The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills and green career pathways. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement, and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.
K-12 public and private schools, early learning centers, and school districts are eligible for ED-GRS. In California, nominations for the award are made by the California Department of Education (CDE), with technical assistance from other state and federal agencies. To be considered for an ED-GRS nomination, complete and submit the online application below. CDE may nominate up to four schools and one school district 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 Washington, D.C. award ceremony in July.
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 and sustainability literacy, 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:
- 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.
- Schools demonstrating exemplary achievement in all three Pillars will receive the highest ranking.
- It is important to demonstrate concrete achievement, using quantitative measures, wherever possible.
- Additional documents supporting your answers may be requested.
The application cycle for 2014-15 will begin on September 5, 2014 and remain open until December 29, 2014. Please review the directions before beginning the application.