Central Campus in Des Moines is among the first U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other federal officials announced April 23.
Seventy-eight schools in 29 states and Washington D.C. received the first-ever award, which honors schools that demonstrate a comprehensive approach to creating "green" environments.
Duncan was joined by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson for the announcement at an elementary school in Washington, D.C.
"Science, environmental and outdoor education plays a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future," Duncan said. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments."
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) opened in September 2011. Honored 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 sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.
"Schools that take a green approach cut costs on their utility bills, foster healthy and productive classrooms, and prepare students to thrive in the 21st century economy," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow's environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and our country."
The 78 awarded schools were named winners from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools, including 8 charters, and 12 private schools. In total, the schools are composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools.
"These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Today's winners are protecting our children's health and opening up environmental education opportunities for students. The EPA is proud to help recognize the Green Ribbon award winners and will continue working to improve the environment of our nation’s schools and helping prepare students to succeed in the emerging green economy."