January Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the January 2019 Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

States Nominate for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools by Feb. 15

States can submit school, district, and postsecondary institution nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) between now and Feb. 15.  After a federal review, ED will announce the 2019 selectees in May, notifying honorees via email.  Honored institutions will be invited to send up to five representatives to a fall recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

For institutions that have not already been honored (this is a one-time award), now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2020 application cycle by using resources and programs on Green Strides and contacting your state education authority. For future cycles, interested colleges and universities should contact their state higher education authorities, while schools and districts should contact their state education agencies.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are only eligible if nominated by state authorities.  State education authorities can find award criteria and other state implementation guidance on the ED website and should contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.  >>>>

Penny Taylor 2018 Director's Award Recipient

The 2019 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 1

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).  Annually, the Award goes to the state education official who does the most to advance sustainable education in his or her state. If you wish to nominate a state education official, please send your nomination letter to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov by March 1.  Any state education official who is involved in implementing the ED-GRS award and who has not already won the Director’s Award is eligible for nomination.  Read about the work of past ED-GRS Director’s Award recipients. >>>>

Green Strides Design

Consult the Improved Green Strides Website

Launched in 2015, with the generous collaboration of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Strides is ED’s portal for sustainable school resources. The main feature of the site, the Green Strides sustainable resource library, features a comprehensive collection of national and state-specific green school programs, as well as tools and best practice resources. The resource library has recently been updated with even more case studies, toolkits, reports, operational policies, and program opportunities that your school or district may wish to reference in its greening efforts. The site also features a map of all the ED-GRS honorees and a webinar calendar.  Check out the updated site here.  >>>>

Meet the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

This spring, we'll be announcing the 2019 honorees.  In every Green Strides edition until then, continue to learn from the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  View the honorees and read about their work on the Green Strides website and on the ED awards page.  Three of the honorees are spotlighted below.  

MacKintosh Biking

Mackintosh parents and kids enjoy the ride on “Bike or Walk to School Day,” an annual event to raise awareness of alternative transportation to school.

Mackintosh Academy, Littleton, Colorado

In May 2015, six students at Mackintosh Academy Littleton (MAL) turned on solar panels on all three campus buildings.  The year before, as part of their International Baccalaureate exhibition project, these students won a $96,000 grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to bring solar power to MAL.  Installing solar panels has saved the school money, brought about a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint, and provided MAL with seed money to establish a tuition assistance fund, which now supports four students.  MAL was awarded the President's Environmental Youth Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as two grants from the Colorado Garden Foundation, for researching and planting native plants and installing a hydroponic system in the greenhouse. The school has robust single stream and glass recycling programs and a water bottle filling station.  The school introduced energy-efficient windows, insulation, solar tubes, venting skylights, and motion-activated LED lighting, and makes use of environmentally safe cleaners.  Students cast shadows along the water at the school’s popular solar-powered fountain while enjoying lunch and recess outside.  Middle school students do guided movement before classes, and all students can walk the student-designed meditation path.  Mackintosh supports environmental education with a series of speakers on environmental topics, as well as courses such as How We Share the Planet.  Students use repurposed materials to create designs for energy-saving devices, and they annually analyze solar data.  The school has adopted a nearby park, which students take responsibility for keeping clean.  >>>>

SLUH Weather Balloon

The St. Louis University High School Advanced Placement environmental science teacher and students work to launch the school’s fourth weather balloon, which has been recorded at a speed of 161 miles an hour and altitude of 16.8 miles.

