WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama’s administration honored a select group of schools nationwide as the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
The winners include 78 schools from 29 states, including Stoddert Elementary School in Washington D.C., where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the list in April.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that opened in September. The 78 schools honored had to demonstrate a comprehensive approach to creating a “green” environment by reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and providing high-quality environmental and outdoor education that gave an up-to-date understanding of sustainability concepts, according to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
“Schools that take a green approach cut costs on their utility bills, foster healthy and productive classrooms, and prepare students to thrive in the 21st century economy,” Sutley said. “These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow’s environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and our country.”
More than 350 schools applied to their state agencies to be considered for the award. Of them, 100 nominees were selected by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. The final 78 winners consisted of 66 public schools, eight charters and 12 private schools. The winners came from elementary, middle and high school facilities, and about half were considered high-poverty schools.
The winners were praised for their dedication to sustainable materials and environmental practices. New York City-based architecture firm Perkins Eastman, which designed the award-winning Stoddert Elementary School, praised those involved with the design and facility operations.
“Stoddert demonstrates the incredible potential to integrate the curriculum and the design of a high performance, sustainable learning environment to inspire our children to become the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders,” said Perkins Eastman Principal Sean O’Donnell. “Environmental stewardship is core to our practice, and recognition of this caliber is a testament to the value of that conviction and the vision of the school and our client.”
The awards are given out once a year. Next year’s competition will begin accepting applications in the summer of 2012.