Eco-Schools USA Congratulates Dept of Education's U.S. Green Ribbon School Award Recipients

Recognition builds on past Eco-Schools USA honor and broader movement, recognizes schools for physical and educational sustainability

04-23-2012 // Max Greenberg
Savannah Country Day School Students

The Department of Education has recognized 19 registered Eco-Schools among the 78 inaugural winners of the U.S. Green Ribbon School Awards Program, which recognizes schools for their commitment to an energy-efficient, sustainable and healthy school environment, and to ensuring the environmental literacy of their graduates.

The schools, which represent 14 states, were previously given the opportunity to utilize an alignment primer created by NWF's Eco-Schools USA program as a stepping stone to winning a Green Ribbon. In all, schools from 29 states plus Washington, DC, were recognized.

“We are tremendously proud of all the schools in the inaugural class of U.S. Green Ribbon School Award-winners. The Eco-Schools USA program is especially proud of all our schools that chose to apply for the Green Ribbon,” said Laura Hickey, Senior Director of Eco-Schools USA. “This award demonstrates that the Eco-Schools USA pathways and overall goal of a truly well-rounded education are of tremendous value in their own right, but also serve as an entrée to other prestigious honors. When schools choose to strive for these honors on their own initiative, it is an especially meaningful testament to the transformation our education system is undergoing.

Eco-Schools USA Proves a First-Class Model

The Green Ribbon Schools program is modeled after the Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which annually honors high-performance or greatly improved public and private schools. To receive the award, K-12 schools were nominated by their state’s Chief State Schools Officer (CSSO) and evaluated by the Department of Education for their achievement based on having a “net zero environmental impact”; improving the health and performance of students and staff; and ensuring the environmental and sustainability literacy of all graduates. The effort to launch the U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Award program was coordinated by NWF, Campaign for Environmental Literacy, Earth Day Network and U.S. Green Building Council.

In launching the award program last April, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the Green Ribbon is a way of “holding up schools that are leading the way in teaching science and in ways that show students the importance of developing clean energy sources and sustainable solutions for the environment.” Certified Eco-Schools have amply demonstrated this leadership in the past through the work of student-driven teams dedicated to issues like recycling and energy conservation. The process begins when a school forms an Eco-Action team; audits facility energy efficiency, waste disposal and other environmental impact areas; and institutes environmental-themed curricula. These steps lead to a series of projects designed to raise environmental and natural awareness, cut waste, increase student engagement and save money for the school. Curriculum resources, background information and teacher advise provided by NWF help augment the process.

The Green-Ribbon-winning Eco-Schools are:

  • The STAR School (Flagstaff, AZ)

  • Environmental Charter High School, (Lawndale, CA)

  • Flagstone Elementary School (Castle Rock, CO)

  • Learning Gate Community School (Lutz, FL)

  • Pine Jog Elementary School (West Palm Beach, FL)

  • Arabia Mountain High School (Lithonia, GA)

  • Savannah Country Day School (Savannah, GA)

  • Academy for Global Citizenship (Chicago, IL)

  • Eisenhower High School (Goddard, KS)

  • Erie High School (Erie, KS)

  • Brookwood Elementary (Leawood, KS)

  • Rosa Parks Elementary School (Lexington, KY)

  • Lucy School (Middletown, MD)

  • North Shore Community School (Duluth, MN)

  • The College School (St. Louis, MO)

  • Lothrop Science & Technology Magnet Center (Omaha, NE)

  • The Willow School (Gladstone, NJ)

  • Sleepy Hollow Middle School (Sleepy Hollow, NY)

  • Evergreen Community Charter School (Asheville, NC)

The Eco-Schools USA program recognizes schools for exceptional achievement in ‘greening’ physical structure and grounds, conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into curricula. More than 1,270 American schools across 47 states are enrolled in the program so far.

Related Resources
  • How to Become an Eco-School

    Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective "green" management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.

  • The Eight Eco-Schools Pathways

    The Eco-Schools USA program is made up of seven steps, incorporating eight environmental pathways.

  • Current Eco-Schools  

    Check the map to see if your schools are Eco-Schools.