Ready, Set, Apply! for the Green Ribbon Schools Award
You know a new government program has bi-partisan appeal and the enthusiasm of the public when 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education all indicate they're getting on board. That means they're all planning to nominate schools to receive the Green Ribbon Award. Why? Because there are so many benefits to pursuing green school initiatives and to winning the award itself!
Green Schools Initiative and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington surveyed past winners of the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award to explore their green efforts and their experience with winning this recognition. The national results indicated that US-DOE Green Ribbon winners felt strongly that receiving the award increased their school's or district's visibility among key stakeholders (parents, school board members, prospective parents, teachers), increased media attention, and increased fundraising. Winners also noted that applying for the award helped as a self-assessment tool, promoted improved internal coordination, and increased awareness among the school community about green/sustainability efforts. As one school leader noted, "The benefits [of winning the award] have been many. We are seen as model for green schools in our area … it has helped us to maintain a culture of being more aware of our facilities, resource use, health of our campus and education programs." The research will be published in the Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership in December 2014.
So, reap these benefits and get started on your Green Ribbon Schools award application today. Read on for more information and links.
Setting Strong Green Standards
The federal Green Ribbon Schools program asks states to nominate up to five schools or districts that come the closest to realizing the high standards set by the program:
Pillar 1: Reduce environmental impact and costs,
Pillar 2: Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff, and
Pillar 3: Provide effective environmental and sustainability literacy, incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.How to Get Your School Nominated
California schools can apply to the California Department of Education by December 29, 2014 to be nominated for the Green Ribbon Schools Award (schools cannot apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program for the award). Non-California schools must check their states' respective Department of Education websites for deadlines. Check the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools page to find out more and for a list of participating state education agencies.
In California, interested schools should contact Lesley Taylor (LTaylor@cde.ca.gov), the California state contact for the Green Ribbon Schools Program. Let us know if you need help!
The California Green Ribbon application is now available here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/sf/greenribbonprog.asp
FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS: The California Department of Education (CDE), together with the California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO), will bestow a state-level "California Green Ribbon School" award to recognize private schools and public schools and districts across the state for environmental excellence and demonstrated achievement of the three Pillars of ED-GRS, beyond the 5 nominees for the federal award. All complete ED-GRS applications of public schools and school districts will be automatically considered for the state award. ED-GRS applicants will be recognized as California Green Ribbon Schools in the following manner:
- Bronze Level: Achievement of 55.0 - 64.9%
- Silver Level: Achievement of 65.0 - 74.9%
- Gold Level: Achievement of 75% or better
- Green Ambassadors: The highest achievement, given to the ED-GRS nominees
States can nominate up to four schools and one district to receive the Award, including public, private and charter schools. If states nominate more than one school, the second must meet certain low-income demographic criteria. If a state nominates more than three schools, the fourth must be a private school.
Green Schools Initiative Encourages Schools to Apply
We at Green Schools Initiative (GSI) hope this year is an even bigger success, and we encourage schools to apply. GSI Executive Director Deborah Moore says, "We are really excited about Green Ribbon because it creates a clear and consistent set of criteria. Schools that have won a Green Ribbon agree that the award has brought tangible benefits to their schools and communities. We stand ready to help schools understand and complete the application, as well as get them started on greening so they might win a Green Ribbon Award someday soon." We're here to help answer your questions and provide guidance. Ready, set, apply!
Timeline for California Schools
Schools apply to their state's department of education by late December 2014 to be nominated for the Green Ribbon Schools Award (CA schools must apply online no later than 5:00 P.M. PST on December 29, 2014). State education departments then forward up to four school nominees to the U.S. Department of Education by February 1, 2015. The ultimate decisions on winners will be made by the Education Department with help from the EPA and White House Council on Environmental Quality. Winners will be announced on April 22, 2015, and awards will be given at the second Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C. in July 2015, and again at local ceremonies in Fall 2015.
Green schools are gaining momentum for good reason. According to California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, "Not only do green schools save districts money and energy and help protect the health of students and staff, but studies also show these learning spaces actually improve academic achievement. This effort goes hand in hand with a range of work underway in California to give students better places to learn."
Check the U.S. Department of Education website to see if your state is participating.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
For more information on the Green Ribbon School award, to fill out an application (available online only), and/or view the "Directions for Green Ribbon Schools"(for California schools only) PDF, please visit the CDE Website at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/sf/greenribbonprog.asp.
For the Schools of the Future initiative, please click here.
Green Ribbon Contact at CDE: Lesley Taylor