Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education honored this year’s class of Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) awardees at an official ceremony and an awards reception hosted by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. The reception was held on Capitol Hill and lawmakers from around the country were invited to congratulate their districts’ awardees in person.
Now in its seventh year, ED-GRS is a prestigious awards program that recognizes select K–12 schools, K–12 districts and postsecondary institutions for a deep commitment to sustainability. The 2018 class includes 58 honorees—46 schools, six districts and six postsecondary institutions—who have exemplified leadership across the three pillars of a green school: 1) reduced environmental impact and costs, 2) improved health and wellness and 3) effective environmental and sustainability education.
USGBC applauds these outstanding schools for their leadership. They have helped define what it means to be a green school and have provided education that supports students’ development into responsible, compassionate and engaged citizens.
Forty-five percent of this year’s awardees serve under-resourced communities, and they include public, charter, non-public and magnet schools as well as career and technical schools and community colleges. The diversity of this year’s awardees proves that any school can make meaningful strides in improving the sustainability and health of school facilities, ensuring lifelong nutrition and fitness practices. It also engages students in real-world learning that equips them with the skills to lead a sustainable future. To date, ED-GRS has recognized 386 schools, 62 districts and 40 postsecondary institutions.
Each participating state in this voluntary program is allowed to nominate up to four schools and one district that demonstrate a comprehensive approach to sustainability. This year’s pool of candidates were nominated and reviewed by 26 state education authority implementation teams, including 25 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity.
The ED-GRS awards program was founded in 2011 when key advocates, including USGBC, steered some 80 national and state-based nonprofits to request that the Department honor schools for their sustainability efforts and contributions. USGBC commends the Department's continued commitment to highlighting the successes of these outstanding schools through this program, which remains a crucial focal point in the green schools movement and recognizes local, state and national partnerships.