Tag Archives: Anna Giordano

New Rochelle’s Jefferson Elementary School down to 1.2% Garbage

3 lbs of trash, all the rest goes into compost or recyclingThis is what 254 lbs of lunchroom waste look like, and — believe it or not—- only 3 lbs of it, was actually trash. Everything else is being fed into food waste composting and recycling.  72 lbs went as left over liquid down the drain, and the students sorted 15.5 lbs of untouched food out to donate to the local soup kitchen.

That is a whopping 98.8% reduction.  Seriously …. way to go.

Jefferson Elementary School under the leadership of Kim Nieves and LeAnn Bruno has always been on New Rochelle’s forefront to bring sustainability to their students.

Already in 2011, when the We Future Cycle Recycling program was in its infancy and New Rochelle was still serving its students on Styrofoam trays, Ms Nieves and Ms Bruno knew that making the students partners and teaching them to care and sort is a life long skill.

Fortunately, after a 5 year battle, Styrofoam is permanently off the menu in New Rochelle and We Future Cycle gives full credit for this to Jeff White, Assistant Superintendent of Business. Mr White, being new to the district, saw immediately the incredible social, educational and environmental value that the program offers to the children and understood that serving our young ones on a material that contains Styrene, a chemical that has recently been classified as “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” was inappropriate, no matter how much less expensive it might be.

Jefferson adjusted its program to follow We Future Cycle’s guidelines, so all New Rochelle schools are set up exactly the same.  We Future Cycle is enjoying working with Jefferson’s enthusiastic recyclers. There is nothing as rewarding as having a kindergarten student hug your leg and say thank you for teaching her to recycle.





Cash For Columbus School Writing Competition Winners


Columbus Elementary School was the proud winner for the coveted Nina Chin Writing Contest Grant. Mrs. Nunez, Principal, gave 3rd, 4th and 5th graders the opportunity to participate by writing an essay to the Topic “I can make a difference”. 145 students rose to the challenge, an outstanding level of participation, thanks to two teachers Ms Costa and Ms Alexander-Zahn, who went from class to class to promote the contest.

On June 15th at 10:00, the auditorium was filled with excited students. Who snagged the top prizes per grade?


The ceremony began with a presentation by 11 students sharing information about Columbus’ recycling program. Students shared that they learned that they can make a big difference by sorting their waste into different categories, they were proud to have weighed the materials and realized that instead of making 400 lbs or garbage, they only made 8 lbs and all the rest is now raw material for new things.


A second grader said that she is now the recycling specialist in her house and is teaching her mom about it. A kindergarten student  loudly proclaimed that we only have one Earth and she will make sure that all her friends are taking care of it with her.


A sideways glance to the dignitaries Derrik and Jean Chin, Irene Schindler and Rev. Jennie Talley showed that they were very moved, clutching tissues.

Sonia Nunez, Principal

The second part of the celebration was Mrs. Nunez calling one by one the runner ups and winners per grade up to the front to receive their certificate and their envelope with the cash prize. While the kids came up, some excerpts of their essay was shared.

Some truly powerful statements came from these young minds.

Mia Torres shared in her essay that she wants to help the environment because when she looks outside, she sees plastic bags in the trees. She doesn’t like that because the trees help us breathe.

Jasmin Alvarez very wisely said “Live like every day is Earthday!”

Mia Torres, 3rd grade

And Willy Hidalgo says; ” to make Earth green we have to care for it. We also have to clean up liter and garbage, even if it is not yours!”

Willy, you are SO right! Well said.

Michelle Oliveros thought long term, an outstanding achievement for a 5th grader. She said; ” We have to keep the Earth clean for our future families. We also have to let our families know about recycling and reusing. It is all about our Earth.”

Hard Cash through Recycling for New Rochelle Elementary School

recycling binsNew Rochelle’s Webster Elementary School has partnered up with Terracycle and the students are sorting out and recycling things like Chip bags, empty glue sticks, juice pouches, empty markers, broken electronics. broken pens, broken crayons.

Things they had — until recently — thrown into the garbage without a thought. Now they know, practically anything can be recycled if it is just sorted out.

