For Immediate Release - September 18, 2013

Patrick Administration Seeks Nominees for Green Ribbon Schools Award

BOSTON – September 16, 2013 – The Patrick Administration today invited schools across the Commonwealth to apply to compete in this year’s Green Ribbon Schools program. The federal recognition award honors the nation’s highest performing green schools.

“The Green Ribbon Schools initiative recognizes that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I urge schools across the Commonwealth to take up the Green Ribbon challenge and teach students the value of sustainable practices that will protect our environment and spur the Massachusetts economy for generations to come.”

Launched by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) in 2011, the Green Ribbon Schools 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.

“The Green Ribbon Schools award is another example of Massachusetts schools leading the way,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “We know that to truly engage our students we must think creatively to bring classroom lessons to life. It is encouraging to see teachers incorporating sustainable practices with 21st century skills into their lessons to prepare our students for success after high school.”

“Green schools play a key role in creating healthy and sustainable environments for students and staff, while also promoting an engaging STEM curriculum to increase performance,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.

Massachusetts participated in the program for the first time in 2013-2013. USED awarded Green Ribbon Honors to Acton-Boxborough Public Schools/Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, Berkshire School in Sheffield, Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School and Quincy High School. USED officials visited Massachusetts to recognize the Commonwealth’s awardees this summer.

Massachusetts may nominate up to four individual schools for the Green Ribbon School recognition by February 1, 2014. If the Commonwealth chooses to nominate more than one public school, at least one school must have at least 40 percent disadvantaged students. If the Commonwealth nominates four schools, one of the four – but not more than one – must be a private school. In addition, Massachusetts may nominate one regional school district for Green Ribbon Schools recognition.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), with assistance from the multi-agency working group, will review all applications and make nominations to USED.  Evaluations of applicants will be based on the three “pillars” of the federal recognition program (reducing environmental impact and costs; improving health and wellness; effective environmental and sustainability education).

A multi-agency Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools working group comprising representatives of EEA and its agencies, ESE, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Department of Public Health and non-governmental agencies will provide technical assistance.

An informational conference will be held on Friday, September 27, 2013 at Mt. Wachusett Community College, as well as an informational webinar on Oct. 3. School staff, officials and students who are interested should review information available on ESE’s website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/sbuilding/GreenRibbon.

USED will announce honorees on Earth Day (April 22, 2014) and invite honorees to a national recognition award ceremony in July 2014. Massachusetts winners will receive recognition at an event here in the Commonwealth as well.