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Green Ribbon Schools Award Program

The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools, school districts, and Institutes of Higher Education for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness; and reinforces federal efforts to increase energy independence and economic security.

California K-12 public and private schools, early learning centers, and school districts are eligible to seek ED-GRS nomination from the California Department of Education (CDE). To be considered for an ED-GRS nomination, follow the online application process described in the directions documents below. CDE may nominate up to five schools or districts for ED-GRS. If your school or district is selected as a California nominee, CDE staff will work with you to submit the nominee presentation form and package to ED for consideration. State nominees are announced by CDE in February, confirmed by ED in April, and celebrated in a summer award ceremony.

Application reviews will be based on the applicant's demonstrated progress towards reaching the goals of each of the three ED-GRS Pillars, which are:

  • Pillar I: Reduce environmental impact and costs
  • Pillar II: Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff
  • Pillar III: Provide effective environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways

Four items which are important to keep in mind as consideration is given to applying to become a nominee:

  1. These are ambitious goals and few, if any, schools are expected to have achieved all three, or perhaps even 100% of any of the Pillars.
  2. Schools demonstrating exemplary achievement in all three Pillars will receive the highest ranking.
  3. It is important to demonstrate concrete achievement, using quantitative measures, wherever possible.
  4. Additional documents supporting your answers may be requested.

Interested applicants should first complete the 2016-17 Application Interest Survey. The 2016-17 application is scheduled to be released on September 6, 2016, and will be due on December 23, 2016.

2016-17 Directions for Green Ribbon Applicants (DOC)

2017 Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Webinar - coming soon

California Green Ribbon Schools

If you would like to receive Green Ribbon program updates via e-mail notification, subscribe to the Green Ribbon listserv by sending a "blank" message to If you would like to unsubscribe from the Green Ribbon listserv, send a "blank" message to

2016 ED-GRS Selectees

2015 ED-GRS Selectees

2014 ED-GRS Selectees

2013 ED-GRS Selectees

2012 ED-GRS Selectees

Education Built to Last Tour

Resources from U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Resources to Assist in the Completion of the Application

Questions:   Lesley Taylor | | 916-322-0310
Last Reviewed: Monday, September 12, 2016
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