Arne Duncan announces 78 Green Ribbon School winners
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined today by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to announce the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, a list including 78 schools that span 29 states and the District of Columbia.
“Science, environmental and outdoor education plays a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”
The announcement was made during a visit to Stoddert Elementary School, one of D.C.’s two honorees.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.
The 78 awarded schools were named winners from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools including 8 charters, and 12 private schools composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools. All 4 of the nominated California schools won.
The winning schools demonstrate incredible diversity and creativity in how they boost achievement through hands-on learning and save energy and resources whether in new or retrofitted buildings. The STAR School in Arizona is the first completely off-the-grid school, teaching in Navajo traditions, while the urban Desmoines Central Campus High School in Iowa is in a retrofitted 1918 Ford factory and uses aviation, welding with recycled scrap metal, and culinary arts with food from its garden as teaching tools. The complete applications of all the winners will eventually be posted on DOE’s website so other schools can learn from their examples, and a video series is planned.
The U.S. Department of Education’s “Green Ribbons” are one-year recognition awards. Next year’s competition will open in summer 2012. State agencies are encouraged to send their intents to submit nominees by June 15, 2012 via email to green.ribbon.schools.