The nation's Blue Ribbon Schools award program now has an environmentally-friendly counterpart. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the final plans for a program that will encourage schools and communities to commit to healthier, more sustainable facilities and to provide environmental awareness education to their students.
Developed jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council for Environmental Quality, the program would identify and praise schools for reducing environmental impact of schools, building a healthy environment for staff and students, and have an education component that supports those goals.
According to the Department of Education, a broad range of stakeholders have been consulted to create a program that would:
— Implement energy conservation measures that pave the way for reduced environmental impact, cost savings and job creation;
— Undertake environmental and behavioral changes in schools that ensure the health, wellness and productivity of students, teachers, and staff; and
— Promote environmental education that supports students' strong civic skills, environmental stewardship and workforce preparedness.
The Department has made available supporting documents that further outline the Green Ribbon Schools initiative, including how schools can qualify and be nominated:
The Green Ribbon Schools Criteria explain the program's purpose, vision, eligibility, requirements and the Department's authority for creating such an award.
The Instructions for Use of Framework explain use of the following technical assistance document.
The Framework for State Nominating Authorities is a spreadsheet that provides recommended measures by which to evaluate schools and select nominees to ED. It is intended for state nominating authorities' use and adaptation.
The List of Statutory and Regulatory Requirements summarizes the Federal, state and local requirements with which schools must comply in order to be eligible for the Green Ribbon Schools award.