Green Strides Best Practices Tour Rolls Though Florida and Colorado

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

Green Strides Best Practices Tour Rolls Though Florida and Colorado

After a strong start in West Virginia and Kentucky during the month of August, this year’s Green Strides Best Practices Tour, under the theme ‘Healthy Schools, High-Achieving Students,’ caught the last of the summer sunshine in Florida and Colorado.


From West Palm Beach, FL: Warm, Sunny, Healthy, and Here to Stay

Over 80 visitors were welcomed by the district’s superintendent, who shared their commitment to building and maintaining green and healthy schools to foster high-achieving students. Visitors were treated to a choral presentation of “We’re Goin’ Green,” underscoring that all schools have an opportunity to conserve resources, improve efficiency, ensure health and wellness, and deliver inspiring environmental curriculum. They were offered a unique view of how Palm Beach County is helping to grow Florida’s green generation through local collaboration and district-wide programming. Tours highlighted all facets of the districts’ green schools, from pesticide-free gardens, outdoor creative learning centers, and sustainability curriculum, to state-of-the-art LEED Gold and Platinum buildings at Pine Jog and Galaxy Elementary. Learn more about the Palm Beach portion of the Florida tour by reading a blog and by viewing the photo slideshow. Also catch the tour in the Sun-Sentinel. >>>>


From Broward, FL: Preserving the Planet through Partnerships

Shifting the culture of Broward schools through strong partnerships was one theme of the Broward portion of the Green Strides Best Practices tour in south Florida on Sept. 5, which took visitors to Silver Ridge Elementary School and Driftwood Middle School. Within the school system, partners and priorities include transportation, facilities and construction, environmental conservation and utility management, information and technology, health and wellness, food and nutrition services and curriculum integration district offices. External partners, including state, county and local municipalities and businesses, such as Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, were also featured along the tour. Learn more about what visitors saw by reading the ED blog and by viewing this picture stream. Also catch the tour in a White House blog. >>>>


From Colorado: Blue Skies and Sustainable Cultures

After Florida, the tour headed out west to Colorado, visiting schools in Denver, Castle Rock, Larkspur, Boulder and Fort Collins. At Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School, visitors learned how students are provided an authentic, engaging learning environment that reflects the civic responsibilities they will face in the real world. At Wellington Middle School, visitors listened to how the school’s Eco-Club keeps the school focused on saving energy, recycling, and tracking the school’s wind turbine energy data. At Lesher Middle School, visitors heard how Bike-to-School Week brings 40 percent of students and staff together to log 4,000 miles. Students at all three learn to identify how their actions influence our interconnected world, maximizing learning with collaborative green building practices and conservation behaviors.  They discover that student success is a product of a healthy school environment. Find out more by reading the blog and viewing this photo album. Also catch the tour in 9news and the Daily Camera. >>>>


And look for more chronicles of the 2014 tour in Colorado, Minnesota, and Maryland in the next edition of Green Strides!

Arne painting

Green Apple Day of Service

The third annual Green Apple Day of Service, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, brought together hundreds of thousands of volunteers participating in more than 3,760 service projects in all 50 states and in 42 countries throughout the world.  An initiative of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Day of Service brings together students, teachers, parents, elected officials, organizations, companies and others to transform their schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places. This year’s Day of Service featured a flagship event in Washington, D.C. where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his family joined more than one hundred volunteers at Tubman Elementary School for gardening, painting and several sustainability education activities for students and their families. Watch the Secretary's video message about green schools. >>>>


U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) Applications Are Open Competitions vary by state, but most participating states have posted applications for schools, districts and postsecondary institutions with deadlines to submit to them in the winter. State authorities’ school, district and postsecondary nominations are due to ED by February 1, 2015. Interested PK-12 schools and districts should contact their state education agencies about the school and district award applications.

For the first time, in addition to a total of five school and district nominees, each state may nominate one postsecondary institution for exemplary achievement in all three Pillars. Interested colleges and universities should contact their state higher education authorities for information on how to apply. The award is entirely voluntary. Hearing from interested schools, districts, colleges and universities may be helpful to P-12 and postsecondary state authorities considering 2014-2015 participation. State education authorities can contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information. They can find updated criteria and other state implementation guidance on our website. Have doubts about ED-GRS? Some Frequently Asked Questions on all three award categories are available here. >>>>


Upcoming Events

The Final Leg of the 2014 Green Strides Best Practices Tour is Oct. 8th in Maryland

9:30 –10:30 a.m. Folger McKinsey Elementary School, 175 Arundel Beach Road, Severna Park

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Dunloggin Middle School, 9129 Northfield Rd, Ellicott City

1:00 2:15 p.m. Listening session, Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia

3:00 –4:00 p.m. Francis Scott Key Middle School, 910 Schindler Drive, Silver Spring

The tour is open to the public and press.