St. Louis University High School, St. Louis, Missouri

Sustainability efforts at St. Louis University High School (SLUHS) are led by a sustainability board, consisting of members of the school administration, corporate leadership team, finance office, maintenance and faculty leadership, science faculty, student sustainability club and garden director. Under this leadership, the school has transitioned to LED lighting, and has added occupancy sensors, faucet aerators, reflective roofing, and insulation. In addition, SLUHS has nearly doubled the amount of landscaped area featuring native, drought resistant plantings.  SLUHS has made progress in protecting students and faculty from airborne chemicals in labs and storage facilities.  It offers yoga and provides free health screenings.  SLUHS ran a sustainability curriculum institute for faculty to design and launch cross-curricular initiatives.  One result was a new required human geography course in social studies, focused on sustainability and deepening coordination with freshman biology.  The school has offered Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science for over 10 years, with 12 percent of graduating students participating, and all of them scoring a three or above on the AP exam.  In addition, many subject assignments explicitly incorporate environmental and sustainability topics such as the environmental impact of mountaintop removal, invasive species, coral bleaching, and alternative energy development.  >>>>

Lanier High Students at Elachee Nature Center

Every year Elachee Nature Center offers students at Lanier High School stream ecology. Lanier students are immersed in project-based learning through real-world STEM activities.

Lanier High School, Sugar Highway, Georgia

Lanier High School is ENERGY STAR certified with a score of 99.  Upgrades include occupancy sensors and lighting retrofits in all classrooms.  Lanier irrigates its athletic fields with reclaimed stormwater and well water.  All landscaping is regionally appropriate and does not require irrigation.  A group of students visits a wastewater treatment plant annually to learn about maintaining healthy drinking water.  Students are involved in hands-on monitoring of a local stream.  Lanier students repurpose water bottles into floral works of art, which are then delivered to cancer patients in local hospitals. Lanier High School has partnered with a textile recycling company to help reduce the volume of textiles being sent to landfill and was the first school in its county to have six designated parking spaces for teachers and students who carpool.  Since 2010, Lanier has partnered with The Clean Air Campaign to implement no idling and ride-the-bus campaigns.  Daily detailing and vacuuming of the facility by custodians removes potential allergens.  The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program actively addresses any emerging infestations.  Humidity is controlled by HVAC systems, and is kept below the 65 percent level necessary for dust mites to thrive.  Cafeteria staff members visit classrooms to teach students about proper nutrition and provide taste tests for locally grown foods.  With grant funding, the school installed a fully functioning outdoor living classroom, which includes garden beds, a butterfly garden, a compost bin, rain barrels, birdhouses, bird feeders, and a bat house.  >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Winter


The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 1,000 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 for listing additional free, publically available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov. (Note: All times listed are EST.)

Jan. 23, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager — Ask the Expert (EPA)

Jan. 23, 2–3 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Jan. 23, 5–6 p.m.  Explore Flight with Elementary STEM Science and Literacy Connections (NASA)

Jan. 30, 1–1:30 p.m.  Best Practices for Benchmarking your Building (EPA)

Jan. 31, 2–3 p.m.  Investing in Health: Local Active Transportation Financing Initiatives (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

Feb. 5, 6–7 p.m.  Home Front Hawai`i:  a Naval Legacy Beneath the Sea (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Feb. 7, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Virtual Field Trip:  Shalise’s Ocean Support (EarthEcho International)

Feb. 7, 1–2 p.m.  Farm to Early Care and Education in Family Child Care (National Farm to School Network)

Feb. 13, 2:15–4:15 p.m.  Ohio Education Technology Conference (NASA)

Feb. 13, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Using Progressive Skits to Teach Food Chains (Green Teacher)



Green Schools Conference & Expo Registration Continues

The 2019 Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE) will be held on April 8‑9 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is colocated with IMPACT, USGBC's (U.S. Green Building Council) regional Midwest sustainability conference.  GSCE is the only national event to bring together all of the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools.  Attendees engage in hands-on learning, participate in in-depth discussions and problem solving, and get inspired by speakers at the forefront of connecting sustainability, social justice, and education.  Green Schools National Network members receive early-bird pricing regardless of when they register. >>>>

Children and Nature Logo

Children and Nature Network 2019 International Conference Registration Continues

Join the Children and Nature Network for the largest gathering of children and nature advocates in the world, May 16–18 in Oakland, California. From inspiring keynotes to hands-on workshops, this biennial conference will inspire and equip you with best practices for increasing equitable access to nature for the children, families, and communities you serve.  >>>>

AIS Rotunda

Students at Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies Elementary Magnet School look down from their building's rotunda.

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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