October Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the September 2020 Green Strides ...

In the News

Edison Elementary

Going for a 2021 Green Ribbon?

If your institution has not already been recognized, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) application cycle by using the 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 2021 applications, interested colleges and universities may contact state higher education authorities, while preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and districts may contact state educational agencies. Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are eligible only if nominated by a state authority. State education authorities may contact ED-GRS for more information. The deadline for states to submit nominees to ED his now March 1, 2021.

Frank Brogan at RCPS

For his first visit to a school since the pandemic, Assistant Secretary Frank Brogan was at 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee Rappahannock County Public Schools in Washington, Virginia.



Coronavirus Resources

The White House, ED, and other federal agencies are continually releasing and updating information to support schools, educators, families, and students regarding COVID-19. In addition to the links below, please visit https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus for the latest education-related information, and email questions for the Department to COVID-19@ed.gov.

There are even more resources for healthy, safe, sustainable schools, including resources specific to the pandemic, on the Green Strides School Sustainability Resource Hub.

virginia beach city schools school as a tool with tim cole

Scholarships Available to Disadvantaged-Serving Schools for Using the Building as A Teaching Tool

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Building Learners program engages students in mapping the sustainability performance of their school building using real data, technology tools, and support from a local green building professional. If this type of hands-on, STEM-based program sounds like a good fit with your classroom, and your school is designated as disadvantaged by Title I, free and reduced priced lunch status, or other measure, apply by Nov. 10 to request a scholarship to offset program costs. Building Learners includes access to curriculum, training, a mentor, and an online data tracking platform. Apply here or email schools@usgbc.org for more info.

Meet the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Get to know the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in our annual Highlights Report. Below, we spotlight the work of just a few of the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools district sustainability awardees and postsecondary sustainability awardees.

Sunrise School bee keeping

Sunrise Elementary School; DeSoto, Missouri

Sunrise Elementary School participates in the Green Schools Quest, a six-month, project-based contest for Missouri schools that catalyzes student-driven sustainability projects. A 22-acre outdoor classroom allows for a variety of learning experiences in several ecosystems, including a pond, woodland, and a cultivated vegetable garden. In 2016, Sunrise installed a storm water detention basin that detains approximately 75% of the school campus runoff water. Sunrise composts fruit and vegetable scraps from the lunchroom. The state department of conservation funds outdoor field trips while the county health department provides monthly lessons on a variety of health topics. The University of Missouri Extension offers health education and cooking lessons using school garden produce. Local farmers and a master gardener offer lessons during the growing season. The Jefferson County Beekeepers Association helped install hives from which students extract honey for sale to the community. The use of water bottle refilling stations, rain barrels, tower gardens, and an aquaponics system reinforce the value of water conservation. Sunrise installed a geothermal heating/cooling system, and all of the school building now has LED lighting.

Middlebrook Middle School Cooking

Middlebrook School; Wilton, Connecticut

The foundational element of reaching Middlebrook’s environmental and sustainability goals was the development and implementation of a highly successful sixth grade Family and Consumer Science class that focuses on school gardening and in-class sustainable cooking. Middlebrook School now boasts a 3,000-square-foot garden, equipped with rain barrels and a drip irrigation system, and 600-square-foot greenhouse. The Green Team implemented a biannual Zero Waste Week. Middlebrook supports students’ physical health through its outdoor Project Adventure course featuring low- and high-ropes. A newly designed outdoor learning center provides students with an opportunity to engage in active multimodal learning.

Plant-based Tacos at Creston Elementary

Creston Elementary School; Creston, California

In 2019, Creston upgraded school buildings by adding high-efficiency technologies and energy-reducing components. The campus has very few paved areas, less than 20%. Creston students undertake three waste audits each year. Creston enlists resources from the local community college to offer students instruction from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. The school began planting fruit-bearing trees throughout the site in 2019. The campus is home to a chicken coop, above-ground food beds, two greenhouses, two compost bins, a music garden, sensory garden, and an outdoor classroom. Students sell eggs, vegetables, and fruits at their low-cost farmers market.


Green Strides Design

Take Advantage of the Ongoing Green Strides Webinar Series 

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 1,700 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 ET.)

Oct. 14, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Oct. 14, 1–2 p.m.  Discovering Clean Energy Careers (DOE)

Oct. 14, 3–4:20 p.m.  Developing University-Initiated Offsets and Using Peer Verification (AASHE)

Oct. 15, 1–2 p.m.  Tracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Portfolio Manager (EPA)

Oct. 15, 1–4 p.m.  Composting on Your Campus (CURC)

Oct. 19, 5–6 p.m.  Survival in Space (NASA)

Oct. 21, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Oct. 22, 6–7 p.m. Giant Seabass – Kings of the Kelp Forest (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Oct. 27, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Oct. 28, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Oct. 28, 2–3 p.m.  Streamline Portfolio Manager Data Entry with Web Services (EPA)

Oct. 28, 3–4 p.m.  Higher Education Institutions:  Partners in Social & Economic Community Resilience (AASHE)

Nov. 2, 3–4 p.m. What Has Happened at Hanauma Bay Without Direct Human Impact? (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Nov. 4, 3–4 p.m.  Approaches to Sustainable Development Goals-Based Curricular Pathways and Research Communities (AASHE)

Nov. 11, 3–4 p.m.  Strategies for Tackling Food Waste (AASHE)


Farm fresh food

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


… 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.

Greenbuild logo
Green wall Seattle Public Schools

EDspaces 2020

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, dealers, pre-K–12 schools, colleges and universities, and independent manufacturer representatives, exhibitors, and corporations to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services in educational facilities. This year’s conference will be a digital experience that takes place Nov. 11–13.  

College of Lake County Prairie Study

Environmental Biology students at the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, conduct a field study on the campus prairie.

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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