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. Top of the list – Culver City Unified School District.
“These schools and districts serve as role models for their students in two important ways,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach. “First, they manage their own facilities wisely by saving energy, conserving water, and reducing their impact on the environment. Next, they provide innovative education programs that teach students about nature, the importance of clean air and water, and how to make good choices to preserve the environment for future generations.”
Torlakson said this is especially important now that the environment is facing so many threats, such as climate change. “These schools follow and advance a proud California tradition of caring for the environment and preserving our state’s stunning, natural resources that are celebrated and known throughout the world,” he said.
The nominees are:
Culver City Unified School District, Los Angeles County
Montecito Union School District, Santa Barbara County
Redondo Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County
Yosemite High School, Oakhurst, Merced County
The Thacher School (private), Ojai, Ventura County
The schools and districts were also named “Green Achievers,” the highest honor in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.
“Through their environmental practices, the schools and districts we honor today are teaching students to be responsible stewards of our precious resources,” Torlakson said. “I commend their commitment to instill policies and habits that will continue our forward progress in establishing healthy campuses and communities.”
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 the California Association of Private School Organizations (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 April 24, 2017.
CCUSD’s Environmental Sustainability Committee has worked for more than six years to foster a culture of sustainability. During the 2011-12 school year, the committee launched the “Green5” co-curricular sustainability education program to increase awareness amongst students and staff about the “Five Rs:” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ride, and Rethink. Energy efficiency is bolstered by a 750 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that meets 82 percent of energy needs at the district’s main campus. CCUSD was an early adopter of the California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) External link opens in new window or tab. curriculum.