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Secretary of Education Names Gwin Elementary a 2013 "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School" back button

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22-April-2013 (GWIN) - Today U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, along with the Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe, announced that Hoover's Harriette W. Gwin Elementary School sits among the 64 second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.  The selected schools are being 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, 14 districts were honored for the first-ever District Sustainability Award.  Duncan, Persiacepe, and Sutley made the announcement at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, in Washington, DC, one of the 2013 honored schools.

Gwin Elementary was nominated by the Alabama State Department of Education in Montgomery.

"Gwin Elementary School is a school that focuses on the present and future lives of our students. We strive for excellence and to broaden the scope of influence our students will have on their communities and environment. Our students strive to make Hoover, Alabama and our world “greener” places to live," Gwin Principal Dr. Kimberly White said.
Gwin Elementary has done much to secure this coveted National Green Ribbon Award.  Among "Pillars" outlined in its nomination packet, school leaders noted the school's:
 
  • Rainwater conservation system
  • Carline/transportation audits
  • "Walk-to-School" events
  • Student health opportunities (Unicycle Team; Dance Team; Running Club; etc.)
  • Campus radon/air quality testing
  • Environmentally-themed literature throughout school
  • School-wide recycling efforts
  • Campus native-plant restoration
  • See more here

Gwin Elementary was confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 32 state education agencies.  The list of selectees includes 54 public schools and 10 private schools.  The public schools include seven charter, five magnet and four career and technical schools.  The schools serve various grade levels, including 40 elementary, 23 middle and 19 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 29 states and the District of Columbia.  Over half of the 2013 honorees serve a student body more than 40 percent of which is eligible for free and reduced price lunch.  The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here.  A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here.

“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said Secretary Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs; improve health, performance and equity; and provide an education geared toward the jobs of the future. In fact, the selected districts are saving millions of dollars as a result of their greening efforts. And the great thing is that the resources these honorees are using are available for free to all schools."

“Preparing students for success in the 21st century economy begins in our schools. The schools and districts being honored today are modeling the best practices in reducing environmental impact and cutting costs, creating a healthier learning environment, and providing students with an education geared toward the jobs of the future,” said Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley.

"EPA is proud to join the Department of Education in recognizing our nation's U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for their remarkable efforts to create healthier learning spaces and educate students on the importance of environmental protection," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are not only cutting costs thanks to energy-saving practices and use of more efficient technology, but they're also reducing instances of pollution-related illnesses like asthma, a leading cause of student absence. The students who attend these schools are better prepared than ever to become the next generation of environmental stewards and bring about a healthier, more sustainable future."

The U.S. Department of Education is looking forward to a third year of the program, and will be publishing updated competition criteria this summer, once again working closely with participating states, who nominate both schools and districts to the federal agency.  State education agencies are encouraged to indicate their intent to nominate schools and districts within their jurisdiction in 2014 by August 1, 2013.

More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.  Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars in which the 2013 honorees are exemplary can be found here

United States Department of Education, Washington D.C.

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