This fall the Department of Education launched the Green Ribbon Schools award to recognize schools that have integrated best practices in energy, water and waste management, healthy school environments, and environmental education. In an overwhelming show of support for recognition of high achievement in these areas, 33 states, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education indicated that they would nominate schools to ED for the new award. Here’s what state education agencies are saying about Green Ribbon Schools:
Arkansas Deputy Commissioner Tony Wood: “The Arkansas Department of Education recognizes the benefits of the ‘Pillars’ laid out in the Green Ribbon program for the overall environment, cost savings for individual school districts, and improved health/performance of Arkansas’ students.”
Hawaii Assistant Superintendent Randy Moore “Hawaii is delighted by the opportunity to participate in the Green Ribbon Schools program. A number of our independent, charter, and regular public schools have implemented a variety of green school strategies, from facilities to behaviors to curriculum.”
Iowa Deputy Director Jeff Berger: “The Green Ribbon Schools project allows us to highlight the efforts many of our schools are making to improve the physical learning environments for our students… Many of our schools are taking this very seriously and we appreciate a mechanism to reward efforts that are currently going unnoticed.”
Maryland Interim Superintendent Bernard Sadusky: “Our schools have long felt a connection to the world around them. The outdoors is a natural extension of the classroom for many of our students. We look forward to participating in this valuable program.”
Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary Michael Walsh: “As schools across Pennsylvania take steps to reduce energy expenditures and use the natural and built environment as a teaching tool, the Green Ribbon Schools program is a great way to recognize their efforts, and to encourage those that are just starting on the path towards a more green and sustainable educational future.”
Rhode Island Commissioner Deborah Gist: “Sustainable schools, or green schools, are excellent environments for students and great investments for our communities… Green schools save taxpayer dollars… Green schools can also serve as models for student explorations in science, ecology, engineering, and other career & technical fields.”
Washington Deputy Superintendent Alan Burke: “Our state’s economy and the well-being of its people depend upon a healthy environment. Education plays a key role in ensuring this.”
West Virginia Superintendent Jorea Marple: “Schools in the Mountain State are already doing great things related to creating a healthy environment in school facilities. Now we want to recognize schools that strengthen that work by imbedding sustainability practices into all aspects of school life.”
Bureau of Indian Education Director Keith Moore: “The Green Ribbon Schools award will provide additional opportunities for us to showcase our schools making the educational experience of American Indian and Alaska Native students healthier in an energy efficient environment.”
ED Green Ribbon Schools has been delighted to receive a few ribbons of its own both for the substantive goals the award sets—reduced environmental impact; improved environmental health and wellness; and environmental literacy—and the innovative way in which ED encourages schools to achieve these aims. Recent accolades include the Center for Environmental Innovation and Leadership’s 2011 Excellence in Education and Outreach and the US Green Building Council’s Best of 2011 awards.
To learn more about the new U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School recognition award visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/.
See Green Ribbon’s previous blog posts: