How Schools Can Go Green to Save Green

Almost everything in our lives can be digital now. It’s quite amazing, really. I often joke that I’m going to forget how to write freehand because I just type everything into my computer and phone. I never print stuff out anymore. My family rarely prints photos. Even the ones we want to share get loaded into a digital picture frame. I figure we’re saving a lot of trees, especially considering how many pictures we take!

As true as this is for most folks, there are still a bunch of organizations that haven’t gone “digital.” Schools are certainly one of those that often struggle to kick the paper habit. Even most of the elementary schools that use MemberHub have a good bit of paper that comes back-n-forth through our kids’ backpacks. I learned of a school last year that sent their annual printed directory in April. There was 1 month of school left at that point. Really? Announcements sent home on multicolored printer paper (that were often lost, alas, before they ever made it there). And so on and so on.

I often look at it all and ask “Why isn’t this digital yet?” and “Will a digital version of this help?”

Here are 11 ways that schools can save money and trees by using web-based communication tools:

  1. Allow parents to share and maintain their profile information online
  2. Send announcements, news, and logistics via email and text messaging
  3. Schedule reminders via email, text messaging, and push notifications through apps
  4. Use social media to post public information
  5. Upload all files, forms, and parent tips into a common online area
  6. Share photos in private online space
  7. Encourage parents to share ideas, ask questions and generally connect online
  8. Use online signup sheets for event coordination and volunteer opportunities
  9. Maintain a continually updated e-directory instead of printing out a hard copy each year
  10. Generate fun (and inexpensive) quizzes, activities, surveys, and games that engage and inform parents
  11. Distribute report cards and grades through a secure digital platform

No doubt this is just a very small list. Can you think of any more? If you’re an administrator, teacher, or a parent, I’d love for you to leave a comment and share more ideas below.


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