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County: Franklin

Town: Charlemont

Jenn Sinistore is a fifth grade teacher at Hawlemont Elementary School. She consistently works to make her lessons interesting and engaging and lessons that will benefit students as they grow into responsible adults. Her class has taken on many important roles throughout the school day. 5th Grade is part of the ongoing composting program at Hawlemont. Each day they are responsible for collecting all of the cafeteria waste, adding it to our composting system and making sure the compost is turned and worked throughout the year. Once the compost has done its magic and turned into some beautiful rich soil, they help in the transferring of this material to our gardens and/or greenhouse beds. They play an important role in monitoring and caring for our greenhouse. It is their responsibility to water the plants and monitor the temperature on a daily basis. The 5th grades largest role though would be their work they have done on recycling and reducing waste at our school. Students participate in collecting the recycling on a weekly basis. They weigh and measure each class’ waste to see if classrooms are being consistent with their recycling efforts. They also examine the waste to see if there are further means of reducing or reusing the trash. They monthly measure the volume of the trash in the dumpster and have through their efforts been able to reduce the composting by almost 25%. They create graphs and charts showing the school wide recycling efforts that they present to the school during All School Meetings. This helps to motivate and reinforce the efforts of each class towards reducing waste. One significant effort the 5th grade has made is in paper waste. Not only did they go around and educate other classes about the ways to reduce paper consumption but they also gave each classroom an additional recycling paper bin for used paper that can be made into new paper. They make this recycled paper into cards and paper to be used at school and also to be sold at the school’s Farmers Market. The students have become very creative at recycling, composting, reducing and up-cycling our waste. They have worked with the Franklin County Waste Management program to get a better understanding of recycling and the difference they can make at school, at home and in their community. They have been participants in the Green Team Challenge for the last two years. Recently they visited the Hampshire Gazette and had the opportunity to see how a newspaper business can drastically reduce their paper consumption. Students in this class have become very aware of the difference each individual person can make on their environment. Hawlemont feels very fortunate to have teachers as dedicated as Jenn Sinnistore. She really works at incorporating life skills and knowledge throughout her daily lessons. She teaches children to take responsibity for themselves and their community. The most important lesson she teaches is for students to take pride in what they do and to understand that they can make a difference!

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