Global Forum for Business

The Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit is Oct. 15-17

The 2014 Flourish & Prosper: Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit will bring together leading business executives, management scholars, civil society leaders and government policy makers from around the world to identify and to leverage new solutions that have the potential to change the nature of 21st century society. The format and content will encircle the globe, with delegates coming from around the world to attend the Forum with additional participants attending virtually.>>>>


Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is in New Orleans, LA, Oct. 22-24

The music of the green movement is undeniable – its lyrics are engaging individuals across the world, its innovation is reviving our spirit and its passion is fueling the future. These unique ideas are improvising a melody that is leading a successful transformation of buildings and communities. For this reason, the Big Easy is the perfect setting to celebrate this global impact, while also embracing the essence of community, culture and soul. In 2013, USGBC turned 20, and invites attendees to join in building momentum for the next 20 years.>>>>


Children’s Environmental Health Network Conference- Children: Food and Environment

The Children’s Environmental Health Network, a non-profit whose mission is to protect children from environmental health hazards and promote a healthier environment, will convene for the organization’s upcoming research conference February 4-6, 2015 in Austin, Texas.  The theme for the conference is “Children: Food and Environment” and the focus is on how the interaction between food and environmental factors affect children’s health. >>>>


The 5th Annual Green Schools National Conference is March 4-7th in Virginia Beach

The annual Green Schools National Conference, the only national conference bringing together experts and stakeholders to influence sustainability in K-12 schools and districts, is designed to allow attendees to learn about creative strategies for success and to take home real-life tools that can transform schools.  Early bird registration continues until December 15. >>>


Resources, Contests and Grants

ED’s Green Strides Webinar Series continues with the tools to ALL schools can use to reduce costs; improve health; and teach effective environmental education. Find sessions for educators, facilities managers, and advocates weekly. 

Oct. 8, 2014, 12–1 p.m.      Simple Steps to Finding Energy Savings (EPA)

Oct. 14, 2014, 7–8, p.m.     Earth System Science Series: Weather vs Climate (NASA)

Oct. 21, 2014, 23:15 p.m.    Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades (EPA)

Oct. 21, 2014, 23:30 p.m.    Basics of School Integrated Pest Management (EPA)

Oct. 21, 2014, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  K-2 NASA Education Series: Literacy Components (NASA)

Oct. 22, 2014, 11a.m.–12 p.m.    Earth System Science Series: Remote Sensing (NASA)

Nov. 11, 2014, 7–8:30 p.m.  Eco-Schools USA Dashboard (NWF)

Dec. 2, 2014, 23:30 p.m.     ENERGY STAR and Green Building Rating Systems  (EPA)


American Institute of Architects Announces a Design & Health Research Consortium

The AIA Foundation, along with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), has launched the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium to help fund basic research into the influence design has on public health. The AIA Foundation has set a deadline of October 15 for qualification proposals from interested academic institutions. Selection of the schools will be made by late-November. >>>


Media-Smart Youth Teen Leaders Program Calls for Applications

The National Institutes of Health is accepting applications for its Media-Smart Youth (MSY) Teen Leaders Program, designed for young adults ages 15 to 20. MSY is an interactive education program designed to teach youth ages 11 to 13 how media can influence their health with 10 lessons that explore media, nutrition, and physical activity, and concludes with a capstone project. In return, participants receive leadership experience, community service hours, and recognition from the NIH, plus training and $1,000 for program expenses. Applications are due October 24, 2014. >>>>


Promise Zones Designation Competition

The Promise Zones initiative seeks to revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by creating jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, reducing serious and violent crime, leveraging private capital, and assisting local leaders in navigating federal programs. All communities can apply that meet the eligibility criteria, and demonstrate high need, local commitment and a compelling strategy. No grant funds come with this designation; however, designated Promise Zones will receive preferences for certain competitive federal programs and technical assistance. Applications are due November 21, 2014. >>>>


The UN Environment Programme Launches the Think.Eat.Save Student Challenge

Food waste is a massive global problem that has negative humanitarian, environmental and financial implications and schools are a part of this story. The United Nations Environment Programme Think.Eat.Save Student Challenge encourages students to find out how much food is wasted in their school cafeterias; take action by launching a team project that will prevent or reduce food waste; raise awareness among students and teachers to stop wasting food; and spread the word on social media networks. Students are eligible to start a wasteless revolution in their schools and win thousands of dollars, reducing schools’ waste handling costs, while also doing something positive for the planet. >>>>


EPA Funding Supports Urban Waterways

This summer, the EPA awarded a total of $2.1 million to 37 organizations in 17 states and Puerto Rico to help protect and restore urban waters, improve water quality, and support community revitalization. The EPA grants ranged from $40,000 to $60,000 for projects taking place in areas that align with the 18 designated Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. All funded projects work to advance environmental justice in communities and focus on one of the following three categories: community greening and green infrastructure, communities and water quality data, and integration of water quality and community development in planning. >>>


Spotlight on a Resource: NASA Earth and Space Science for Educators

NASA Wavelength is an online science resource for educators of all levels – from elementary to college to out-of-school time – that helps bring Earth, the solar system, and the universe into schools, science centers, museums, and homes. This digital collection features over 2,000 educational resources that span the extent of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). These tools and activities allow students and teachers to learn about and participate in NASA missions and education programs, multi-media, exhibits and planetarium shows, and more. >>>>




Solar in Schools Increases 110 Percent in Six Years
America’s K-12 schools have shown explosive growth in their use of solar energy over the last decade.  Between 2008 and 2012 alone, solar installations on U.S. schools experienced a compound annual growth rate of 110 percent, soaring from 303 kilowatts (kW) of installed capacity to 457,000 kW, while reducing carbon emissions by 442,799 metric tons annually. Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools was prepared by The Solar Foundation (TSF) with data and analysis support from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Solar Foundation’s report is the first nationwide assessment of how solar energy helps to power schools in communities across America.  Read more about the presence of solar in U.S. schools here>>>>

Boulder Valley

Boulder Valley School District, a 2014 ED-GRS District Sustainability Awardee, has solar installed on 29 of its 55 school buildings.