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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #16-17
February 26, 2016
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Honors California
Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners

ALAMEDA—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated three California school districts and two individual schools to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which honors schools that conserve resources while promoting health and environmental literacy.

The nominees are:

  • Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County
  • Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County
  • San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco County
  • Bay Farm School, Alameda, Alameda County
  • Bishop O'Dowd High School (private), Oakland, Alameda County

The schools and districts were also named "Green Achievers," the highest honor in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.

"I commend these schools and districts for reducing their environmental footprints and engaging students using sustainability and the environment as the context for learning," Torlakson said. "Their efforts are helping to build healthier, more resilient communities and a more prosperous California."

Today's announcement came at a news conference at Bay Farm School in the Alameda Unified School District. Torlakson was joined by Dr. Ron Reynolds, Executive Director of the California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO).

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 education that teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, civic skills, and green career pathways.

The California Green Ribbon Schools recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to ED-GRS to recognize schools and school districts for environmental excellence. Private school awards are conferred by CAPSO.

California is one of 25 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity that are expected to nominate schools and districts for federal recognition this year. Continued participation and leadership in the program is a recommendation of Torlakson's Environmental Literacy Task Force.

The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.

Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web page and download A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every Student In, About, and For the Environment.

California's ED-GRS Nominees


Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County

LAUSD is the largest school district in California and the second largest in the nation, serving approximately 650,000 students in grades K–12. In 2003, LAUSD became the first school district in California to adopt the sustainability standards of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) for all new schools and modernization projects. To date, 78 LAUSD schools have receive CHPS certification. LAUSD has installed 21 megawatts of solar capacity, supported more than 375 school gardens, and built more than 180 outdoor classrooms. The District's sustainability Web site, Learning Green [] External link opens in new window or tab. , provides information and resources for all schools. LAUSD's Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School was recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2015.

Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County

MBUSD has documented a 33 percent reduction in non-transportation energy use and a 44 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2009 baseline. All MBUSD schools are ENERGY STAR certified. MBUSD diverts 100 percent of food waste by combining on-site composting with a municipal program that converts food waste into Engineered Bioslurry used to generate energy. MBUSD was the first district to pilot and implement the parent-initiated programs Grades of Green [] External link opens in new window or tab. and Growing Great [] External link opens in new window or tab. . MBUSD earned a CA-GRS Silver Level Award in 2015, and Grand View Elementary School was recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2012.

San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco County

SFUSD utilizes a Shared Savings Program that rewards schools for reducing their use by giving them 50 percent of the savings generated through conservation as discretionary funding. Every school in SFUSD has an Environmental Liaison, and SFUSD's Environmental Science Center has been providing standards-based environmental education in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1976. SFUSD has installed nearly 60 green schoolyards since 2005 and will expand schoolyard "greening" to every site using a local modernization bond authorized in 2011. The District's Green the Next Gen Web site features teacher resources; student programs; and utility, commute, and waste diversion data from SFUSD schools. SFUSD earned a CA-GRS Silver Level Award in 2015.

Bay Farm School, Alameda, Alameda County

Bay Farm School has implemented an efficient three-stream waste diversion program that diverts 85 percent of solid waste from the landfill. Students are critical to these efforts, monitoring lunchtime sorting and conducting multiple waste audits to keep recyclables out of classroom and playground trash. Bay Farm's Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) is managed by a full-time garden teacher. All students regularly learn outdoors in part by working in the OLC and eating the food they grow there. Read more about Bay Farm's efforts on their Go Green Web page.

Bishop O'Dowd High School, Oakland, Alameda County

O'Dowd's Center for Environmental Studies, completed in 2014, is a LEED Platinum certified building. The campus also supports a four-acre "Living Lab" that has undergone ecological restoration annually since 2000 and received Bay Friendly certification and Wildlife Habitat certification. The Living Lab features four different local ecosystems, beehives, chickens and rabbits, edibles, and water catchment systems. It is used for field research, experiential learning, and spiritual meditation. Green Gloves, a 2015 partnership with the ReThink Disposable project, replaced disposable plates and bowls in the cafeteria with reusable baskets, reducing solid waste by 3,376 pounds per year. O'Dowd was recognized by CAPSO as a CA-GRS Gold School in 2015 and a Silver School in 2014.

California Green Ribbon School Additional Awardees

Public Schools
  • George K. Porter Middle School, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Nick G. Parras Middle School, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Redondo Union High School, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Yosemite High School (Continuation), Merced County (Gold)
  • Juliet Morris Elementary School, Orange County (Silver)
  • Monterey Road Elementary School, San Luis Obispo County (Silver)
  • Santa Barbara Senior High School, Santa Barbara County (Silver)
  • Washington Elementary School, Los Angeles County (Silver)
  • Will Rogers Elementary School, Ventura County (Silver)

  • Montecito Union Elementary, Santa Barbara County (Gold)
  • Pittsburg Unified, Contra Costa County (Gold)
  • Redondo Beach Unified, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Sacramento City Unified, Sacramento County (Gold)
  • Hope Elementary, Santa Barbara County (Silver)
  • Woodside Elementary, San Mateo County (Bronze).

Private Schools
  • Maple Village Waldorf School, Los Angeles County (Gold)
  • Pacific Ridge School, San Diego County (Gold)
  • The Thacher School, Ventura County (Gold)
  • Woodside Priory School, San Mateo County (Gold)
  • The Grauer School, San Diego County (Silver)
  • MUSE School, Los Angeles County (Silver)
  • The Turning Point School, Los Angeles County (Bronze)

# # # #

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

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