Part III: Community in the School

Grace Community Church

Grace Community Church joined Laurel Woods Elementary students and parents for "Grab a Shovel." During this community event second grade students planted in the new butterfly garden and also had the opportunity to make bird houses. Members of Grace Community Church also helped the school plant their spring flowers and clean up the grounds. Church members have also volunteered this Spring on April 24 to donate mulch, flowers and time to plant and help clean the campus. 

Recycling Program

Alicia Moore, Recycling Program Coordinator from Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services visited Laurel Woods Elementary to discuss the importance of recycling. Ms. Moore showed a video to show the students what happens to garbage and why recyclingis important. She also spoke to students about the many ways to recycle within the school and which recycling bins to use. Ms. Moore spent a day with Laurel Woods students during lunch and helped them distinguish between recyclable and non-recyclable materials.


The Laurel Woods PTA has been an integral partner with the school to promote our Green School efforts, and encourage healthy living among staff and families. Members of the PTA have contributed to our recycling programs by collecting batteries, cell phones, and ink cartridges. The PTA has also sponsored a Book Drive to collect gently used books to be reused. Our PTA president has secured a $500 donation from Kohls to buy trees for our upcoming Earth Day celebration, and is working towards involving more community partners to volunteer and help with planting. Mrs. Miller, a parent, has coordinated a staff fitness and nutrition challenge, and is also working to expand our butterfly garden and create a garden for outdoor education. The PTA saves paper by sending electronic newsletters and posts information on their website.

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Diane Sweeney

Diane Sweeney, energy manager from the HCPSS Facilities Department, came to Laurel Woods on two occasions to help begin our Energy Conservation efforts. The first meeting was with Mrs. Zdrale and fifth grade teacher, Ms. Jones, to discuss starting a student energy group. She was able to share ideas that were successful in other schools. She also came to meet with the fifth grade students who formed the Energy Savers group. The students were given graphs of our school energy usage, and discussed ways to reduce energy costs.

Mrs. Sandy August

Mrs. Sandy August, Customer Outreach Representative from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission visited Laurel Woods to demonstrate how to create an oyster reef ball. She provided the mold, some materials and equipment to help our fourth graders construct the artificial habitats. She also provided professional development at Laurel Woods for GT Resource teachers who wanted to participate in this project.