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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #14-13
February 6, 2014
Contact: Jazmin Ortega
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Nominates Three Schools,
One School District as 2014 U.S. Green Ribbon Schools

ENCINITAS—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated San Diego County's Encinitas Union School District, Lowell and Twain Elementary Schools of Long Beach, and San Domenico School of San Anselmo to compete in the third year of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program.

"I am proud to recognize these outstanding schools and district for their comprehensive efforts to green their campuses, their communities, and our state," Torlakson said. "Together with efficient facilities and good health practices, a strong ecoliteracy education develops students into citizens who will be lifelong stewards of our environment."

Today's announcement came at a news conference at the one-acre Educational Farm at Ocean Knoll Elementary School in Encinitas, where representatives for each of the other nominees were also invited to participate.

California is one of 39 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education expected to nominate schools and/or a district for the federal recognition. California's participation in ED-GRS was a recommendation of Torlakson's Schools of the Future Task Force. The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees to ED-GRS on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.

Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three "pillars": Pillar I: reduce environmental impact and costs; Pillar II: improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and Pillar III: provide effective environmental and sustainability literacy, incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.

Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web site or Torlakson's initiative at Schools of the Future (PDF; 2MB).

California's District Nominee

Encinitas Union Elementary School District] External link opens in new window or tab., San Diego County
A regional model for sustainability and wellness

EUSD serves 5,400 K-6 students in nine elementary schools, all of which have been recognized as California Distinguished Schools. The district is home to one National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Eco-School (bronze level), four NWF Certified Habitats, and two Alliance for a Healthier Generation Schools (bronze level). Two large-scale organic, sustainable farming efforts are blossoming within the district: a 10-acre Agroecology Learning Center (opening this year), and the one-acre Ocean Knoll Educational Farm. Both facilities leverage public and private partnerships and provide food for the Farm to Cafeteria program. The district has reduced lunchtime waste by 85 percent using its award-winning SCRAP carts for recycling and composting.
Public School Nominees

Lowell Elementary Academy [] External link opens in new window or tab., Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Growing, conserving, and learning by doing

Every child participates in the Learning Garden, totaling 8,000 instructional hours per year. Student Green Team members divert more than 28,000 gallons of classroom recyclables annually from the trash. Car Free Fridays, promoted and measured by the Student Council, eliminate more than 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per week and encourage exercise. Fifty-five percent of students walk or bike to school, and students take more than 15 walking field trips each year. Lowell received ENERGY STAR certification in 2012 with a score of 98.

Twain Elementary School [] External link opens in new window or tab., Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Robust recycling programs advance sustainability and wellness

Parents and Green Team students volunteer daily to help divert trash, reducing lunchtime waste by 85 percent. The Green Team engages 35 percent of eligible students (grades 2-5) as active members, but reaches the entire school community. A monthly "Bottles & Cans Day" earns the school $2,500 annually in recycling income. Twain is an American Heart Association (AHA) Teaching Gardens School. Twain received ENERGY STAR certification in 2011 with a score of 97.

Private School Nominee

San Domenico School [] External link opens in new window or tab., San Anselmo, Marin County
Elevating sustainability as a critical issue of our time

The independent San Domenico School in Northern California operates a 20-year-old sustainability program that uses curriculum, policies, and practices on campus to inspire campus and community change. The campus is home to a 412 kW solar energy system, which offsets up to 65 percent of school energy use. San Domenico was recognized as the top-ranking, "Emerald Green" school in transportation through Safe Routes to School in 2013 with 75 percent of students choosing green ways to school.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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