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The U.S. Department of Education has released more details about its new Green Ribbon Schools recognition program. The deadline for nominee submissions is scheduled to be announced in early 2012. The program anticipates recognizing as many as 50 schools by the end of the 2011-12 school year.
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The program, which marks the first time the federal government has launched a comprehensive green schools initiative, will recognize public and private elementary, middle and high schools that save energy, reduce costs, protect health, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces and offer environmental educational programs to boost academic achievement and community involvement.  

Unlike other environment-related programs impacting schools, the Green Ribbon award will acknowledge high levels of achievement under three areas, rather than one:

1) environmental impact and energy efficiency;

2) healthy environment; and

3) environmental literacy.  

 

Congressman Sarbanes, sponsor of the No Child Left Inside Act, praised the new program. "Robust environmental education will prepare students to be 21st Century innovators – developing technologies that are crucial to the future health of the environment and the American economy," Sarbanes added. “I am thrilled that the Department of Education has brought this new focus to environmental education.” To read the Congressman’s full press release, click here

Don Baugh, Executive Director of the No Child Left Inside Coalition also lauded the program as a step in the right direction. “Recognizing schools for their environmental education achievements is an important part of the effort to advance the environmental literacy of our youth,” said Baugh. “Equally important is ensuring that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides support for schools to provide the high quality environmental education needed to prepare our students for college and the jobs of the future. We commend Secretary Duncan and Congressman Sarbanes for their leadership on this critical issue.”

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