STEM, Healthy Schools, and The Office of Educational Facilities Proudly Support Green Schools
Dr. JP Keener
Director, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
Florida Department of Education - Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support
325 W. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida.
Director, Healthy Schools
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 444
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Don S. Whitehead, AIA
Senior Architect, Office of Educational Facilities
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1054
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Florida has an established green school state network, and beginning in 2011, also joined the national Green Ribbon School Initiative.
The Florida Green School Network acts as a central clearinghouse for the green school movement in the state of Florida. It was designed to recognize and support green school initiatives at the school and school district level and to aid them in adopting practices that will conserve natural resources, promote sustainability and reduce operating costs. To learn more about the Florida Green School Network, please click the following link: http://www.floridagreenschoolnetwork.org/about-us/
The newly simplified 2014-2015 Florida Green School District (FGSN) Application will be open from Earth Day, April 22, 2015 through September 14, 2015. The district application and school profile forms are available on the FGSN website.
The Green Ribbon Schools program is a national initiative with over 40 states participating. The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (USED-GRS) recognition award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (USED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.
Each state is able to nominate up to four schools that have shown significant progress in achieving success in the programs three pillars: 1) environmental impact and energy efficiency, 2) healthy school environments, and 3) environmental and sustainability education. Basic information about the national initiative can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html. The 2015-16 Florida Green Ribbon School and District Application will be available in the fall.
United States Department of Education Awarded Florida GRS Schools and Districts
2015 - Fourth Annual Green Ribbon Schools Recognition
On Earth Day, three Florida schools received the prestigious national Green Ribbon Schools designation by the U.S. Department of Education. The award recognized Manatee Elementary School and Odyssey Charter School in Brevard County and Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota County for their efforts to reduce environmental costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and provide learning opportunities focused on the environment that incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), civic skills, and green pathways.
Only fifty-eight schools across the nation received this distinguished Green Ribbon School award in 2015. These schools fully embrace the connection between student achievement and a healthy learning environment.
Manatee Elementary School has a comprehensive approach to being green. Based on their commitment to being a greener school every year, they have implemented projects that involve not only the school but the entire community. An effort to lessen greenhouse gas emissions resulted in a 2.9 percent reduction, and a recycling program increased the recycle rate throughout both the school and the community. The school’s wellness program includes family wellness nights, sun protection program, and after school programs based on sports, dance and exercise. Manatee Elementary continually looks for ways to become greener and more environmentally responsible.
The Odyssey “Whole School-Whole Child” education model combines the best practices in education and child development with the best practices in healthy living and environmental stewardship. Wellness, connections to nature, sustainability, experiential learning and physical exercise are essential elements of Odyssey’s education model. This innovative model recognizes and advances the relationship between the learning environment, learning potential and individual health by linking nature, sustainability, experiential learning and physical exercise.
Pine View School for the Gifted protects the environment and reduces environmental impact by maintaining an environmentally-friendly campus, promoting the use of renewable energy, reducing energy use and recycling. Since implementing its Sustainability @ Pineview program three years ago, they have built a common understanding and awareness of how working together across grades and disciplines results in improvements in environmental stewardship, healthy living and sustainability education. Pine View has received multiple awards for its many recycling initiatives and programs, and has diverted 43 percent of their solid waste from the landfill. They are EPA Energy Star certified and have partnered with the University of Central Florida’s Solar Energy Center to install a solar array, generating an estimated 50,000 kilowatts over the past three years. Through these comprehensive educational efforts, the school is preparing students to take leadership roles toward a sustainable future.
2014 - Third Annual Green Ribbon Schools Recognition ProgramThe Broward County School District was one of only nine districts in the nation receiving the prestigious Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award.
2013 - Second Annual Green Ribbon Schools Recognition ProgramTwo Florida schools were among 64 schools in the nation awarded. The USED spotlighted their exemplary efforts in making their schools healthier, safer, more cost efficient, and sustainable for all to emulate.
One Florida district out of only 14 school districts in the nation was selected to receive the inaugural Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award.