In D.C., Honoring Green Schools for Leading the Way

July 24, 2014

Green schools tour announced

Earlier this week, 48 schools from across the country were honored for their efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education. The awardees are proving that green schools are well within reach — and that they’re critical to students’ success in school and in life.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said: “Healthy, safe and sustainable facilities combined with wellness practices like outdoor physical activity, nutritious food and hands-on environmental learning form a strong foundation for a quality education.”

HSC couldn’t agree more, and we applaud the winners for showing such leadership. We also applaud the U.S. Department of Education for making these awards happen. On a federal level, Green Ribbon Schools is an important avenue for incentivizing schools to prioritize green initiatives. In fact, the award is one of the few national awards spotlighting schools that are creating greener, healthier learning environments. (Another award with a slightly different focus is HSC’s Green Cleaning Award.)

But positive ripples from the award winners don’t stop there. Duncan announced the 2014 “Healthy Schools, High-Achieving Students” Best Practices Tour, which will take place August-October 2014 and will spotlight school environmental health. During the tour, federal, state and local visitors will bring attention to how school facilities, health and wellness, and environmental education can affect equity and achievement. They’ll also highlight some key best practices. This year’s tour legs include past and present school and district honorees in Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia.

Should your school be honored next year? First, talk to your district. The Department is asking districts to indicate their intent to nominate schools for next year’s awards by August 1, 2014.Then, be on the lookout for state-specific information. States will offer applications for interested schools, districts and postsecondary institutions in the fall.