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Celebrating the U.S. Division of Schooling Inexperienced Ribbon Faculties and Sustainability Efforts Throughout the Division

By: Andrea Suarez Falken, Particular Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability, U.S. Division of Schooling.

On July 26, the U.S. Division of Schooling (ED) acknowledged 27 faculties, 5 college districts, and 4 postsecondary establishments, in addition to one state schooling company official, at a Washington, D.C. ceremony for his or her efforts to domesticate sustainable, wholesome services, wellness practices, and hands-on, out of doors, environmental studying. 

By highlighting faculties’, districts’, and postsecondary establishments’ cost-saving, well being selling, and performance-enhancing sustainability and environmental schooling practices, ED-GRS celebrates these faculties and brings extra consideration to their work. The ceremony was a reminder of the numerous new initiatives afoot at ED, because of a long time of nationwide advocacy and rising consciousness surrounding the inexperienced faculties motion.

Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten speaking at podium smiling
Deputy Secretary of Schooling Cindy Marten addresses the 2022 U.S. Division of Schooling Inexperienced Ribbon Faculties (ED-GRS) at a ceremony on July twenty sixth in Washington, D.C.

The Biden Administration has taken vital steps on environmental sustainability, local weather, environmental well being, and infrastructure, and new packages have been applied associated to sustainable faculties at different federal businesses. Whereas ED isn’t approved devoted environmental schooling or college infrastructure packages, we now have labored to assume creatively about college sustainability, infrastructure, well being, and environmental schooling. Prior to now 12 months ED has:

  • Strengthened its participation in a number of interagency efforts associated to sustainability, together with collaborating on the discharge of a White Home toolkit to assist faculties and districts entry obtainable funding, in addition to technical help alternatives and planning instruments to enhance college sustainability and environmental well being, as a part of a broader Plan for Constructing Higher Infrastructure.
  • Administered the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary College Emergency Aid program, which incorporates $122 billion to assist a variety of pandemic response and restoration efforts, equivalent to college enhancements to air flow and constructing vitality methods that assist wholesome environments and cut back vitality prices.
  • Supplied steering on the late liquidation of aid funds for development functions.
  • Developed company constructions to steer and coordinate on issues associated to highschool sustainability and infrastructure.
  • Designated an ED worker as Particular Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability to assist drive public engagement, packages, coordination, and steering with consideration to those issues.
  • Performed public engagement by way of webinars, calls, and public listening classes relating to 1) environmental affect, infrastructure, and operations; 2) complete youngster well being and wellness, together with environmental well being; and three) environmental, out of doors, local weather, and sustainability schooling.
  • ED’s most fun efforts to advance college sustainability for all faculties — not simply the ED-GRS honorees — stem from its fiscal 12 months 2023 proposal for the creation of a brand new workplace and clearinghouse. 
Speaker on video on projection screen behind two seated panelists and woman at podium in auditorium full of seated people

This new Workplace of Infrastructure and Sustainability would oversee a proposed Nationwide Clearinghouse on College Infrastructure and Sustainability and administer the continued ED-GRS recognition award. The workplace would offer capability to have interaction with multi-agency efforts, schooling stakeholders, states, and districts. Whereas, prior to now, this work was undertaken in a casual and voluntary method, the workplace would institutionalize an ED construction to advise on issues associated to local weather, sustainability, atmosphere, and infrastructure and lead coordination, outreach, and interagency collaboration. The clearinghouse would offer technical help and coaching to state and native schooling businesses on points associated to instructional facility planning, design, financing, development, enchancment, operation, and upkeep, together with inexperienced constructing design and operation practices in line with the Administration’s dedication to deal with local weather change.

All of this, in fact, is along with the implementation of our ED-GRS award for varsity sustainability designed to highlight helpful and modern practices. To study extra about this 12 months’s U.S. Division of Schooling Inexperienced Ribbon Faculties, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees, go to the web site and annual Highlights Report.  You might also subscribe to the ED-GRS e-newsletter and comply with these efforts on Fb and Twitter.

Andrea Falkan on stage at podium with Green Ribbon Schools backdrop in auditorium full of seated people

Know that, underneath the steering of the Biden Administration, ED is reviewing each obtainable instrument to prioritize equitable entry to wholesome, secure, sustainable, resilient, 21st century studying environments and sustainability studying that equips college students to face the challenges of the longer term. We stay up for recognizing extra faculties and districts for his or her sustainability efforts within the years to come back. Keep in mind: Faculties have to be nominated to obtain the ED-GRS award. Make sure to attain out to your state schooling authorities in case you are doing work in all three award Pillars!  



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