LARKSPUR - On Earth Day, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Larkspur Elementary was one of 48 schools across the nation to receive a Green Ribbon Award this year.
Larkspur is the second DCSD school ever to receive the honor, which recognizes exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education.
In 2013, Douglas County School District was one of only 14 school districts nationwide to be honored with the first-ever district-level Green Ribbon award.
READ MORE: DCSD Wins First-Ever District Green Ribbon Award
Larkspur Principal Michael Norris says their sustainability program, including efforts to encourage recycling and composting in the school’s cafeteria, are completely student-led.
“The students own it and drive it. They collect the items, carry them out to be composted” Norris explained. “Them taking ownership is much more powerful for them and it is also much more sustainable.”
Additionally the students have created an energy council that monitors energy usage in the school and have planted a garden. All of the activities work nicely with the school’s new focus on Environment Learning.
Green Ribbon Honorees Announced on Earth Day in Washington, D.C.
Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Tuesday to announce the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Forty-eight schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, nine districts were honored for the District Sustainability Award.
Duncan and Boots made the announcement via webcast at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, D.C. Secretary Duncan also announced that a new post-secondary nomination category will be added to the school and district awards for the coming year.
"Today's honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green by encompassing facility, wellness and learning into their daily operations," said Secretary Duncan. "They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs, improve health, and engage students with hands-on learning that prepares them with the thinking skills necessary to be successful in college and careers."
"Schools all over the country can look to today's honorees as models for creating a healthier learning environment while lowering energy bills and preparing students for success in the 21st century economy," said Acting Chair Mike Boots. "The schools and districts being honored today are taking smart, innovative steps to reduce environmental impacts and teach students the kinds of sustainable practices that they can carry with them into their homes and future careers."
The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies. The list of selectees includes 39 public schools and nine private schools from 27 states. The public schools include ten early learning programs, three charter, one magnet and three career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 29 elementary, 16 middle and 18 high schools, with several schools having various K-12 configurations. Twenty-one of the 2014 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 18 are rural. The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 57 honorees can be found here.
The Department is looking forward to a fourth year of awards, with a post-secondary category, and will be posting updated competition criteria shortly to reflect this addition. State education agencies are encouraged to indicate intent to nominate schools in 2015 by August 1, 2014.
More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three pillars in which the 2014 honorees are exemplary can be found here.