For Immediate Release - September 10, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Seeks K-12 School Nominees for Federal Green Ribbon Schools Award

BOSTON – Sept. 10, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today called for applicants among the Commonwealth’s K-12 schools as part of a federal recognition award to honor the nation’s highest performing green schools.

Launched by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) in 2011, the Green Ribbon School recognition honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and delivering effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways. Last year, USED recognized 78 schools nationally. Massachusetts will participate in the recognition program for the first time in 2012.

“The Green Ribbon Schools initiative recognizes that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. I urge schools across the Commonwealth to take up the Green Ribbon challenge, and I am pleased to offer the expertise of several of the departments in my Secretariat as this initiative proceeds over the next several months,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan, whose office includes several participating agencies: the Departments of Energy Resources (DOER), Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and Agricultural Resources (DAR).

“Massachusetts schools lead the nation on a number of fronts and energy efficiency within our schools is another area where I am confident we can reach number one,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville.

“Massachusetts is excited to recognize schools that are making a positive impact on the environment,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. “Schools are not only reducing their energy use, they are providing effective environmental education that engages students and prepares them to compete in a technology driven economy.”

“The Department of Public Health is particularly pleased to join this effort because of the beneficial impact it will have on the health of students in the Commonwealth,” said John Auerbach, Department of Public Health Commissioner. “The public health community has long recognized that the environment has a major effect on health; improved conditions mean improved health.”

“Massachusetts is leading the way when it comes to cost-efficient green improvements to our schools, and I encourage school districts to participate in the Green Ribbon Schools initiative,” said Treasurer Steven Grossman, who chairs the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) board. “Through the MSBA’s Green Repair program, we’ve invested over $240 million in roof, window and boiler replacement projects, resulting not only in substantial energy cost savings for school districts, but also in more comfortable learning environments for our school children.”

Each participating state in the Green Ribbon Schools program may nominate up to four individual schools by February 15, 2013. If a state chooses to nominate more than one public school, at least one school must have at least 40 percent “disadvantaged” students. If a state chooses to nominate four schools, one of the four – but not more than one – must be a private school. In addition, each state may nominate one regional school district for Green Ribbon Schools recognition.

Schools must be nominated by their state education agency and cannot apply directly to USED. States will base their evaluation of applicants groups on the three “pillars” (reducing environmental impact and costs; improving health and wellness; effective environmental and sustainability education), and send nominees to USED.

Massachusetts schools interested in submitting a Green Ribbon Schools application for consideration should review information available on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (ESE) website at Technical assistance for interested schools will be available through EEA and its agencies, ESE, the Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and a working group of non-governmental agencies.

USED will announce honorees in late April 2013 and invite honorees to a national recognition award ceremony in June 2013. Massachusetts winners will receive recognition at an event here in the Commonwealth as well.