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In September, Secretary Arne Duncan announced the Green Ribbon Schools program, which honors schools for reducing environmental impact, promoting health and wellness, and providing effective environmental education. In seeking to identify and celebrate schools’ achievement in these areas, the recognition award has also encouraged state agencies to work together on behalf of schools in new ways.
Notably, the program is helping to break down one of the chief obstacles to schools providing environmental education in sustainable, healthy spaces. It does this by creating an opportunity for federal and state governments and non-governmental entities to work together, bringing more private and public resources to support schools, in spite of tough economic times.
Frequently Asked Question:
Where is the application for my school to apply for the Green Ribbon School recognition award? Should I request it from the U.S. Department of Education?
Public and private schools apply to state education agencies for their Green Ribbon Schools nomination to USED and cannot apply directly to USED. In most cases, states are still developing their applications and will have those available shortly on agency websites. There is no need to request an application from USED, but schools may wish to contact their state education agency.
In its pilot year, Green Ribbon has received notification of intent to nominate schools from 34 state departments of education, many of those committing at the urging of their school communities. These schools have indicated to their state authorities, USED and the nation that they want consideration for environmental impact, health and education in their schools.
States from which USED has NOT received confirmation of plans to nominate schools are fewer each day: Alaska - Connecticut - Idaho - Indiana - Maine - Massachusetts - Montana - Nevada - New Hampshire - New Mexico - Oklahoma - South Carolina - Tennessee - Texas - Vermont – Wyoming.
Remember: Schools in these states will not be eligible for the Green Ribbon award unless their state decides to nominate schools before the spring nominee submission deadline.
Timeline for Pilot Year of Green Ribbon Schools
Nov: State departments of education are encouraged to notify USED of their plans to nominate schools by Nov 22nd but USED will extend this guideline on a case by case basis with state departments of education.
Nov-Dec: States issue their processes and support materials for soliciting and selecting nominees for submission to ED.
Dec- Mar: States receive applications for nomination to USED (Exact deadline set by each state nominating authority)
March: States submit nominees to ED for the Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. (Date to be indicated to states by USED)
April: Earth Day Week – USED announces winners.
May: USED hosts national recognition award ceremony. Local ceremonies are scheduled for fall 2012 at winning schools.