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Press Release

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DOE Press Office

Green Ribbon Schools Award Nominations Announced

~ District and school recognized for their commitment to the environment ~

Tallahassee, Fla., February 12, 2014 - Broward County Public Schools and Manatee Elementary School in Brevard County have been nominated by the Florida Department of Education for the annual Green Ribbon Schools Award sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. They will represent the Sunshine State at the national level based on their commitment to reducing environmental impacts, improving the health and academic performance of students and staff, and increasing the number of graduates who are environmentally and sustainability literate. In addition, Orange County Public Schools also received high marks for their innovative green school program. The winners will be announced in Washington, D.C. in July.

"Broward County Public Schools and Manatee Elementary School have shown an incredible commitment and dedication to cultivating an environmentally sustainable learning atmosphere," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "I applaud the administrators, teachers, parents and students for their devotion to wellness and the environment."

Broward County Public Schools is recognized for continuing growth in environmental stewardship initiatives such as school gardens, wildlife habitats, classroom recycling programs and an integrated environmental curriculum. At the district level, various departments within the district practice energy savings techniques that resulted in reduced energy costs of more than $34 million and saving an additional $11 million in energy costs. Over the past two years, the district has saved 2.2 million gallons of water through outdoor irrigation systems and an additional $323,000 in reduced potable water and energy. The district also sponsors district-wide health and wellness initiatives such as a master plan for physical education, Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Growing Healthy Kids with Holy Cross Hospital, Jump Rope for Heart, Farm to School, 4-H Clubs and Y-FIT-YMCA, and Project Bridge Anti-Bullying Program and Policy. Broward County Public School District is recognized as a Florida Healthy School District at the silver level by the Florida Coordinated School Health Partnership, Florida Action for Healthy Kids and Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Manatee Elementary School is committed to becoming a greener school every year. The school integrates STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and environmental studies with field trips so students learn firsthand their impact on the environment. Their comprehensive recycling program increased the schools' recycle rate and substantially reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills. The school also provides multiple opportunities throughout the school year to keep students, families and staff active and informed. Programs such as Family Wellness Nights, Walk-A-Thons, after-school clubs for students that incorporate sports, dance, jazz, exercise and cheerleading and programs such as Zumba for staff keep everyone healthy. The school cafeteria received a five-star cafeteria award for nine out of the past 10 years for offering a variety of balanced and healthy meals. And, the school also created E-Club, an environmental club to further students' knowledge about the environment and increase their participation in campus and community activities such as campus clean-up on Earth Day and helping the school maintain a butterfly garden.

The Green Ribbon Schools Award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, was established in 2011-12 to showcase exemplary achievement in environmental impact, health and education. The initiative advances the goals of environmental stewardship; reducing schools' energy costs; fostering health, wellness and academic achievement; providing a well-rounded education and increasing STEM skills.

For more information, visit Green Ribbon Schools Award.

For more information about Florida's efforts to recognize and support green school activities, visit Florida Green School Network.