Celebrate Your School’s Sustainability Success

Westtown students harvest radishes from the garden.

Westtown students harvest radishes from the garden.

Has your school made significant progress on its sustainability goals through reduced environmental impact, improved health and wellness, and increased environmental literacy? If so, consider applying for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School Award. This national award, considered the top honor for green schools, celebrates and recognizes schools that have achieved excellence in sustainability.

Every year the U.S. DOE selects from a number of pre-K-12, postsecondary schools, and school districts based on their exemplary sustainability programs and operations. Two PAISBOA member schools received past awards: Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (2012) and Westtown School (2013).

The Green Ribbon award helps schools celebrate progress and dedicated focus on sustainability. It also acts as a catalyst to push deeper engagement and share your school’s sustainability story with other schools.

Schools who qualify as “green schools” must demonstrate progress in three main areas or “pillars:”

Pillar 1: Reduce environmental impacts and operational costs

Schools with more energy efficient operations spend less on utility costs and are better able to channel resources to education.

Pillar 2: Improve health and wellness

Schools with healthy environments allow students, faculty, and staff to flourish.

Pillar 3: Provide effective environmental and sustainability education

Schools that offer exceptional educational opportunities in hands-on cross-departmental environmental learning (especially STEM and green careers) foster student engagement, civic skills and leadership.

The Pennsylvania application deadline is January 4, 2019. Allow plenty of time to work on this ambitious application process. Visit education.pa.gov for the the state application and the ED-GRS homepage for general information about the award.

Interested in learning how to make sustainability improvements at your school? Philadelphia area independent schools can join the PAISBOA Sustainability Group for its next meeting on Tuesday, January 15th at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy. Contact Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants at MABoyer61@gmail.com or Ron Hill admin@PAISBOA.org to learn more.  

Article submitted by Avery Wolfe a recent graduate of Bates College and intern with Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.