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 new Green Ribbon Award, which is winning some awards itself.
Setting Strong Green Standards
The federal Green Ribbon Schools program asks states to nominate up to four schools and one district 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.
Green Ribbon helps facilitate cooperation among federal agencies, state governments, and non-governmental organizations to pull together both public and private resources for schools in these tough economic times.
How to Get Your School Nominated
California schools can apply to the California Department of Education by December 27, 2013 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
NEW FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS: The California Department of Education (CDE) will recognize public schools and school 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. The first cohort of CA-GRS will be announced by Superintendent Torlakson in February 2014. 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 third year is an even bigger success than the previous two, and we encourage schools to apply. GSI Executive Director Deborah Moore says, "We are really excited about Green Ribbon because it creates for the first time ever a clear and consistent set of criteria. 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 2013 to be nominated for the Green Ribbon Schools Award (CA schools must apply online no later than 5:00 P.M. PST on December 27, 2013). State education departments then forward up to four school nominees to the U.S. Department of Education by February 1, 2014. 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, 2014, and awards will be given at the second Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C. in July 2014, and again at local ceremonies in Fall 2014.
Awards for the Green Ribbon Awards
Both the Center for Environmental Innovation and Leadership and the US Green Building Council have bestowed their own 2011 awards on the new Green Ribbon Schools program for the high standards recipients of the Award must meet -- reduced environmental impact, improved environmental health and wellness, and increased environmental literacy -- and the innovative ways in which the program inspires schools to reach these goals. Rachel Gutter, Director of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools commended the program as "the biggest thing to happen to the green schools movement."
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."
List of States participating in this year's Green Ribbon Schools
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. The Department also received intent to nominate from the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense Education Activity school districts.
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