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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). 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 generally announced by CDE in March, confirmed by ED in late spring, 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 and districts 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 2021-22 Application Interest Survey. The 2021-22 application is scheduled to be released mid-August 2021 and will be due on November 12, 2021.


Frequently Asked Questions

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

Resources to Assist in the Completion of the Application

ED-GRS Selectees

2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Selectees

Past U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Selectees

Education Built to Last Tour

Informational Webinar

Green Ribbon Schools Webinar 6-30-2020 External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 16:58)

California Green Ribbon Schools (CA-GRS) Award

The California Green Ribbon Schools (CA-GRS) recognition award is the corresponding state award for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools recognition award (ED-GRS). Your ED-GRS application review is automatically considered for the CA-GRS award with no additional work from you. To learn more please visit the California Green Ribbon Schools webpage.

If you would like to receive Green Ribbon program updates via email 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

Questions:   George Garcia | | 916-322-0310
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 2, 2022
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