken Coop Tour, Watershed Management Group site tour, Closing the Hunger Gap Tour, National Aquaponics Convention tour, and the Climate Southwest tour. Manzo also hosts site tours for schools in the region looking to replicate its sustainability programming. Manzo engages and informs hundreds of people a year from across the country about sustainability practices.

What else would you like us to know about this company?

Manzo Elementary is a public Title I school in the Tucson Unified School District. Manzo serves the neighborhood of Barrio Hollywood and approximate 92% of Manzo students receive free and reduced lunch. Over 95% of Manzo’s students are Mexican American, Native American, and Southeast Asian. Through a sustainability education program, Manzo seeks to both close the achievement gap and nurture the whole child. Hands on, project based learning in the areas of recycling, composting, and food production give students an authentic context for learning and practicing standards based curriculum. Manzo’s school gardens provide students and families, a demographic overrepresented in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, access to affordable fresh produce.

In the realm of academics, Manzo is in the midst of a transformation. Manzo’s sustainability program is significant not only in conservation but also in student achievement. For both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years Manzo received an underperforming D label from the Arizona Department of Education based on low standardized test scores. In the fall of 2012 Manzo staff disaggregated testing data and identified math, specifically number sense, as a primary academic deficit for Manzo students. In response, Manzo staff began attaching functional math interventions to sustainability activities. Students were required to log start time and finish time with activities and calculate elapsed time. Students began collecting data on food waste collection, compost temperatures, and egg production. Collected data was then used to teach math concepts such as graphing and predicting, and calculating mean, median, mode, and range. On August 1st, 2013 it was announced by the Arizona Department of Education that Manzo Elementary had moved from a low performing D label to a solid C due primarily to significant gains in math. Currently, Manzo is expanding and refining it’s integrated math with the goal of attaining a B label for the current academic year.

For more information on Manzo Elementary School’s sustainability programming please refer to the following resources:

Manzo Sustainability facebook page

Recent article on Manzo Elementary in Edible Baja Arizona starting on page 42

Short video piece on Manzo’s sustainability program: