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California Green Ribbon Schools FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for state and federal green ribbon schools recognition programs
  1. When are applications due?

    Applications for 2021 recognition are due November 16, 2020 at noon.

  2. Can we submit photos with our application?

    Photos may be included within the page limit, but will not be a factor in an applicant’s score. The review will be based solely on application data and narrative responses.

  3. Will we be able to add spreadsheets, charts, and PowerPoint presentations as part of our evidence?

    Attachments may be included within the page limit and should be referred to in specific responses in order to be scored. Note that reviewers will not visit hyperlinks; all content must be presented within the page limit.

  4. Does the 2021 CA-GRS application have the same questions as the 2020 version?

    No. We encourage applicants to carefully review all questions, as there are some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, updated directions provide guidance on formatting responses and taking special care when preparing the Narrative Summary to include all the innovative practices in each pillar and element.

  5. When re-applying, do we need to rewrite the entire application, or can we simply add to our application?

    Your previous application is a great place to start; however, be sure to transfer it over to the 2021 template and address any question changes. Update your responses to include the most recent contributions to your efforts.

  6. Can you provide feedback on our last year’s application?

    Individualized application feedback depends on staff availability at the time of request. To request an application review, please email greenribbonschools@cde.ca.gov.

  7. Is there a character limit for answering prompts?

    There isn’t a character limit per question; however, each question has a suggested response length as a guide. Some answers may need more explanation and others may need less than suggested, and this will vary from one applicant to another. Use the space within the application wisely, as the 45-page total limit is firm.

  8. How many people usually work on a single application?

    The number of people contributing to an application will vary, depending on your local context. We do not recommend trying to complete this application alone. Potential partners include: district facilities and maintenance staff, district and site administrators, teachers, students, parent organizations, and business or non-profit partners in sustainability efforts. It can be helpful to have one “lead writer” to provide a consistent voice throughout the application once content has been gathered from various perspectives.

  9. Are most applications from particular schools within a district or is there a category for district submissions?

    A District Sustainability Award is available. Schools that apply from within the same district will share many courses of effort and should take care to describe what makes their site-based implementation unique. Schools located within a district that has previously received ED-GRS recognition should email greenribbonschools@cde.ca.gov for consultation prior to application.

  10. How can I access a previously submitted application?

    If you do not have access to your previous application, email a request to greenribbonschools@cde.ca.gov and we will send you a copy within 3-5 business days.

  11. Can first-time applicants receive a top award?

    Yes, each application is evaluated on its own merits.

  12. Which grade levels are eligible for the school award?

    Any school serving any combination of grades P-12 may apply. Stand-alone early learning centers are also eligible.

  13. Can we organize the information in numbered lists other than paragraphs for easier reading/navigation?

    No, all application responses must be written in third-person narrative form.

Questions:   George Garcia | GREENRIBBONSCHOOLS@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-0310
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 27, 2020