March 27, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California's First "Green Ribbon" Recognition of Schools and Districts
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today named two schools and two school districts as California's inaugural "Green Ribbon Schools" (CA-GRS). The Superintendent's new initiative complements the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which California has participated in since its inception.
"We all look forward to the day when every school is a green school," Torlakson said. "California Green Ribbon Schools recognizes and encourages the efforts of schools and districts to make a comprehensive environmental and sustainability education available to all students in healthy and efficient facilities."
Selected schools and districts were designated based on their applications to ED-GRS, which are managed by the California Department of Education and scored by an interagency stakeholder group. Each applicant demonstrated substantial achievement in the three pillars of ED-GRS: 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.
Awardees will be recognized in June at the regional ceremonies for California Distinguished Schools.
The creation of a California Green Ribbon Schools program was contained in Torlakson's Schools of the Future Report (PDF; 1MB), which recommended that the state recognize exemplary environmentally sustainable schools.
Details on the selected schools and districts are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's California Green Ribbon Schools Web page.
Encinitas Union Elementary School District [http://www.eusd.net/]
, 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.
Lowell Elementary School [http://sjusd.org/lowell/] , Long Beach, Los Angeles County
Growing, conserving, and learning by doing
Twain Elementary School [http://twain-lbusd-ca.schoolloop.com/]
, 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 two-five) 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.
Santa Cruz City Schools [http://www.sccs.santacruz.k12.ca.us/]
, Santa Cruz County
Environmental stewardship for schools and community
Santa Cruz City Schools serves 7,000 K-12 students on 10 campuses, two of which are certified as green businesses by the Monterey Bay Green Business Program. District-wide, 31 percent of students walk or bike to school. The incentive-based Boltage pilot program tracks student trips and demonstrates miles traveled, calories burned, greenhouse gases reduced, and gasoline unused each day, week, and month. Every school participates in a Farm to School program to use local, fresh food. The high school agricultural program is supported by a two-acre facility including vegetable and flower gardens, a fruit orchard, landscape displays, commercial greenhouses, a retail landscape plant nursery and retail flower shop, a domestic animal grooming shop, and livestock production areas.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100