Celebrating the 2019 ED-GRS Honorees

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the September 2019 Green Strides...

In the News

Frank Brogan Speaking

ED Honors 2019 School, District, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees in D.C.

On Sept. 25 the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees received accolades at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. for their sustainable, healthy facilities; wellness practices; and sustainability learning.  Speakers included: Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder, Senior Manager for K-12 Education of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Jenny Wiedower, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan (pictured), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chief of Staff Stuart Levenbach.  You can view video and photos from the ceremony and reception, and read the press release and the ED-GRS director’s closing remarks.  We invite you to share your #EDGRSCeremony photos and impressions with us on Twitter (EDGreenRibbon). 

Thank You Sponsors

Thank You, Sponsors!

Thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for providing a wonderful venue at the Department of Commerce and to the Center for Green Schools for generously sponsored the annual reception. Thanks also to the following partners who hosted activities: the National Park Service, American University's Office of Sustainability, ED's Office of Non-Public Education, and its special events team.  Finally, ED offers its sincerest appreciation to state education agency personnel who spearhead award selection in each state.

Oak Harbor Tree Study

Join Us on the 2019 Green Strides Tour in Washington

ED-GRS and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoor physical activity; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, ED conducts an annual tour to spotlight the work of past and present honorees, and to bring more attention to their practices.  This year’s tour will take place in the state of Washington Oct. 28–30, with the theme “Whole Child, Whole School Sustainability.”  See the full schedule and register to attend.   >>>>

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

Going for a 2020 Green Ribbon?

Now is a great time to prepare for the 2020 ED-GRS application cycle by using resources and programs available on Green Strides.  Read some common misconceptions about the award dispelled in a blog, and review frequently asked questions about all three award categories.  

For 2020 applications, interested colleges and universities may contact state higher education authorities, while preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and districts may contact state education agencies.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are eligible only if nominated by state authorities.  State education authorities may contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.  

Get to Know the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Get to know the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in our annual Highlights Report.  Below, we spotlight just a few of the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

Davenport Community School District, Davenport, Iowa

Davenport IA regionally sourced gym floors

The wood for these Davenport Community School District gym floors came from a processing mill in Merrill, Wisconsin; maple trees used for the floors came from Wisconsin and Michigan. Sourcing wood regionally cuts transportation distance, and, therefore, emissions.

Davenport Community School District has offered recycling in all school buildings since 1998. It began offering share tables in 2017. The district has saved over $8,000 in just three years by reducing use of disposable trays in cafeterias.  Fourteen Davenport schools have geothermal systems.  An intermediate school was renovated with energy efficient upgrades and repurposed to provide a collaborative learning space for community organizations.  The center’s commercial kitchen is available to the community for cooking classes. In 2015, the district began offering every student a Chromebook or tablet for use during their learning career. With over 25,000 devices in use across the district, a significant reduction in paper use has taken place.  There are 10 outdoor classrooms, five school gardens, two greenhouses and several additional projects in which schools have created a hands-on learning experience for their students.  In all Davenport middle schools, science classes are required to participate in an environmental project during the spring term.

Calvert County Public Schools, Prince Frederick, Maryland

Calvert County Public Schools students prepare to rake for submerged aquatic vegetation on Cocktown Creek.

Calvert County Public Schools seventh grade students prepare to rake for submerged aquatic vegetation on Cocktown Creek.

All 24 K–12 schools and one technical academy in Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) are certified Maryland Green Schools, making Calvert the only county in the state to have 100 percent of its schools certified in this state program. Most schools also participate in another green school certification program, such as National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA.  Environmental education began at CCPS over 25 years ago as a single-grade-level program collaboration between the local department of natural resources and the school district. This collaboration has grown into the districtwide environmental education program through which students in kindergarten, first, second, third, fifth, seventh, and eighth grades engage in field experiences connected with their class-based science curriculum.  Students in fifth and seventh grades also engage in a meaningful watershed educational experience.  In this way, each year about 10,000  students take part in CHESPAX, the district’s environmental education program.  The Chesapeake Bay, the Patuxent River, and other natural settings serve as living laboratories for students to use their science content and process skills to learn to make responsible decisions regarding the natural environment.

Abbotts Creek Elementary School, Raleigh, North Carolina

ACES Monarch Waystation

Students in K–5 at Abbotts Creek Elementary School collect data through various citizen science projects covering topics such as rainfall, butterflies, tomatoes, and air and water quality analysis.

