You may have heard of the federal Blue Ribbon Schools award program recognizing schools for academic excellence and closing the achievement gap, but did you know about the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools awards? The goal of this program is to inspire schools to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources. The award recognizes programs that reduce environmental impact and costs; improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and provide effective environmental and sustainability education.
Just last month, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the 27schools and five districts from 17 states to earn 2022 Green Ribbon Schools awards. Leaders from these schools will attend a reception in the fall in Washington, D.C., where their efforts will be celebrated. In addition, other schools will be pointed to them to learn about and adopt their best practices for protecting our world and creating healthy, sustainable learning environments.
“This year’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honorees have raised the bar for sustainability, healthy and safe school environments, and hands-on learning experiences that connect students of all ages to the world around them,” said Cardona. “As we recover from a pandemic that highlighted the need to modernize school infrastructure, improve ventilation, and create versatile indoor and outdoor learning spaces, we have an opportunity to invest in sustainable practices that enhance student learning, health, and well-being.”
The winning schools’ examples of creative and innovative approaches to protecting the environment are remarkable. For example, in Connecticut, Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy was designed for sustainability. The school is a Connecticut Green Leaf School, a National Wildlife Habitat, and a Monarch Way Station. The campus features swales, ponds, and meadows for field study, after-school activities, and an annual BioBlitz.
On the other side of the country in Washington state, Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) is part of Puget Sound Energy’s Commercial Strategic Energy Management program, tracks utility use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and has transitioned nearly all facilities to direct digital controls. Several of the district’s schools use rain barrels, cisterns, rain gardens, or green roofs to reclaim water and/or protect water quality. BPS also offers free bus passes, Safe Routes to School curriculum and maps, and educational “bike rodeos” to promote alternative transportation.
You can read more about all of the creative approaches to reducing their environment impact that this year’s winners are implementing in a USDOE report here.
Want to reach out and congratulate these schools, their leaders and students? They are all now identified as Green Ribbon Schools in our K-12 education database so you can easily create campaigns to recognize their efforts. This is just one of the many ways that we identify specific audiences in our database so that you can quickly and easily create targeted campaigns to reach prospective education customers. Want to learn more? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.