U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is to inspire schools, districts and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes schools, districts, and IHEs that:
- reduce environmental impact and costs;
- improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and
- provide effective environmental and sustainability education
Combined progress in ALL three of these areas, known as Pillars, serves as the basis for recognition. ED-GRS aligns with the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s or ED’s) cross-cutting goals for education, including improving student, staff, and facility performance and increasing efficiency at federal, state, and local levels. It is part of an ED effort to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness.
Encouraging resource-efficient schools, districts, and IHEs allows administrators to dedicate more resources to instruction rather than operational costs. Healthy schools and wellness practices ensure that all students learn in an environment conducive to achieving their full potential. Outdoor, environmental, and sustainability education helps all students engage in hands-on, authentic learning; hone critical thinking and collaboration skills; stay active and fit; and develop a solid foundation in many disciplines.
Note: Schools, districts, colleges and universities do not apply for the award to ED, but to their state education authorities.
- Fact Sheet [PDF, 235K]
- U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Overview [MS PowerPoint, 5.85M]
ED's award is called "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools" and has "District Sustainability Award" and "Postsecondary Sustainability Award" categories. "Green Ribbon Schools" without the "U.S. Department of Education" is not ED's award, but instead is a separate program overseen by another organization.