Friday, December 05, 2008

Paper-wise and Paper-foolish

We're under pressure at school to save paper. It's a major expense, one we can't avoid, but one we can adjust and minimize. Maybe.
  • I save extra copies or "oops" papers: the kind where the answer shows through on the page or I have two too many because kids moved yesterday. Those papers get re-used as scratch paper.
  • I copy back to back.
  • My colleagues and I use overhead projectors, small white boards and chalkboards, and other devices for keeping kids involved without requiring paper.
  • I copy straight from the blackline master book without making a new master copy.
But we're stuck on other paper uses. Penmanship practice needs paper. Attendance is still on paper in our school, as is lunch count. Bathroom sign-out sheets are an unfortunate necessity.


Our district-mandated reading comprehension tests have bubble sheets to run off. My class' bubble sheets took (are you sitting down?) 150 page. That's 150 sheets of copy paper, more than one fifth of a ream. Multiply that by the five intermediate classes of similar sizes, and imagine the amount of paper and toner we're forced to use. It's like an unfunded mandate with the orders coming from downtown, but all the supplies coming from the existing site budget.

Running scores for the district-ordered Measure of Academic Progress test uses one page per child, three times a year. Multiply that times the number of kiddos in grades two through six and you get -- a lot of paper.

If I run grade reports for conferences, there's one page per student for Reading, for Math, for Science, for Social Studies...you get the picture. Multiply that number by five intermediate classes...we're starting to look at red ink in the budget line for copy paper.

I haven't even mentioned IEPs and other special education documentation, much less the daily behavior sheets for kids who need them.

So what do we do? I keep on looking for ways to be pennywise. My colleagues do, too. But there's only so much we can do when the major paper usage comes not from us, but from record keeping and mandated testing that's all ordered downtown at the district offices.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous LAO said...

And I find this all very ironic because you're sitting among the largest paper companies in the United States? O.k. I don't know that for sure, but they are quite significant companies. I'm not suggesting that they just cart over flats of boxes for free, but it's just ironic that this particiular topic rises.

12/05/2008 12:18 PM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

There's no way to get around the fact that TEACHERS AND STUDENTS NEED PAPER. Our PTA gladly buys paper every year for our elementary school, it's unbelievable that anyone would try to cut the paper budget--esp. when I know how creative and thrifty teachers are.

12/05/2008 2:12 PM  
Blogger Club 166 said...

I remember when computers were just becoming mainstream, and we were told how much paper computers would save us!

Joe

12/07/2008 1:39 PM  

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