Abbotts Creek Elementary School (ACES) opened in the fall of 2015 adjacent to a landfill. This unique location has given ACES the ability to connect students authentically to sustainability, environmental issues, and being active stakeholders in reducing our environmental impact in the community. The Environmental Research and Education Foundation partnered with ACES to perform a waste stream analysis and develop a waste reduction plan. The first phase of the plan focused on reducing waste and on educating students about appropriate food portion sizes. The second phase included having the Parent Green Team initiate a small-scale food waste diversion and enhanced recycling program. The science special curriculum at ACES has been developed with an environmental literacy and green STEM focus. Each of the 866 students keeps a science notebook.   

Resources and Opportunities

Austin ISD Sustainability Plan

Spotlight on a Green Strides Resource:  Austin Independent School District Sustainability Plan

There's a wealth of new resources available on Green Strides, including sample school and district plans, policies, and even job descriptions, that your school or district can use as a template as you get started on or continue your sustainability journey.  Check out Austin Independent School District's Sustainability Plan and create one for your district today.

Future City Logo

Future City Competition

Future City is a project-based learning program where sixth- through eighth-grade students image, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. The 2019–2020 theme is “Clean Water: Tap into Tomorrow.” Teams will choose a threat to their city’s water supply and design a resilient system to maintain a reliable supply of clean drinking water.  Registration for the 2019–20 competition closes on October 31. 


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues This Fall

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, publicly available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov. (Note: All times listed are EDT.)

Oct. 1, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Oct. 2, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager — Ask the Expert (EPA)

Oct. 2, 3–4:20 p.m.  Off-Campus Move Outs — Moving in the Right Direction — Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Oct. 2, 5–6 p.m.  Project Based Learning — Climate Change and Ecosystems (NASA)

Oct. 3, 1–2 p.m.  How Effective Cleaning and Maintenance Can Improve Health Outcomes in Your School (EPA)

Oct. 8, 6–7 p.m.  The First Intelligent Web Application for Marine Spatial Analysis of the Entire U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Oct. 9., 3–4 p.m.  Managing Behavior Change: Moving Past Barriers (AASHE)

Oct. 10, 1–2 p.m.  The Return on Investment of Green Cleaning in Schools (EPA)

Oct. 15, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Oct. 15, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Teaching with Your School Building (U.S. Green Building Council)

Oct. 16, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Oct. 16, 3–4:20 p.m.  Getting the Most Out of the 2019 AASHE Conference & Expo (AASHE)

Oct. 17, 1–2 p.m.  Success Stories on Holding ENERGY STAR Competitions (EPA)

Oct. 17, 1–2 p.m.  Effective Cleaning and Preventive Maintenance for a Healthier School Environment (EPA)

Oct. 22, 1–1:45 p.m.  How to Apply for the ENERGY STAR for U.S. Buildings (EPA)

Oct. 22, 3–4 p.m.  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Small and Rural K-12 Schools (Department of Energy)

Oct. 23, 1–2 p.m.  Minimizing Water Use in Mechanical/ HVAC Systems (EPA)


state college garden carrots

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 way 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. 

AASHE logo

…And Also Campus Sustainability Month

Campus Sustainability Month 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.  

ED Spaces 2019

EDspaces 2019 Oct. 23–25

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, dealers, pre-K–12 schools, colleges and universities, independent manufacturers’ representatives, exhibitors, and corporations to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning. This year’s conference will be held Oct. 23–25 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

AASHE 2019 Conference Slider

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2019 Conference Is Oct. 27–30

The 2019 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference is Oct. 27–30 in Spokane, Washington.  It is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations, and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities. With a theme of “Co-Creating a Sustainable Economy,” this year's conference seeks to showcase and strengthen higher education’s contributions to the movement for a sustainable economy.

outdoor classroom

Outdoor Classroom Day Is Nov. 7

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On this day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritize playtime. This year, Outdoor Classroom Day will be held on Nov. 7. To participate, visit the website, sign up, and check out the online resources for activities, lesson ideas, and materials to inspire your Outdoor Classroom Day.

Safe Routes to School Logo

Safe Routes to School  Conference Nov. 12–14

The 2019 Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown from Nov. 12–14. Join hundreds of active transportation and public health advocates and practitioners from across the country for valuable networking, sharing best practices, and exploring one of Florida’s most vibrant and active cities. 

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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