Ruffing Montessori receives sustainability award

Ruffing students pull rainwater from an underground cistern for use in classroom gardens.

The City of Cleveland Heights recently recognized Ruffing Montessori School with a Community Improvement Award for sustainability.

Mayor Edward Kelley congratulated Ruffing for taking an environmentally respectful approach to exterior improvements at its Fairmount Boulevard campus this fall.

Head of School Gordon Maas said, “We’re thrilled to be recognized for our efforts. As a green school, it is common practice for us to consider the most sustainable approach to anything we undertake, from harvesting rainwater to teaching students about the impact of stormwater on our community.”

Ruffing’s recently completed Stormwater Learning Lab showcases a number of sustainable stormwater management practices, including a permeable pavement driveway, bioretention cells for collecting stormwater, a cistern and a hand pump used for watering gardens. The project was encouraged and supported by the Ohio EPA.

Ruffing also made other improvements. Columns mark a new pedestrian gateway that aligns with the school crosswalk at Fairmount Boulevard, and a new stamped concrete walkway extends from the public sidewalk to the school’s main entrance.

Decorative trench drains demonstrate the flow of rainwater through a clear downspout to bioretention cells, while a new bike path wraps around the school's historic stone wall and leads to a bike parking pad. Plans are in place for custom bike racks created by a local artist, and Ruffing has commissioned a tile artist to create colorful signage for its north-facing wall and the school’s vehicular entrance.

Ruffing Montessori School is the second-oldest Montessori school in the United States, and one of the largest in the Cleveland area. Founded in 1959, Ruffing’s mission is to educate young people to their fullest potential, instilling a sense of personal independence and social responsibility. The school has been LEED-certified since 2010.

To learn more about Ruffing Montessori School and its environmentally sustainable practices, call 216-321-7571.

Debra Mitchell

Debra Mitchell, director of finance and operations at Ruffing Montessori School, lives in Cleveland Heights with her husband and two children. She is active in her neighborhood and church.

Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:54 AM, 12.02.2013