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Green Ribbon Schools Webinar Transcript

SLIDE (0:00)

Well good morning, and welcome to our third annual webinar on how to complete the Green Ribbon School award application.  My name is Kathleen Smothers and I am the manager of the Policy Unit at the California Department of Education (CDE), and the coordinator of California’s participation in the Green Ribbon Schools award program. This year, we’ve got some very exciting new categories to announce, and some new resources that might be useful for you as you complete this year’s application.

But before we get started, I just want to give you a few housekeeping announcements. First, we will be placing all participants on mute, so that those listening don’t hear any background distractions or conversations.

Secondly, if you have any questions, please write them in the chat box, located on the right hand corner of your screen. We’ll collect your questions, and our presenter will respond to as many as she can at the end of the presentation. If we run out of time, we’ll be responding to any leftover questions via e-mail, so it’s our intent to respond to everyone by this afternoon.

Finally, once you open up the application, and have a new question, please feel free to contact us, and we will respond to you right away. Contact information will be provided to you on the final Power Point page. You might want to include your telephone number, because sometimes we want to provide you a more in-depth response, and then answer any follow-up questions you might have regarding that question.

And so with that, I’d like to introduce Lesley Taylor to you. Lesley has been here at CDE for close to a year now, and she is going to be taking the lead administering the program. Lesley was just recently involved in the United States Department of Education (USED) tour last week, and she spent two full days traveling with the federal Green Ribbon awards program director. So now she has tons of background knowledge on this program that she is willing to share with you today. So, Lesley, take it away.

Alright. Good morning, everybody; and thanks to Kathleen for the introduction. We’re just going to go right into it.

SLIDE (2:24)

Here is an outline of today’s presentation:

This morning, we’ll provide an overview of the Green Ribbon Schools award program, explaining the intent and three goals of the program. Then, we’ll show you how to navigate the CDE Green Ribbon Web pages, drawing attention to different links that may assist you. Next, we’ll discuss this year’s school and district applications; and finally, we’ll preview the new California Green Ribbon Schools Award, and then answer any questions you might have.

SLIDE (2:51)

This summer, California accepted the U.S. Department of Education’s invitation to participate in the third year of Green Ribbon Schools. As with the first two cycles, this award is designed to recognize schools taking a comprehensive approach to greening their schools.

The comprehensive approach asks applicants to document resource conservation, facilities best practices, health and wellness, and sustainability education, with the intent that schools and districts are integrating environmental and health impacts with environmental learning activities. Many of the physical improvements that are made at a school site present unique learning opportunities for students.

SLIDE (3:31)

The three pillars, or content areas, of Green Ribbon are:

Reduce environmental impact;

Improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and

Provide effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); civic skills; and green career pathways.

SLIDE (3:52)

To be considered as a California nominee, there are two steps:

First, complete and submit the online application available on our Web page. Then, if your school or district is selected as a state nominee, CDE will collect additional information that will be used in the nomination package sent to USED.

SLIDE (4:12)

Each state submitting nominees may identify up to four schools and one school district for consideration. Of those four schools, one must serve at least 40 percent disadvantaged students, and one must be a private school. The private school nominee is selected by the California Association of Private School Organizations. In previous cycles, all of California’s nominees were confirmed by USED and recognized as Green Ribbon Schools and Districts.

SLIDE (4:40)

This slide shows our Green Ribbon Web page, where you can find all of our resources, and the school and district applications. You can use the direct link, or you can go to our main page, and type “Green Ribbon Schools” into the search bar. You can also e-mail us any time.

SLIDE (5:03)

This is a screen shot of the bottom half of our Green Ribbon page, so if you type that “Green Ribbon Schools” into the search bar, and you go to our Green Ribbon page, you scroll down to the bottom and these are all of the different resources posted on our Web page. We’ll start up at the top with four reminders:

The three pillars of Green Ribbon Schools are ambitious goals, and few, if any, schools are expected to have achieved all three, or 100% in any of the pillars. It’s really a goal that you should be striving to.

Next, schools demonstrating exemplary achievement in all three pillars will receive the highest ranking.

It’s important to demonstrate concrete achievement, using quantitative measures, wherever possible.

And, additional documents supporting your answers may be requested.

This green arrow at the bottom, if you click to that, that points to the resources from U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

SLIDE (5:59)

It’ll take you to this page, and we’re going to take a brief look at the Framework.

SLIDE (6:05)

The framework is available for download as an Excel spreadsheet on the USED Web site that we just linked to. The columns, from left to right, show the three pillars, the elements within each pillar, objectives, ways to document progress, and resources schools and districts can use.

SLIDE (6:26)

Resources are also identified as a list and presented on our Web page, here at the bottom of our Green Ribbon page.

SLIDE (6:34)

And that takes you here, where resources are at the state and national level are identified by pillar and by element.

SLIDE (6:44)

When you’re ready to take a look at the application, please download the directions document—it’s the PDF that you see here marked with the green arrow— and read it before you begin the application. You might answer some of your own questions this way. Included in the directions package is an outline and a list of questions. Previewing the questions might help you to identify school and district resources and personnel to aid in your completion of the application.

