Categorized | Education

HPA among inaugural ‘Green Ribbon Schools’


Two Hawaii schools — Ewa Makai Middle School and Hawaii Preparatory Academy — were among 78 U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools announced during Earth Week that were recognized at a national ceremony June 4 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined White House CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to address the honorees and congratulate them for their exemplary practices.

Ewa Makai and Hawaii Preparatory Academy, a private school, were among 78 inaugural honorees that represent 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The program was developed by the Department with support from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several other agencies and dozens of non-profit stakeholders.

In addition to Ewa Makai and Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Pahoa High & Intermediate and Waikiki Elementary were the other two Hawaii nominees for national recognition.

The applications were reviewed and the nominees chosen by a committee made up of representatives from Hawaii Energy, the Hawaii Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

Kalani High and Kahuku High & Intermediate were also recognized by the Hawaii State Department of Education for their energy conservation and environmental efforts.

“I applaud Ewa Makai and Hawaii Preparatory Academy for their outstanding efforts to conserve energy and adopt environmentally-friendly initiatives,” said DOE Assistant Superintendent Randy Moore.

National winners received plaques and banners in recognition of their high achievement in saving energy, reducing costs, providing healthy learning spaces, and offering education geared toward the challenges of the 21st century.

“These schools represent a broad portfolio of urban, suburban, and rural communities, working to provide students with a high-quality, well-rounded education, healthy living, clean environments and best practices for reducing our environmental impact,” Duncan said. “Green Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and deserve the spotlight for embodying strong examples of innovative learning and civic engagement.”

“By embracing ‘green’ these schools have demonstrated their commitment to incorporating environmental practices in education,” Sutley said. “The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools winners honored today are taking bold steps to increase environmental awareness that will have an impact on the health of America’s students and create the next generation of environmental stewards.”

The U.S. Department of Education released a document with highlights from the 2012 honorees. Along with the awards, Secretary Duncan also announced the first installment of the Green Strides Webinar Series to help all schools move toward reduced environmental impact, improved health and effective sustainability literacy — the three ‘Pillars’ of the Green Ribbon award.

“Every child should have a safe and healthy place to learn, and every parent should have confidence that sending their child to school in the morning doesn’t mean exposing them to environmental threats,” Jackson said. “These Green Ribbon Schools are making our schools healthier places to learn, and giving students hands-on STEM learning opportunities that show them how the environment connects to their own lives. Those experiences will be valuable to their future, and ours.”

“The Green Ribbon Schools program is a wonderful example of our overall National Prevention Strategy to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life,” Benjamin said. “These schools show us how we can make health and wellness a part of our children’s everyday lives.”

In 2012, more than 350 schools completed applications to some 30 state education agencies. Schools will have another opportunity to apply to their state education agencies for their nominations to the Department this winter.

Next year’s program criteria will be published this summer for states to develop those competitions and will require state agencies to submit their nominees in early 2013.

Sixteen states have already indicated their intent to nominate schools in the next round of the competition.

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