Green Ribbon Schools

The annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) award was launched in 2011 as the first comprehensive federal program addressing the environmental impact, health and education of our schools. Although winning schools may go about their efforts in very different ways, they are all honored for their exemplary achievement in:

  1. reducing environmental impact;
  2. improving health; and
  3. providing effective environmental education.

Since the program started, RI has had ten (10) winners. The winning schools include:

  • Nathan Bishop Middle School, Providence
  • Classical High School, Providence
  • Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA), Providence
  • The Compass School, Kingston
  • Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Newport
  • The Greene School, West Greenwich
  • Ponaganset High School, North Scituate
  • Paul Crowley East Bay Met Center, Newport
  • Moses Brown School
  • Rhode Island College

As with the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, becoming a Green Ribbon School is a two-step process. The first step is to complete and submit an application to be selected as a nominee by the RI Department of Education (RIDE). The second step of the process requires signatures for the nominee package that will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education. Honorees may find raising financial and technical support to their efforts a little easier as a result of their title. All Rhode Island Schools are eligible to participate.

Pillar I: Reducing Environmental Impact

Improvements to K-12 school facilities save schools money, strengthen the nation’s energy security, and conserve natural resources. Such improvements may include: reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas; improving water quality, efficiency, and conservation; reducing waste production; and using alternative transportation.

Pillar II: Improving Health

High standards for safety, nutrition, and fitness improve student and staff health, attendance and achievement. These standards can by met by developing an integrated school environmental health program that addresses integrated pest management, contaminant controls and ventilation, nutrition, fitness, outdoor time, and more.

Pillar III: Providing Effective Environmental Education

Environmental education (EE) prepares students to be good citizens and enhances achievement and engagement in all subjects, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An effective EE program will enhance the curriculum and instruction of multiple subjects, providing meaningful, authentic, and applied learning experiences inside and outside the classroom and school day. These experiences readily align with the Common Core State Standards as well as the Next Generation Science Standards as they are relevant to the real world, encourage a deeper understanding and application of content, reveal the interconnected nature of science, and more.

Green Ribbon Schools in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has been at the forefront of the green-school movement as well as the EE movement. In 2007, RI’s school-construction regulations set high standards for energy efficiency and resource-friendly construction. In addition, RI was one of the first states in the nation with an Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP), opening the door for potential federal funding that will help to equip teachers with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to integrate critical environmental and science learning into their curricula.

In both EE and school construction, we have forged successful partnerships between the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), RIEEA, formal and informal educators, the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the building and construction industries, food-service industries, nonprofit environmental agencies, and federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. Therefore, each RI school has the potential to serve as an example on the national stage.

For more information about ED-GRS, visit the website. If you would like to learn more about RIEEA supporting your school as you apply, please contact us.