First U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Recognized

ED staff prepare green ribbon sign

Staff from the Department of Education prepare a Green Ribbon sign before today's event.

Today marked another historic milestone for the green schools movement, as the 78 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools announced during Earth Week were recognized at a national ceremony in Washington, DC.  Secretary Arne Duncan joined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and U.S Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin in congratulating the honorees for their exemplary practices.

The winning schools, diverse in the student populations, and representing 29 states and the District of Columbia, all took a comprehensive approach to greening their schools, making strides to reduce their schools’ environmental impact, improve health and provide education geared toward the sustainability challenges of the 21st century.

Green Ribbon CeremonyDuncan congratulated the schools on their tremendous work, noting their practices to improve student achievement, increase student engagement and provide effective professional development are practices that all should follow, not just aspiring green schools.

While all the selected schools have outstanding stories, Secretary Duncan highlighted Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Ga.,, which requires every student take AP Environmental Science, and is exceeding state and county assessment scores.  At Lothrop Technology Magnet School in Omaha, Neb., school gardens, and complementary practices such as composting, are a critical tool to getting even the youngest students learning and experiencing science first-hand.

ED released a document with highlights and success stories from the 2012 honorees. The Secretary also announced the first installment of the Green Strides Webinar Series, to help all schools move toward reduced environmental impact, improved health and effective sustainability literacy, the three ‘Pillars’ of the award.

Honorees were awarded Forest Stewardship Council and Green Guard certified plaques and biodegradable banners made of recycled bottles. This winter, all schools in participating states will have another opportunity to apply to their state education agencies in competition for state’s nominations for next year’s awards.  ED will publish 2013 criteria this summer for states to develop those competitions and will require state agencies to submit their nominees in early 2013.  Sixteen states have already indicated their intent to nominate schools in the next round of the recognition award competition.

Watch today’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award ceremony.

April “School Days” Highlights Potential Increase in Student Loan Rate

In the just-released April 2012 edition of “School Days,” the monthly video journal of the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama calls for quick action by the Congress to avoid a dramatic increase in the interest rate for Federal college loans; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announces the first-ever awards in the new U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program; and a the Blueprint for Career and Technical Education outlines the Administration’s plans for transforming the programs that prepare students of all ages for the workplace of today.  And there’s much, much more.  Watch “School Days.”


Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Seventy-Eight Schools are First-Ever U.S. Dept of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley & EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier today to announce the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, a list including 78 schools that span 29 states & D.C.

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Presenting the First Green Ribbon Schools

Cross-posted from the White House Blog.

Today I had the honor to name 78 schools as the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. When we set out a year ago to recognize comprehensive achievement in the areas of environmental impact, health and education, we didn’t know about the quality of the applications we would receive. But we discovered that these schools are engaging in some of the most innovative school reforms anywhere. These approaches are enabling the schools to reduce their environmental impact and costs; improve student health; and ensure that graduates are prepared to face the great challenges of the 21st century.

US Dept of ED Green Ribbon School logoTo save energy and decrease their environmental impact, the winning schools are using a range of methods. Many purchase renewable energy and generate it on school premises. One boasts the world’s largest closed loop geothermal heating and cooling system and another features the nation’s first off-grid solar and wind powered school. We’re honoring schools that use green roofs, pervious pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels, rain cisterns and low-flow water equipment of all types. At some of the winners, the buses run on ultra-low sulfur diesel, compressed natural gas or the discarded cooking oils of local restaurants. Their conservation efforts extend from the cafeteria to the classroom, as they devise reusable snack bags and water bottles; dine with reusable plates, napkins and utensils for meals; and save paper by converting to digital assignments and grading.

To keep students healthy and engaged in learning, there are almost as many innovative ideas as there are winning schools. Kids are outside climbing ropes, kayaking, orienteering and learning in their outdoor classrooms. They’re reading ‘on the green,’ conducting GPS mapping studies of creeks, performing water quality testing, creating and maintaining trails, tapping maple trees, reconstructing wetlands and going on wilderness adventures. Many students are growing their own food – with vegetable gardens, herb gardens, colonial gardens, organic gardens, butterfly gardens, aquaponic gardens, salad gardens, pizza gardens, lasagna gardens and Native American medicine wheel gardens – as well as fruit trees, berry patches, peach orchards and olive groves. They’re preparing their harvest in the kitchen, learning about its nutritional value in the classroom, and sending many pounds of produce to local food pantries. Winning schools are also ensuring that kids’ health is protected in other ways, by using certified green cleaning products, for example, or by posting “no idling” signs in the driveways and parking lots.

