Sustainable School Successes in the “Show-Me” State

Imagine asking a group of urban students how they upcycle. I assumed I would get answers such as, ‘We keep scrap paper and use it for other projects’ or ’We reuse cardboard paper towel inserts for various projects in our classes’. However, after participating in this year’s “Living School Grounds” 2018 Green Strides Tour in St. Louis, Missouri and seeing the innovative efforts of nine unique schools, I have a new understanding of what it means to be green.

Each of the schools we visited on the 2018 Green Strides Tour demonstrated progress in the three Pillars of ED-GRS: 1) sustainable facilities and grounds, 2) health and wellness and 3) environmental and sustainability learning. These award Pillars are excellent areas to tackle if our overarching aims are to advance student and community engagement; reduce school operating costs and improve health.

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National Blue Ribbon Schools—Learning Requires Engagement

Sunset Elementary School in San Francisco, CA – a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School

National Blue Ribbon Schools are special places, each unique to their communities, their students, their staff, and their leaders, yet they are producing outstanding results for all their students regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or zip code. They are closing the gaps in student achievement and, in most cases, demonstrating consistent excellence.

Each year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program visits a handful of schools to learn more about what makes these outstanding schools tick. Video profiles offer glimpses of dynamic students, teachers, and principals in action—a day in the life of a National Blue Ribbon School.

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Join Us for Living School Grounds on the 2018 Green Strides Tour in Missouri

It’s my favorite time of the year again:  Green Strides Tour season!

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoors physical activity; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, the Department conducts an annual tour of past honorees.  This year, the Green Strides Tour will reach its twentieth state, Missouri, on October 24 and 25, and spotlight ED-GRS honorees’ use of Living School Grounds.

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Savoring the Little Moments: The U.S. Presidential Scholars Recognition Program from a Scholar’s Perspective

As one of three 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars from Hawaiʻi, it is safe to assume that my plane ticket from Honolulu to Dulles was one of the more expensive tickets reimbursed by the program. From the day the list of Presidential Scholars was released to the moment I boarded my nine-hour flight, thoughts of the National Recognition Program (NRP), held each year in the nation’s capital, felt surreal—scenes of historic national landmarks and famed politicians from both CNN and “Cory in the House” filled my mind.

From attending the Medallion Ceremony to meeting the sitting President in the White House and my state’s elected officials on Capitol Hill, NRP was full of the unique opportunities that it had promised. On Sunday afternoon, Scholars checked in at Georgetown University and were introduced to their small-group “clusters” of students from similar regions. The first highlight of NRP was the Medallion Ceremony in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where Scholars and their guests were addressed by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Mick Zais.

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President’s Education Awards Program: A Celebration of Student Achievement and Hard Work in the Classroom

President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. This year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly 3 million graduates (at the elementary, middle and high school level) across the nation at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Outlying Areas — American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and American military bases abroad.

Students received a certificate signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Schools also received letters from the President and the Secretary.

The Department encourages schools to be on the lookout for 2018-19 school year materials from PEAP program partners: the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The materials outline how to order certificates to award students before the end of the school year. Certificates are FREE, and there is no limit.

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National Blue Ribbon Schools—Breaking the Mold

Somerset Academy Davie in Davie, Florida– a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School

National Blue Ribbon Schools are special places, each unique to their communities, their students, their staff and their leaders, yet they are producing outstanding results for all their students regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or zip code.  They are closing the gaps in student achievement and, in most cases, demonstrating consistent excellence.

Each year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program visits a handful of schools to learn more about what makes these outstanding schools tick.  Video profiles offer glimpses of dynamic students, teachers and principals in action—a day in the life of a National Blue Ribbon School.

Featured below are two 2017 National Blue Ribbon awardees led by recipients of the 2017 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership: Principal Ursula Annio and Principal Kristen Hughes.  These schools prove that there are no one-size-fits-all approaches to educating students.  Rather, by setting high expectations, offering a rich curriculum with high academic standards and providing the right student supports, students from all backgrounds can excel:

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Seventh Cohort of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Announced

On May 16th, the U.S. Department of Education named the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The 2018 cohort includes 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

Curious what it takes to be a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School? Here are a few of the actions that the 2018 honorees are taking:

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President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP): Celebrating Student Achievement And Hard Work in the Classroom

Benjamin Stoddert Elementary School (Washington, DC) Graduation Ceremony; PEAP 6th grade recipients pose with their Principal Donald Bryant and PEAP director Frances Hopkins of OCO.Graduating elementary, middle and high school students can be recognized.

School principals or designated school representatives may pre-order certificates at 1-877-897-4784.

President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. Last year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly three million graduates at the elementary, middle and high school level at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Outlying Areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Students receive a certificate and schools receive a letter signed by the President and U.S. Secretary of Education.

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President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP): A Celebration of Student Achievement And Hard Work in the Classroom!

President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. This year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly 3 million graduates (at the elementary, middle and high school level) across the nation at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Outlying Areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Students received a certificate signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Schools also received letters signed by the President and the Secretary.

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The Ability to Inspire: U.S. Presidential Scholars National Recognition Program from an Advisor’s Perspective

Who are we and what did we do?

We are Nina Srivastava and Andy Trattner, and we had the honor of serving as the Executive Advisors for this year’s National Recognition Program (NRP) honoring the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars.** We are alumni of the program ourselves (2014) and rising college seniors at Harvard (Nina) and MIT (Andy). We helped run the NRP events for this year’s Scholars, arriving in DC two weeks before they did, and preparing with the Department of Education (ED) staff. Simone Olson and Caryn Kuzner at ED have been at the helm of this program for years, and we were grateful for their experience and guidance.

As you can imagine, coordinating the logistics of transporting over 150 high school seniors to recognition events around our nation’s capital is an intricate task. We did everything from vehicle orchestration to board game selection to security checkpoint choreography.

Our primary role, however, involved leading a team of twenty recent alumni who return to NRP each year to staff the program, the Advisors. Each Advisor serves as the primary point of contact for the “cluster” of 6-8 Scholars they are assigned.

Clusters move together from event to event, come up with group cheers to help with attendance, and bond through facilitated group activities during free time. It sounds very organized and boring, and although it is organized, the activities are far from boring!

We were Advisors for the past two years before becoming Executive Advisors, so we can say with certainty that meeting diverse folks from all over the country is a fun adventure every year for all of the Advisors.

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