2012 Golden Bell Winners

Kern County's Bakersfield City Elementary School District proves that passion for education and compassion for sustainable practices is an award-winning combination.

The district's "Green Team and Kids for Solar Energy" programs were its student-led, environmentally friendly curricula and community outreach.  The program was submitted in the Sustainable, Renewable, Energy and Resource Efficient Programs category of the CSBA Golden Bell Awards, a long-standing statewide recognition program that identifies and celebrates excellent public education programs across all areas of instruction and leadership. As the winner in this category, Bakersfield City Elementary School District receives $5,000 from Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, sponsor of the "Going Green!" Golden Bell award.

"We are extremely proud of our students and this achievement," said Dr. Rob Arias, Bakersfield City Elementary School District superintendent.  "Celebrating this accomplishment is twofold: Not only does this honor speak to the cultivation of our students' sense of commitment and responsibility as individuals, but also their awareness of and sensitivity to pressing environmental sensibilities."

"We believe the 'Going Green!' category reflects public education's growing interest in environmental protection and resource conservation and we support that interest," said Jan Tomsky, Managing Partner at Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP. The firm is generously endowing the Going Green! award with a $5,000 education award.

"We work with school districts throughout the state that are striving to reduce energy consumption and explore renewable energy options for their schools We feel offering financial support to student-based programs that encourage conservation efforts is a natural way for us to support the great 'green' cause," said Ms. Tomsky.

"In these difficult economic times, it is refreshing to see our private sector partners literally putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to public education," Arias asserted. "These contributions are not only benevolent, but ultimately vital."

Green Team and Kids for Solar Energy

Led by students at the Sierra Middle School site, the Green Team and Solar Clubs have organized informational booths at campus and community events on the concepts of energy usage, reduction, and recycling.  The joint efforts of the Green Team and Solar Clubs, in conjunction with cross-curricular science instruction on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, has not only resulted in Sierra Middle School earning the title of one of the greenest sites in Kern County, but has fostered an ecological awareness in the Bakersfield community.

Examples include:

  • By aggressively using recycle bins at Sierra Middle School, the Green Team has essentially eliminated paper in the site's waste stream.
  • The Solar Club focuses on "kids teaching kids" and facilitates leadership roles, creating a deeper understanding of the curriculum and internalizing the purpose for renewable energies.
  • BCSD benefits financially through these programs' joint efforts, saving the district thousands of dollars a year in both trash and energy savings
  • BCSD's Green Program has four gigabytes of curriculum (including videos, pictures, informative websites, and data collection tools) to help assist other schools and agencies to implement comprehensive recycling programs at new locations.
  •  The district alumni involved in the Green and Solar programs gain confidence and knowledge that informs their environmental efforts at the high school level and beyond.

Photo above, from left to right:
CSBA President Cindy Marks, CSBA Immediate Past President Jill Wynns, CSBA Vice President Jesus M. Holguin, Fresno Office Managing Partner David Moreno, Sierra Middle School Science Teacher Allison Arnold and Managing Partner Jan Tomsky.

Golden Bell Info

To get more information about the Golden Bell Awards, including eligibility criteria and timeline for judging, see the CSBA web site.

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