Today’s winners are also providing a comprehensive environmental education that is essential to help students become good citizens, prepared for life and work in the 21stcentury global economy. They are learning health, science, sustainable agriculture and business acumen by caring for their chickens, bunnies, goats, fish, ducks and bees. They tend to trout and salmon in the cassroom, on-site forests, ponds and lakes, or find ones nearby to adopt. Older students take Ecology, Environmental Leadership, Horticulture, Biology, Renewable Energy and AP Environmental Science. Students are learning green technologies, renewable energy and sustainability by converting cars to electric power and designing solar panels, solar cars and wind generators. Students are constructing energy efficient modular homes, retrofitting diesel engines, producing biofuel, welding recycled scrap metal and assembling robots.

It’s important to note that these schools represent a cross section of America. Almost half of the honored schools are serving disadvantaged students. Several of the winners serve American Indians; others’ enrollments are two-thirds Hispanic and another is 98 percent African American. Several dozen are high poverty where more than half of students receive free and reduced priced lunch.

Today we are shining the spotlight on 78 terrific and innovative schools, but our real aim is more ambitious. We don’t want just pockets of excellence – we want success to be the norm. All our children deserve green schools, as all our students deserve a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future.

Arne Duncan is Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education

A Coming of Age Moment

Secretary Arne Duncan visited the Green Schools National Conference in Denver yesterday, where he praised the 1,500 educators in attendance for their commitment to greening our schools, developing environmental literacy, and nurturing stewardship and an ethic of sustainability in our students.

Duncan Speaks at the Green Ribbon EventArne called the gathering “a coming of age moment for the green movement in our schools,” declaring that the movement had matured to the point that environmental concerns were no longer viewed as anything less than essential.

“In the past, skeptics of green schools and the value of environmental literacy have claimed that reducing our ecological footprint and increasing understanding of the environment was a kind of zero-sum game,” Arne said.  “Green schools and environmental literacy in fact complement the goals of providing a well-rounded education for the 21st century, of modernizing schools at reduced costs, and of accelerating learning.”

Arne pointed out how green schools nurture unique skills and knowledge that matter more than ever in today’s global economy.

Reducing disease, developing renewable sources of energy, curbing pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are no longer challenges that stop at our borders.  America simply cannot meet any of these challenges without collaborating with other countries. And those partnerships will require U.S. students to develop better critical thinking, a deeper understanding of science and sustainability, and a greater awareness of ecosystems and energy efficiency.

The conference attendees included principals and teachers, school board members, facility and energy managers, school nutrition professionals, students, and others, as well as representatives of environmentally-focused national organizations.  Arne thanked them for their advocacy and support for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program, which he noted has inspired a variety of federal and state agencies to work together in innovative ways to help schools reduce their environmental impact, save energy, promote better health, and develop environmental literacy.

“Your movement is helping not only to change the culture of our schools for the better, but the culture of the Department of Education,” he said.

Read Secretary Duncan’s speech and sign up here for email updates from ED’s Green Ribbon Schools.


Find resources to green your school and learn about ED-GRS.
See U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools blogs.
Connect with U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on Facebook.

Please note: U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition award and should not be confused with any green schools program conducted by non-governmental entities.

A Green Revolution for All

Two weeks from today, Secretary Duncan will take the stage at the Green Schools National Conference in Denver, providing a high note at what is fast becoming the largest annual meeting of the green schools movement. The Secretary and other distinguished speakers, including Deputy Undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Janey Thornton, mayors from several cities, and business leaders representing companies from Stonyfield Farm to Siemens, will address the green schools movement and how it can strengthen our economy, revitalize our schools and ensure access to green school benefits for all.

The Secretary’s appearance and the growing popularity of this conference signal a new milestone in green schools, coinciding with the inaugural year of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program. ED’s new Environmental Justice Strategy explains how ED-GRS is just one initiative supporting a goal at the very heart of ED’s mission: assuring equal educational opportunity for every student. ED-GRS, among other initiatives, helps suggest ways to address the adverse health and environmental conditions that disproportionately affect student achievement among minority and low-income populations.

