WASHINGTON, D.C— Schools from around the country were recognized and honored by President Obama’s administration for being the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. The list includes 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 stand-out schools in April.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. The 78 schools that were honored had to exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environment through reducing environmental impact, promoting health and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy, 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,” said Sutley. “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 completed applications to their state agencies in order to be considered for the Green Ribbon Schools award — from there, 100 nominees were selected by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. The 78 winners were then chosen from schools around the country including 66 public schools, eight charters and 12 private schools. The winners came from elementary, middle and high school facilities — around 50 percent representing high poverty schools.
The winners were praised for their dedication to sustainable materials and environmental practices. New York City-based architecture firm, Perkins Eastman designed the award winning Stoddert Elementary School and praised those involved for the success of the design and current operations at the facility.
“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 AIA, LEED AP. “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 only given out once a year to the those schools showing their superior efforts to create a healthy and sustainable environment for students — next year’s competition will begin accepting applications in summer 2012.