In January of 2014, Melissa Passerelli, Principal,  and Greg Middleton, Assistant Principal asked Anna Giordano to implement a Terracycle Partner Program. The 5th graders were the Ambassadors and after going through two training sessions, they were the ones teaching the lower grades about the advantages of recycling. Students learned to bring the materials to a center hallway station and a parent volunteered to mail out the content when it was full.

Check out Terracycle.com, a fabulous company that “upcycles” materials into new and totally hip products. When you go to their website, check out their products. There is no cost involved for schools, mailing labels are free and schools will get REAL cash for their recycling.

Webster is going to buy Composting Equipment from the money they have earned through Terracycle, taking it one step further in their quest to be a waste free school. The students at Webster are learning every day that ” Waste Free starts with Me”

New Rochelle’s Trinity School Awarded Westchester County Proclamation

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On April 29th, 2014 New Rochelle’s Trinity School was publicly awarded a Westchester County Proclamation, signed by Legislator James Maisano, Legislator Sheila Marcotte, and Legislator Catherine Parker. This is a wonderful recognition of the schools never faltering efforts to bring sustainability to the district through consistent teaching and doing.


This award is long in the making. In September of 2011, Anna Giordano brought the school lunch recycling program to the administration and the PTA, then under the leadership of Ines Bolufer-Laurentie, tirelessly implemented it. The PTA spent countless lunches teaching the children and thus creating a culture of environmental awakening.

The School Lunch Recycling Program is very simple, instead of teaching the children to “just throw out your garbage” after lunch, they are taught to separate their lunchroom waste into different recyclable categories. This process reduces and condenses the amount tremendously. Once all the recyclable packaging, compostable food left overs and left over liquids are sorted out, there is actually very little, that does not fall into these categories.

Trinity was not the only school to implement the program in September of 2011, but it was the only one, where the school administration persevered despite of the total lack of support from Central Administration, foremost the Director of Facilities.

Fortunately, Central Administration under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff is now fully supporting the program and New Rochelle is looking to have all of its schools fully converted to source separation and compostable trays by September of 2014. This could not have been accomplished if it had not been for the unwavering determination  of the Trinity Administration Anthony DiCarlo and Inas MorsiHogans.

I applaud them both. This proclamation is well deserved.

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New Rochelle Webster Elementary School is Going Waste Free in all K-3 Classrooms


At around 10:30 am, most younger grades have snack time in class. Out come the plastic baggies that hold the prepackaged chips, or cookies as well as the juice box. A survey showed that one classroom with 18 students generated 15 juice boxes or juice pouches per snack,  as well as between 20 – 30 different single use packaging items. A total weight of 4 lbs per class. 4 lbs may not sound like much, but this pictures shows the amount of garbage coming out of 3 kindergarten classes. Every day.


So, Anna Giordano set out to create the Waste Free Snack program and together with Lovetta James rolled it out in January of 2014.

The program consists of one week of targeted education to the children.  As parents are the ones packing the snack, they also have to be a part of the solution and a letter was sent home to parents asking for their help to get this trashy problem under control.

The principal Melissa Passarelli walked to all the classes and talked to the students about eating more healthy and she asked them what they thought was healthier….chips or a banana. The result was astounding, the very next day, we had 60% of the class bringing in bananas for snack.

We weighed snack waste every day, teachers tallied the daily amounts and incorporated the lessons into Math, English, Social Studies and Science. Remarkably, within a day we already saw drastic reductions of close to 50% in single use packaging and it went steadily down from there on.


After 10 days of daily weigh ins and education the program culminated in the award ceremony, where each child “won” a reusable water bottle and a reusable snack bag imprinted with the schools name. The students were very proud.

The students also pledged to go Waste Free and wrote their name on a leaf to paste it onto the beautiful tree, created by the amazing art teacher.

From that day on, we had a close to 100% return rate of the reusable lunch bag and we started sending any uneaten food, and any packaging back home with the students. Now,  all the lower grades are completely waste free at snack time, and that knowledge has spilled over into the lunchroom as well.

“The first day we sent the uneaten food back home, we were holding our head down, awaiting the storm of phone calls from parents, but amazingly, there was not a single one”,  remembers Greg Middleton, Assistant Principal.

The students at Daniel Webster Elementary School have learned a valuable life lesson. Waste-free starts with me!