South Orangetown Central School District

Student representatives from every fifth-grade class are taking the lead in helping Cottage Lane Elementary School boost its energy efficiency as members of the Power Patrol, a collaboration with the District’s Facilities Department. It’s an opportunity to apply what they learn in math and science to a project that will have a real impact on their school, our District and our environment.

“We’re piloting this group to support our District goals of saving energy and updating heating and lighting systems in our building,” said Director of Facilities Jack Rallo. “It’s exciting to engage our students as partners in this effort.”

Rallo, Assistant Principal Rob Schliessman and CLE Custodian Robert Smith led the inaugural meeting of the group this morning, which covered energy basics and how reducing waste helps the environment and saves money.

“This is the first time we’re really considering how to conserve energy at Cottage Lane,” Schliessman told students. “You’ll be able to see how much energy our school is using and participate in setting goals to reduce waste.”

In addition to promoting simple energy conservation practices in their homerooms, the Power Patrol will gather data on classroom energy usage and brainstorm ideas at brief monthly meetings with Rallo, Schilessman and Smith. Their work will help to inform ongoing facilities maintenance and upgrades and, potentially, identify projects to be included the District’s Master Capital Plan.

As a result of their studies and experience with CLE’s long-standing “reduce, reuse and recycle” school culture, Power Patrol members see the connection between their efforts and the world around them. Brigid, the representative from Denise Caunitz’s class, summed it up: “This kind of work saves energy, which can help with global warming.”

Director of Facilities Jack Rallo speaks with CLE fifth-graders