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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #14-40
April 22, 2014
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California's National Green Ribbon Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today commended three California schools and one school district honored by the U.S. Department of Education with its third annual Green Ribbon Schools award.

California's 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are: Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, San Diego County; Lowell Elementary School, Long Beach, Los Angeles County; Mark Twain Elementary School, Long Beach, Los Angeles County; and San Domenico School, San Anselmo, Marin County.

"I applaud these schools and district for their excellence in sustainability education, health and wellness, and environmental stewardship," Torlakson said. "Each of these Green Ribbon Schools is preparing California's students to be active, innovative, and caring adults."

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winning schools and districts as part of today's Earth Day celebrations. A total of 48 schools and nine districts in 27 states were honored. The complete list of honorees can be found on the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awards Page [] External link opens in new window or tab.. Highlights of the honorees can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education report, Highlights From The 2014 Honorees [] External link opens in new window or tab. (DOC; 2MB).

Green Ribbon Schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating "green" environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and concepts needed in the global economy. Torlakson selected California's nominees for the honor based on a competitive application reviewed by the California Department of Education, along with state and federal agency partners and the California Association of Private School Organizations.

California's participation in the program is one of the recommendations in Torlakson's Schools of the Future report. In March, Torlakson announced a complementary California Green Ribbon Schools award to encourage and recognize all public schools and districts working to increase their efforts in this area.

Details on California's 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web page or Torlakson's initiative at Schools of the Future (PDF; 2MB).


Encinitas Union School District [Note: the preceding link is no longer active] Encinitas Union High School Distrct [] External link opens in new window or tab., Encinitas, San Diego County
A regional model for sustainability and wellness

The Encinitas Union School District 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, which is scheduled to open this summer, 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 Schools:

Lowell Elementary School [Note: this school is now named Lowell Bayside 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.

Mark 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 two through 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.
Private School:

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 kilowatt (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 travel 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: Thursday, April 18, 2019
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