It won’t be just one individual who’s going to sit down and fill out the entire Green Ribbon application. You might need a school principal, a facilities director, an energy manager, folks from the curriculum side… So looking at those questions in advance, and helping to identify who might answer which questions, is a good strategy.

SLIDE (7:35)

This is a screen shot of the online school application. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you look to the upper right hand corner and see the words “School Application.”

SLIDE (7:46)

Same goes for the district application. Make sure you are on the correct application by verifying it says “District” before you begin. Notice the navigation tools at the bottom of each page. Right now, on the first page, we have “Reset,” “Save Application,” and “Next,” along with a progress bar. Yes, there are 37 “pages” in the application, but we did try to keep the number of questions per page to a minimum.

SLIDE (8:11)

A few tips for filling out the application:

As I mentioned already, preview the questions in the directions PDF before you begin.

Then, find and write down your County District School code. This is how you will identify yourself in the application. If you don’t know your CDS code, you can visit our CDE website and look in the School Directory. You can find yourself by County and by District.

Make multiple copies of the questions, and assign questions to various staff members.

Remember, the application is online only. When you finish the application, you’ll hit “Submit.” You won’t need to send in a paper copy, upload it or e-mail it like we did last year; you’ll just hit “Submit.”

Most important, save early and save often. This is a lot of work that you’re going to be putting in to the application, and you don’t want to lose any of that. When you do push “Save,” the application has the prompt to send you an e-mail to your e-mail address that’ll give you a unique URL to go back and resume the application where you left off. For example, if you filled out Pillar I and then you’re going to pass the application to someone else, hit “Save,” it’ll send you that URL, you can take that URL, forward it to the person who’s going to work on the application next, and they can pick up right where you left off.

When you do submit your application and you’re complete with everything, you’ll receive an e-mail confirmation from us.

Within that e-mail, we’ll let you know your application is here, thank you, and we’ll give you directions on submitting up to ten photos or up to three minutes of video content to go along with your application. That’s for the purposes of presenting the nominees to USED; and that material, while great, won’t be scored.

SLIDE (10:12)

This rubric, which is also part of the directions document, shows how many points are awarded under each pillar and element.  In addition, following each question on the applications, the point value is specified. So you can see the points are split pretty evenly among the three pillars: about 30 percent in Pillar I, 30 percent in Pillar 2, 35 percent in Pillar III, with the remaining 5 percent going to the cross-cutting questions at the beginning of the application.

SLIDE (10:42)

Here is the proposed timeline, probably something you all are very interested in. We posted our applications to the CDE Web page on September 6th, and they’ll be open online through December 27th at 5:00pm. We understand that this can be quite an undertaking to do these applications, so we wanted to give folks as much time as possible to work on these. In January, we’ll be doing the scoring of applications, and on February 1st, we’ll present our state nominees to the U.S. Department of Education. Superintendent Torlakson will announce our nominees in February, at a date to be determined, and the U.S. Department of Education will announce those nominees that were confirmed at an Earth Day ceremony on April 22nd. This year, the recognition ceremony for the Green Ribbon selectees is proposed for July 22nd in Washington, D.C.

SLIDE (11:43)

Here’s the very exciting new piece. Finally, this year, CDE is piloting a California Green Ribbon Schools Award. With more than 10,000 schools in our state and over 1,000 districts, we’d like to acknowledge schools and districts who show great promise, in addition to those we’ll put forth as USED nominees.

This year, the state level award will be given to public schools and districts at four levels, recognizing applicants that are on their way to becoming green and sustainable.

The Bronze Level will be given to schools and districts with overall achievement on the application of 55 to 64.9 percent;

The Silver Level, to applicants achieving 65 to 74.9 percent;

The Gold Level, to schools and districts achieving 75 percent or better; and

Green Ambassadors, the highest achievement, given to our nominees to USED.

We expect that Superintendent Torlakson will announce those California Green Ribbon winners in February 2014. There is no separate application for the California award, which is great news for you and for us. You will be automatically considered when you submit your online application.

SLIDE (12:55)

I’ll let you look at our contact information while we take a look at some of the questions that you’ve submitted.  And, again, feel free to contact Kathleen or me at any time with any questions that you have. And, actually, it looks like we have no questions.

So I’ll go ahead and just address one that I know comes up often, is, “Is this a grant?” And the answer is no, Green Ribbon is not a grant—it’s a recognition award. Unfortunately there is no money attached at any level, either to administer the program or to give to selectees, but what we heard this week on the USED tour down in Southern California is that schools and districts are excited about the award. It helps to build momentum at the school and district level, toward making some of these improvements and implementing programs that are aligned with the three pillars.

So with that, just feel free to get in touch with us any time with questions you might have. The e-mail and phone number’s here, and we will be presenting these slides, along with the recording, on our Web page. So you can feel free to share that link with schools and districts you know who might be great applicants for this year of Green Ribbon.

This is Kathleen Smothers. Once again, we just thank you very much for participating today, and as Lesley stated, please contact us with any questions you might have. We are here to help you with your application. Thank you very much.

Questions:   Lesley Taylor | | 916-322-0310
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