The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 33 states and the District of Columbia have submitted intents to nominate schools for the new Green Ribbon Schools awards program launched this past September. Schools nominated by state education agencies are eligible to receive the award.
"We are excited about the potential impact the Green Ribbon Schools awards program can have in encouraging schools to improve their energy efficiency, create healthy environments for students and staff, and enhance their work to effectively prepare graduates for 21st century careers," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Participating states, as well as the District of Columbia, to date are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Department also received intent to nominate from the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education school district.
The program asks states to nominate schools in their jurisdiction that come closest to achieving the high bar that Green Ribbon sets: net zero environmental impact of facilities, net positive health impact on students and staff, and 100% environmentally literate graduates.
U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools Director Rachel Gutter has commended the program as "the biggest thing to happen to the green schools movement." Green Ribbon Schools was also awarded the 2011 Center for Environmental and Innovation Awards for Excellence in Education and Outreach with accolades for helping break down obstacles to schools in preparing a 21st century workforce, providing citizenship coursework, and fostering sustainable, healthy learning spaces. The program has facilitated collaboration among federal agencies, state governments and non-governmental entities to bring more private and public resources to support schools in spite of tough economic times.
Participating states are currently posting applications for schools in their jurisdictions, and will submit nominees to the Department by March 22, 2012. The Department will announce winners in April, 2012 and will host the first national U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C., in late May 2012. The national ceremony will be followed by local ceremonies at each of the winning schools in fall 2012.
To learn more about the new U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/