The staff at Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful are so impressed with the recycling efforts of the Cousins Middle School Community Based Instruction class they awarded them a special certificate of achievement. The class is shown here with teacher Jessica Harris (back, far left); standing next to her paraprofessional Princess Philpot; and at far right is paraprofessional Patty Pritchard. - Special photo
COVINGTON -- With tight budgets there's not always money for life's little extras, but the students in Karen Harris' Community Based Instruction class at Cousins Middle School have found a way to earn the funds they need to make their class more rewarding.
They've zealously embraced the concept of recycling and have earned enough money to make them the top earners in the Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful recycling program.
Harris, along with paraprofessionals Patty Pritchard and Princess Philpot, decided to make recycling a class project and it has paid off. Pritchard and the class travel around the county to pick up recyclable materials from various organizations and businesses and then take them to the City of Covington Recycling Center where they are weighed and logged into a ledger. At the end of each quarter, they are paid for their efforts.
"We're paying a half a penny a pound and they're bringing in a ton of it," said Karen Key of KCNB. "Nobody does a $100 (check) a quarter and they get over $300 which is unbelievable. We're just floored by the amount they do."
The effort takes a lot of work and the group is not able to rely solely on their personal recycling efforts.
"They go to different businesses, just anywhere they can to get the recyclables. They go everywhere. Patty sat down and called companies and asked if she could come get recyclables," Key said.
During the last quarter of 2012, the class collected 980 pounds of aluminum and 3,440 pounds of cardboard, earning $328.40. For the first quarter of 2013 they brought in 1,100 pounds of aluminum (which offers the highest return of all the recyclables) and 1,620 pounds of cardboard, and they were given a check for $346.20.
Teacher Jessica Harris said the money earned from the class recycling effort is put to good use.
"We spend the funds on our students while we are in the community." Harris said. "We purchase hygiene items that they may need and other positive reinforcers such as puzzles, games, snacks and school supplies. We also use the funds to celebrate accomplishments and birthdays by taking the students to lunch at neighborhood restaurants."
And by being out in the community with their collection efforts, there are other rewards and lessons to be learned.
"While we are in the community, students learn valuable social skills and money skills," Harris said. "The students, paraprofessionals and myself have worked very hard to get our recycling program to the level that it is at."