ED-GRS Visits Pennsylvania for Some ‘Real-World Learning’

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

ED-GRS Visits Pennsylvania for Some ‘Real-World Learning’

Broughal MS
Broughal Middle School educator Ms. Sobrinski shares her classes’ avocado tree growing project with Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and ED-GRS Director Andrea Falken.

ED-GRS Visits Pennsylvania for Some ‘Real-World Learning’

In its eighteenth state of the Green Strides tour, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) visited eleven past honorees, including seven school and three district sites, along with one postsecondary institution site in Pennsylvania. True to the aims of the Green Strides Tour, it brought more attention to honorees’ practices and celebrated their sustainability achievements, alongside communities, partners, and elected officials.  Hear more about this year’s tour in this blog from the Director.  >>>>

Take a trip down 2014 and 2013 Green Strides Tour memory lane with blogs from West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida (1 and 2), Colorado (1 and 2), Minnesota (1 and 2), Maryland, New England, New York and New Jersey, California, Oregon and Washington, Wisconsin, AlabamaIt’s also not too late to share tour photos and impressions with us on Twitter (EDGreenRibbon) and Facebook (EDGreenRibbonSchools) using hashtag #GreenStridesTour.

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Executive Director of Green Schools National Network Shares Vision for Schools

In this TEDx Herndon, Executive Director of the Green Schools National Network Jenny Seydel shares her vision for green schools, according to the three Pillars we know and love, and highlights innovative examples, including numerous past ED-GRS honorees!  >>>>


More Green Schools Research Hits the Shelves!

A new book entitled Leadership for Green Schools provides educational leaders, teachers, facility professionals, and community partners the tools they need to lead and manage greener, more sustainable schools.  Authors Lisa A.W. Kensler and Cynthia L. Uline draw from the fields of sustainability science, built learning environment, and educational leadership to explain what green schools look like, what role school buildings play in advancing sustainable organizational and instructional practices, and why school leaders are "greening" their leadership. The book uses real life examples of successful schools and leaders, demonstrating how green schools advance the work already underway to restore engaged learning within our schools and communities. >>>>

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Green Schools Alliance Launches Interactive Online Community

The new Green Schools Alliance website includes an interactive member community designed to make it easier for you and your fellow school sustainability champions to connect with others, find green resources, and save money.  It features blogs, forums, calendar, resources, and membership interaction. >>>>

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Children and Nature Network Launches New Green Schoolyards Initiative

To launch its green schoolyards initiative, the Children and Nature Network has published four research infographics on the benefits of green schoolyards  and a full report of the findings from the recent 16-city listening tour: Building a National Movement for Green Schoolyards. >>>>

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State Authorities Seek Nominees for 2016-2017 ED-GRS Award Cycle

For 2016-2017, states are now seeking school, district, and postsecondary applicants to nominate by Feb. 1, 2017 to ED-GRS.  Applicants can find state-specific contacts here.  State education authorities should contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information and can find updated criteria and other state implementation guidance on our website.


Meet the 2016 Honorees

Want to make some sustainable improvements on your school this year? Take inspiration from the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees and learn more about their work on Green Strides.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) has completed eight LEED buildings ranging from basic certification to Platinum, with more LEED projects under construction and in the design phase.  It also has 31 ENERGY STAR buildings.  Since November 2008, VBCPS has spent $14 million in performance contract work, resulting in $1.8 million in cost avoidance each year.  Since 2006, VBCPS has increased in size by approximately nine percent to over 10.6 million square feet, and yet still has reduced energy use by 24 percent.  VBCPS has a full-time energy manager and an energy management plan.  Many schools offer garden composting and a few have piloted whole-school composting.  The division is home to several demonstration renewables that serve as learning tools, specifically wind turbines, solar hot water systems, and photovoltaics.  All elementary schools are irrigation-free.  Each school appoints a sustainable school liaison.  VBCPS has 64 schools with outdoor teaching gardens, 72 schools with environmental clubs, and over 60 schools that partner with third-party environmental organizations.  Participation in various programs and initiatives are promoted through the district’s own Sustainable School Recognition Award.  Sustainability education includes meaningful watershed experiences -- funded in part by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; student participation in an Urban Tree Canopy project; and LEED design as part of the middle school curriculum.  The district offers an annual sustainability course as professional development for all VBCPS employees, as well as other more specific quarterly options.  VBCPS also expects all architects, engineers, and consultants working on building projects to provide an educational component to their work. >>>>

VB VA Kellam
Students at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach City Public Schools District participate in a beekeeping club.

Triton Regional High School, Camden, N.J.

