On September 23, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley opened the pilot year for the new U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program to recognize the highest performing green schools in the nation. Modeled on the prestigious Blue Ribbon Schools award, Green Ribbon was designed to recognize k-12 public and private elementary, middle and high schools across the nation that are exemplary in the following three “Pillars”:
- Reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation
- Improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness
- Providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways
Unique about the award is that, in order to be selected for federal recognition, schools must be high achieving in all three of the above Pillars, not just one area. Schools must be nominated by their state chief education officer and cannot apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). For information about applying in Pennsylvania, go to the PA Department of Education’s Pathways to Green Schools website.
Pennsylvania’s Green Ribbon Schools
Since its pilot year, Pennsylvania has had twelve diverse honorees. Ranging from school districts to elementary and middle schools, as well as private and disadvantaged schools, our honorees have run the gamut. We even had a career & technology school and a community college as awardees. The one feature they do have in common is that they excel in all three pillars of a green school. Click on the name of individual schools/school districts below to see a complete summary of our GRS honorees.
2012 Honorees: Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy; Radnor Middle School;Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School; A.W. Beattie Career Center
2013 Honorees: Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School; Broughal Middle School; Nazareth Area Middle School; Westtown School; Lower Merion School District
2014 Honoree: Council Rock School District
2015 Honorees: Charles Patton Middle School; Northampton Community College
The PA Green and Healthy Schools Partnership congratulated our 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on June 24th, 2015, at the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg. Watch the video here.
Information adapted from the following sources: Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Educators (PAEE) Journal, Winter 2012/13 U.S. Department of Education, Green Ribbon School website Websites from individual Green Ribbon honorees