Over the past months, we’ve all seen how ED-GRS is encouraging state education agencies and school communities to consider the intersection of environment, health and education; putting a range of existing resources in one place for their use; and facilitating experts to help schools become healthier, safer and easier on the environment.

For this reason, ED-GRS plays an important part in ED’s Environmental Justice Strategy, responding to a Presidential Executive Order, which explains how the Department’s policies, programs, and activities aim to increase access for all to healthy, safe and high-achievement promoting environments. The strategy is available for public comment through March 26th and is one of several initiatives in which ED takes part, including America’s Great Outdoors and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, to make good on the President Obama’s commitment to healthy environments and sustainable economies for all Americans.

The draft strategy makes it plain that the green schools movement, with its focus on environment, health, economy and education aims to do more than help our economy and nation grow sustainably.  Just as importantly, this veritable green schools revolution is helping to ensure fairness and opportunity for all of our nation’s students. 

Comment on ED’s draft Environmental Justice Strategy.

See all U.S. Department of Education environment blogs.

Connect with U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on Facebook.

Please note:  U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition award and should not be confused with any green schools program conducted by non-governmental entities.

 

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools: For an Education Built to Last

Last week President Obama asked us to work together to create an America built to last — one that thrives on innovation, collaboration, affordable education and spending within our means.   As part of this effort, the U.S. Department of Education is working to encourage sustainable schools where facilities, health and education practices combine to support the nation’s needs in the long term.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognizes public and private schools for meeting some of the most critical challenges of our time.  All schools are capable of reducing their energy consumption, and some are even candidates for renewable energy projects.  Every school can implement a coordinated school health program that addresses student health, fitness and nutrition to improve academic achievement.  And every school can offer students a well-rounded environmental education with strong science and mathematics foundations—an education that can help students learn robust civics skills and environmental stewardship as they enhance their career and college preparedness.

ED-GRS is just one effort by the Department of Education that addresses the environmental factors that can improve a child’s ability to learn.  To ensure the health and wellness of all students, ED collaborates with the First Lady’s Let’s Move!, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Surgeon General’s office to underscore the link between good health and positive academic outcomes.

ED has proposed a $265 million grant to expand support for the subjects important to a complete curriculum, including environmental literacy.  As the President said, in order to fill the innovation and research –based jobs our nation’s companies require, students must engage early and stay hooked on the critical science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects.  Environmental education engages students in these subjects, and a host of others.

To assist older students, ED administers vocational grants to help states develop green high school career programs that will prepare graduates for jobs in the green economy and funds energy and cost-saving improvements at minority-serving campuses.  Along with roughly a dozen other agencies, ED is developing a comprehensive Environmental Justice strategy and has joined the Federal Urban Waters Partnership to help connect all students to healthful environments and revitalize their communities.

These various programs all aim to help students achieve, go on to college, and graduate ready for the innovation and high-skill based job market.   Fostering a sustainable education means that our economy will possess the trained employees and creative thinking it requires to grow and flourish for years to come.  With these programs, we set a bar for graduates prepared to invent, renew, take responsibility and collaborate on behalf of our nation.  This new, sustainable generation will be up to the task, fortified by an education built to last.

Find grants and programs to green your school and learn about ED-GRS.

See all U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools blogs.

Connect with U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on Facebook.

Please note:  U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition award and should not be confused with any green schools program conducted by non-governmental entities.

An Open Letter to Potential Applicants to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program

Dear School,

Thank you for your enthusiasm regarding the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.   The intent of this new award is to encourage as many schools as possible to look at environmental impact, health and education in new ways and to make much needed improvements.  We are thrilled with the overwhelming support for and consensus around the award and the fact that many of you are already taking steps to improve your schools in these areas.

With the program’s three Pillars, we have identified for state, local and school programs what areas of action are necessary to become an U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.   But we are confident that the scope and impact of the award will extend far beyond the 100 or so winners of the pilot year.  This is because the award is designed so that every school applying across the country will be encouraged to embark upon a critical learning process and, in doing so, connect to more resources, knowledge and programs to further its green school aims.

