Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Perspective on Saving Paper at School

Schools across the country have been making the effort to become paperless for years. Nevertheless, most schools almost certainly continue to use entirely too much paper. If you've been trying to curtail your teachers' use of copy paper at school, you've probably been emphasizing one of the following statistics:
  • copies cost $0.xx per page
  • the elementary school copy machine has made x,xxx,xxx copies this year
  • copy paper alone has cost the school $xx,xxx for the first semester
If these sound familiar but haven't quite made the impact you've hoped, keep in mind that these stats do not put the use of paper in human terms, in terms that hit home with teachers. Try this instead (as an example - I'm making it up): In the first nine weeks of school, the elementary has used 272 sheets of paper per student (total number of sheets of paper used divided by the number of students in the school). Does this sound absurd? I challenge you to do the math at your own school. Where did all that paper go? What would any kid do with 272 sheets of paper... in nine weeks? Again, I challenge you to do the math.

A beautiful aspect of this perspective on using paper is that you are now free to also take a good hard look at whether you are a worksheet-driven school.

Once you do the math this way, you can pursue the conservation of paper by targeting sheets per student, and you can emphasize liberating students and teachers from mountains of worksheets, etc. Approaching the challenge of saving paper in this manner is a win win situation for your school.

Now go start calculating...

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