Grades of Green’s Co-Executive Director, Allie Bussjaeger, is a featured alumni at California State University, Long Beach. Allie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in environmental science and policy from the university in 2011. To read more about Allie’s time at CSULB and how it brought her to Grades of Green, click here.

Grades of Green school Maple Village Waldorf School from Long Beach, CA was recently nominated by the CA Department of Education as a Green Ribbon School, an honor which recognizes schools nationwide for environmental and health-friendly practices.

In addition to participating in Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge, Maple Village Waldorf school has expanded their environmental and health-friendly practices to other areas of the environment. By focusing on reusable produces they have diverted 95% of waste and by removing all turf and expanding their play yard to create a dirt and mulch play area as well as collecting rainwater for their raised edible gardens, they reduced their water usage by 50%. They endeavor to have a totally chemical-free environment through the use of Green Cleaning Products. Children take part in preparing and cooking 100% organic food which includes access to the “picking garden”. With the belief that education will support families’ and staff’s overall health and wellness, offered programs and workshops such as conscious parenting, cooking classes, yoga and meditation, and professional development in Environmental Principles and Concepts from their partner, TreePeople, have shown great results in their community.

Click here to read the full press release on Maple Village Waldorf School.

Interested in greening your school or community? Click here to sign up for Grades of Green’s Waste Campaign from January – April, or email for more information.

After reducing their school’s lunchtime waste by 82% and diverting over 32,000 pounds of waste from landfills, Helen Keller Middle School was crowned the winning middle school of the 2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Grades of Green celebrated Keller’s success with specials guests from the community. Board of Education Member Diana Craighead, Deputy Superintendent of Middle School Instruction Dr. Jill Baker, George Tsai from the Office of the Superintendent of Middle School Instruction, and Representative Herlinda Chico from Supervisor Hahn’s office all came to the campus congratulate the Helen Keller students on their hard work and achievements. Helen Keller’s Grades of Green Advisor, Cathy Procopio, gave a speech on why the deserved to win, such as the leadership of their outstanding student leaders. Upon recognizing each student on the Grades of Green Team with a certificate for the City of Long Beach, the school was presented with a $1,000 education grant from Northrop Grumman! After the presentations DJ Ozzie led a dance party with music and the students got to take photos with the Kings Ice Crew!

Interested in following in Helen Keller’s footsteps but don’t know where to start? Try setting up a “Share Box” in your cafeteria for unopened and unwanted cafeteria food and drinks. Anyone wishing to eat items from the Share Box may do so, and this prevents the food from going to waste! To read more about this idea, check out our Waste Sorting Station Activity.

Do you think your school has what it takes to win Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Email for more information on how to join the 2019 Trash Free Lunch Challenge!

At Grades of Green, our mission is to inspire and empower kids to care for the environment, so when a group of passionate students at a school want to get involved, we are thrilled! After a few Girl Scouts at Prisk Elementary from Long Beach Unified School District learned about the negative impacts waste has on our environment, they were inspired to lead Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge to help their school reduce its waste. The Girl Scouts formed a student Grades of Green Team with their peers to teach proper lunchtime sorting habits and encourage students to pack trash free lunches.

After learning some best practices in implementing waste sorting stations and encouraging students to pack trash free lunches, the Prisk Green Team helped lead an educational assembly highlighting their school’s new waste sorting system. Green Team students held up actual examples of lunchtime items and taught students which bin the items would go in between a food donation box, liquids bucket, compost bin, recycling bin, landfill bin, and tray stacking box. They even took volunteer shifts at lunchtime to make sure there were sorting monitors to help each student sort their waste. At the end of their first day implementing the waste reduction program, the Prisk student Green Team was able to help their school go from fifteen bags of lunchtime trash down to just six!

Inspired to implement a student-led eco-program at your school? Sign up for Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge by clicking here, or email us at for more information.



Saint Anthony school in Long Beach, California kicked off their Grades of Green program with a huge splash thanks to the Kings Care Foundation and Blue Shield of California! The school is competing in the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge, and began by inviting Grades of Green to host a kick-off assembly to educate students about the program. Students were taught how to reduce, reuse, recycle, pack trash free lunches, and to use their new lunchtime sorting station. After the assembly, students who sorted their waste correctly earned a t-shirt. After lunch, students participated in a workshop to learn about the Kings Care Foundation G.O.A.L.S. program.  Students were split into four groups, and rotated to four interactive stations. They were able to play hockey with Kings player Kyle Clifford, practice recycling habits with a sorting game, spin the Grades of Green Jeopardy wheel to earn a reusable water bottle, and explore the brand new G.O.A.L.S. website features. Grades of Green is proud to partner with the Kings Care  Foundation on the Green Solutions platform, and was thrilled to bring the program to Saint Anthony!

To check out photos from the event, click here. To check out the press, click here, and click here! To read the Kings story about this awesome day, click here.

Lindbergh STEM Academy in Long Beach, California, has been busy since winning the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Last year during the Challenge, Lindbergh reduced their lunchtime trash from 26 bags each day to just two bags; a whopping 92% reduction. The school created a Grades of Green Team consisting of passionate students who meet every Monday morning to ensure the eco-programs on campus are running smoothly. The Green Team manages the trash free lunch program, the compost program, and more.  At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the Lindbergh Grades of Green team is rolling out in-class recycling, allowing all classrooms on campus to recycle paper, plastic, bottles and cans. Lindbergh is on their way to zero waste, and Grades of Green is thrilled to support their efforts!

Interested in starting a student Grades of Green Team like Lindbergh’s? Join us for our webinar on October 12th, 2017 to learn best practices! For more information about the Getting Started Webinar, click here.

Franklin Classical Middle School in Long Beach, California participated in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge in 2014-2015, and has taken their Grades of Green program to new heights! In the past three years, the school has donated 21,000 pounds of food to local shelters.  Every Friday after school, Grades of Green Team students volunteer their time to manage the schools various Grades of Green Activities. Students help recycle beverage containers and paper in classrooms, tend to the lunchtime sorting stations, and maintain the school garden. The students hosted their first e-waste drive in May 2017, and it was a huge success! Franklin Classical was awarded a Silver Level Green Ribbon School this year, and Grades of Green could not be more proud. Keep up the great work Franklin Classical! Interested in following in Franklin Classical’s eco-footsteps? Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Click here to learn more.

After being awarded as a finalist in the 2015-2016 Trash Free Lunch Challenge, Rogers Middle School in Long Beach, California has become more motivated to keep focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible. Grades of Green visited the school to give an assembly to the students the first day back from winter break, and our team was thrilled to see a variety of sustainable, effective waste reduction practices in place. Rogers has an awesome student Grades of Green Team, who manage the lunchtime sorting stations and promote trash free lunches daily. Campus composting is a regular occurrence, and the Green Team even created a beautiful native and drought tolerant garden this winter! The Rogers Grades of Green Team is continuously thinking of new and exciting ways to engage students in eco-efforts on campus, and this year they are focusing on reducing straws used. Keep up the great work Rogers! Interested in following in Rogers’ footsteps and launching some of these Grades of Green Activities at your school? Register your school at today to receive your very own Grades of Green Advisor!