Triton Regional High School, constructed in 1957, received EPA ENERGY STAR certification with a score of 83.  The school produces 45 percent of its energy onsite with roof-mounted solar arrays.  Triton maintains two functioning greenhouses that are used to nurture plants from seeds to supply the organic garden housed at another school in the district, which is maintained by the green team, AP Environmental Studies classes, and Horticulture classes.  Triton has discontinued the use of chemicals used to strip flooring, improved indoor air quality by installing filters in HVAC systems, and improved recycling and composting behaviors with the help of Organic Diversion, a company that mentors students and staff on how to collect materials, reports on collection quantities, and strategizes to improve composting and recycling efforts.  Students have taken part in the Thirst Project, which collects money to establish freshwater wells in historically malnourished areas of Africa.  The AP Environmental Science class created environmentally-sound solutions for unused land in the community, and presented them to the town council for consideration.  Horticulture students learn how to propagate lemon geranium from cuttings, which then are used as a natural pesticide.  Nutrition and culinary and hospitality courses discuss nutritional concepts, food contamination, and organic foods.  Marine culminates the course by studying human effect on the oceans, and sustainable ways to interact with the ocean’s resources.  Students compete in Envirothon, as well as the Sea Perch competition, whereby students develop a submarine that can simulate a Navy mission.  >>>>

Triton Regional HS NJ
Over the course of the last four school years, Triton Regional High School has reduced waste and enhanced sustainability learning through a proactive approach to conservation, recycling, and education.

Prescott Elementary School, Lincoln, Neb.

Prescott Elementary, constructed in 1922, was renovated with LEED Silver specifications as a guide, and has an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager score of 83.  The school has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 29 percent and energy use 23 percent over just three years, and features ground source heat pumps.  To date, Prescott has diverted over 261,000 pounds of recyclables from the landfill.  The school oversees safe walk and bike to school programs, including a walking school bus effort.  Prescott was a 2013 HealthierUS Schools Challenge awardee, and offers both cooking and gardening clubs.  Its wellness committee meets monthly, and the school uses Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools.  In October 2015, Prescott hosted a districtwide farm to school summit, inviting district staff and community members to learn more about the farm to school movement and to explore opportunities for engaging students in outdoor classrooms and garden spaces.  Prescott students experience instructional units in plants, seasons, animals and habitats, soil, prairie, ecosystems, and water and wetlands.  Prescott families, staff, and community have collaborated to build and provide a Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom on Prescott Park.  >>>>

Prescott Elem NE
Prescott Elementary includes a walking path, rain garden, bridge, weather station, raised vegetable beds, designated learning areas, an arbor, stage, gazebo, and fossil dig area.

Resources and Opportunities

Green Strides Design


The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues All Fall

The Green Strides Webinar Series promotes sessions that provide free tools to reduce schools' environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education.  Consult the webinar calendar and submit suggestions of free webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov for listing.

Oct. 11, 2016, 4:00-5:00 pm  Parent Advocacy:  School Food Change (CAF)

Oct. 11, 2016, 5:00-6:00 pm   NASA Literacy Resources in Earth Science (NASA)

Oct. 12, 2016, 4:00-4:30 pm  Portfolio Manager - Ask The Expert (EPA)

Oct. 12, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm – Atmosphere (NASA)

Oct. 17, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm – Space Weather (NASA)

Oct. 18, 2016, 6:00-7:00 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm – Snow? (NASA)

Oct. 19, 2016, 4:00-4:30 pm  Portfolio Manager - Ask The Expert (EPA)

Oct. 19, 2016, 5:00-6:00 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm –Hurricanes (NASA)

Oct. 20, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  How to Apply for the ENERGY STAR (EPA)

Oct. 20, 2016, 1:00-2:30 pm  Campus Food Recovery Programs (CURC)

Oct. 20, 2016, 1:00-2:30 pm   Funding to Address and Prevent IAQ Issues (EPA)

Oct. 24, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm—Weather to Fly By (NASA)

Oct. 25, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Oct. 25, 2016, 5:00-6:00 pm  NASA Weathering the Storm – Hurricanes (NASA)

Oct. 25, 2016, 7:30-8:30 pm  Biomimicry:  Innovation for Today’s Students (Green Teacher)

Oct. 26, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Oct. 26, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Weathering the Storm –Meteorology Educator Guide (NASA)

Oct. 27, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Oct. 31, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Cosmology 101 (NASA)


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October is National Farm to School Month…

National Farm to School Month was designated by Congress to symbolize the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.  The National Farm to School Network has developed resources and activities to promote Farm to School Month in schools, communities, and media outlets. >>>>

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…And Also Campus Sustainability Month

Campus Sustainability Month (CSM) is a celebration of sustainability in higher education.  During October, colleges and universities organize events on campus and elsewhere to engage and inspire incoming students and other campus stakeholders to become sustainability change agents.  Events include teach ins, sustainability pledge-drives, zero energy concerts, waste audits, green sporting events, letter writing campaigns, and service projects.  >>>>


EDSpaces is Nov. 2-4 in Cincinnati, OH

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, facility planners, designers, administrators and dealers to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning.  >>>>

Connect with Green Strides

Green Strides: Resources for School Facilities, Health, and Environment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Facebook: @EDGreenRibbonSchools
Twitter: @EDGreenRibbon

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SD of Jenkintown PA
Toddler Green Ribbon kid tests (and approves!) the truck park at Jenkintown School District while on the Green Strides Tour in Pennsylvania.