Under the program’s rules, states nominate their own schools, and the application form is a little different in each state, so you should carefully review your nominating authority’s requirements.  States’ forms serve not only as applications but also as self-assessment tools for schools to learn about and address all important areas of the award: to foster health, wellness and productivity;  to reduce costs; to provide a well-rounded education; to increase STEM skills; improve civic engagement; and to generally ensure students’ college and career preparedness.

State applications may not be an easy lift, but you’ll find that they constitute a different kind of work than most awards.  In completing the application and reviewing our online materials and those posted by your state authority, your school will learn about technical, financial and volunteer resources.  Equally important, your school will obtain a baseline assessment of where it stands and can improve in the future in the three Green Ribbon Schools Pillars, as well as some other requirements in the areas of health, safety and environment.

This means that the very act of completing an application in your state or jurisdiction can lead to change and improvement in your school.  For this reason, I encourage you to apply and to take advantage of the many resources on our site.  We know that every school can reduce its environmental impact, improve health and provide effective environmental education.  What’s more, current financial constraints and national academic outcomes demand this shift toward sustainable facilities, health and education practices – not just among a few winners, but by all schools across the nation.

With best wishes for your school greening efforts,

Andrea Suarez Falken
Director, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Apply to your state.
Connect with resources to meet your green schools aims.
See previous Green Ribbon blogs.

Please note:  U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition award and should not be confused with any green schools program conducted by non-governmental entities.

Schools Go Green – and Save Green – with Help from Private, Foundation and Nonprofit Sectors

Since Secretary Arne Duncan announced the Green Ribbon Schools effort this past September, program staff have learned about a wide range of free resources available to help schools go green and to save green, too. Green schools are taking advantage of grants, volunteer support, education resources and other help — from innovative business partnerships to overnight field trips at nearby outdoor education centers. Here are just a few examples:

Green schools have tapped into Kohl’s department stores volunteers and funds to implement environmental projects in schools. They send their difficult to recycle items to Terracycle and get a check in return. Schools are connecting kids to the outdoors with National Wildlife Federation’s Get Outside activity ideas. Schools are teaching sciences and developing civic engagement skills as they plan and maintain school gardens with tools from School Garden Wizard and the Green Thumb Challenge.

They are turning to Walking School Bus to reduce transportation use and build regular activity into kids’ days. They are encouraging healthier school eating and hosting educational fundraisers with help from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation PreventObesity, Healthy Schools Campaign, School Food and Fitness and National Healthy Schools Day.

Green schools are implementing effective environmental education with free teaching materials from Green Education Foundation, Facing the Future, Project Learning Tree, and National Resources Defense Council, among others.  They are calling upon Alliance for Climate Education and Do Something for free projects, grants and assemblies to provide hands-on interdisciplinary learning about the key relationships between dynamic environmental, energy and human systems.

They are exercising students’ math, engineering, art, architecture and design skills as well as stretching their ability to think creatively and work with others through school design projects such as Council on Educational Facility Planners International School of the Future Design Competition and Green Education Foundation Green Building Program that emphasize sustainability, health and improved achievement outcomes.

See more free resources to help stretch green school budgets.

Click here to see Green Ribbon’s previous blog posts.

US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is an awards program that recognizes school achievements in environmental impact, health and wellness, and environmental education. The effort should not be confused with any program conducted by non-governmental entities.

Sorry, Kermit — It Can Be Easy Being Green

As Director of the new Green Ribbon Schools program, I have visited a lot of Green Schools. I have been thrilled by geothermal heating and cooling systems; intrigued by water retention ponds and cisterns; and delighted by practical yet attractive recycled building materials. But I’ve also been impressed by schools that have “gone green” through sheer ingenuity. My visits to schools that look like any other reinforce our understanding that any school, no matter its resources or location, can take relatively simple steps toward the goals of the Green Ribbon Schools recognition award.

Every school can become a green school by making progress in the areas of: 1) environmental impact and energy efficiency; 2) health and wellness; and 3) environmental literacy. So what does a green school look like? Don’t be fooled by ordinary appearances. What sets apart a green school requires a look inside, where enterprising school administrators, teachers and community members lead enthusiastic students toward change.

