Sustainable Missoula: Franklin School fifth-graders thrive in Zero Waste classroom

By Kim Johnson, fifth-grade teacher and the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Coordinator at Franklin Elementary School in Missoula.
Originally published in Missoula Current, August 31, 2018.

My name is Kim Johnson and my team teacher Rae Baerlocher and I are starting our second year team-teaching a Zero Waste classroom at Franklin Elementary School in Missoula.

Our fifth-grade program has had the benefit of starting just as the school itself opened the doors to a new building. Rae and I realized we could get staff members, teachers and students on a green path by making small but impactful changes to the way our classroom was designed.

For example, we asked that paper towel dispensers not be installed in our room, and asked the school’s kitchen to not drop off paper napkins or plastic cutlery in the morning with breakfast. Instead, our classroom uses cloth napkins along with silverware that the students take turns washing. By being intentional and consistent, it did not take long before we began to see results. We loved the end of the school day, when we would see garbage cans nearly empty….Read the entire article at

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