In a green school, the community might help with the construction of a simple outdoor amphitheater that serves as an open air classroom. A green school can start a recycling program that encourages communities without district waste management programs to bring their recyclables to school for collection. Or recognize quarterly the class with the highest number of students commuting by a means other than their parents’ cars. Administrators can engage community volunteers to help students plan and maintain school gardens. They can adopt a no cupcake policy and offer students healthy birthday reward alternatives, such as additional recess. They might ask students to “trash the trash” with reusable lunchware. A good-humored principal might don his Mr. Banana costume – and check his self-esteem at the door – all in the name of teaching young scholars good nutrition.

At the high school level, a motivated environmental science teacher could have a huge impact, using an aquaponic garden to teach the nitrogen cycle in biology, horticulture and other environmental science classes. Students might develop not only science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through their projects, but also develop civic skills. Students could use the profits from the plants they grow and sell to improve the schools’ environmental impact and cost savings. The teacher might organize an annual clean-up in nearby woodlands, highways or trails and garner local organizations’ sponsorship and collaboration. The green high school’s environmental club can help the school transition to compact fluorescent bulbs and task lighting, reducing the energy consumption of classrooms, and to implement a recycling program.

These are all real-life examples from visits not far from the U.S. Department of Education’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, but efforts such as these are being implemented all across the country. Every school that takes these simple steps can save energy, reduce costs, increase health and wellness, and offer effective environmental education. These schools are proving that it’s easier than you think being green.

See Green Ribbon’s previous blog posts:

US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition award and should not be confused with any green schools program conducted by non-governmental entities.

Andrea Falken, Director, Green Ribbon Schools

Green Ribbon Receives Overwhelming Support… and A Few Ribbons of its Own

States Participating in Green Ribbon Pilot Year

States Participating in Green Ribbon Pilot Year

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:

Green Ribbon Schools Program Has State Agencies Working in New Ways

In September, Secretary Arne Duncan announced the Green Ribbon Schools program, which honors schools for reducing environmental impact, promoting health and wellness, and providing effective environmental education. In seeking to identify and celebrate schools’ achievement in these areas, the recognition award has also encouraged state agencies to work together on behalf of schools in new ways.

Notably, the program is helping to break down one of the chief obstacles to schools providing environmental education in sustainable, healthy spaces. It does this by creating an opportunity for federal and state governments and non-governmental entities to work together, bringing more private and public resources to support schools, in spite of tough economic times.

State departments of education have taken bold steps to achieve the vision that Green Ribbon Schools sets. Education departments were quick to reach out to peer agencies with critical resources, enlisting help in designing processes for selecting and rating schools for submission of nominees to ED.

As one of the first states to announce participation in Green Ribbon’s pilot year, the Pennsylvania Department of Instruction is building on its Pathways to Green Schools with work bolstered by environmental protection, conservation and natural resources, and community and economic development agencies. Likewise, in California, Hawaii and Washington green schools nominations, the inter-agency groups that are providing input into Green Ribbon policies and procedures include agriculture, public utilities, public health, energy and state parks.

Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, which implements energy, resource conservation and health programs will support the Alabama Department of Education in its efforts to nominate green schools to ED. In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment will build on an existing awards program to assist Colorado Department of Education in selecting the state’s nominees to ED. In North Carolina, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will serve a similar function.

In numerous other states, departments of public health, environment and community development, among others, are offering to support state departments of education and schools in their green schools efforts, by providing much of the technical expertise, and some of the manpower, required to submit nominees to ED for the award.

For years, at federal, state and local levels, health, natural resource, energy and safety authorities have possessed expertise and programs appropriate for school communities. Green Ribbon has encouraged connections among schools and this existing pool of resources — one that will enable them to advance more speedily toward reduced environmental impact, improved health and environmentally literate graduates.

ED salutes the various state agencies for their hard work in making the pilot year of Green Ribbon Schools possible. Here’s to maximizing efficiency with minimal resources, in each of our governments – and at every level — just as we are asking of our schools.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on the Green Ribbon Schools program’s pilot year. Check back for stories on:

  • The overwhelming number of states taking part in the Green Ribbon Schools program in its pilot year;
  • State departments of education leveraging the support of non-governmental entities to achieve Green Ribbon’s vision; and
  • Schools and state departments employing complementary federal resources, standards and programs thanks to Green Ribbon.