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

On May 4th, the U.S. Department of Education named the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions are being 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 28 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 39 public schools, including five magnet schools and one charter school, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.

Curious what it takes to be a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School? Here are a few of the actions that three of the 2017 honorees are taking.

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Together We Soar Higher; The U.S. Department of Education Receives a Gratitude Quilt by Children From Military Families

“Together we soar higher.” This Ashland Elementary School motto set the tone for a recent ceremony at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The occasion was to celebrate the Month of the Military Child and to accept the donation of two commemorative quilts to ED by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) and three Prince William County Public Schools — Ashland, Henderson, and Pattie elementary schools. Attendees included student artists, counselors, and Ashland’s principal, as well as representatives from MCEC, military school liaisons, the Department of Defense Education Activity Educational Partnership Grant Program, and ED staff.

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Thelonious Monk Jazz Informance: A Lesson in Democracy

The conception of a perfect democracy drove the recent musical performance by students when their peers from nine District of Columbia schools, parents, educators, and ED employees gathered at U.S. Department of Education (ED) headquarters to hear jazz – America’s gift to the world.

To celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month, ED hosted its fifth annual jazz informance—an informational performance—with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. A jazz ensemble composed of student musicians from the Baltimore School for the Arts and Duke Ellington School of the Arts joined nationally acclaimed recording artist, educator and jazz trumpeter Terell Stafford to perform at the event.

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Military Child Education Coalition and ED Celebrate a Military-Connected Vision for America’s Children

“Being a military kid is a bit lonely. Your dad has to go away for a long time. But being apart makes us closer.” This is how third-grader Elena Banzon from Michael Anderson Elementary School in Spokane, Washington, describes her life as a military child.  When the Air Force calls her dad away, Elena says she gives her mom “so much love” because she knows it is the “best thing” one does for family.

Elena’s essay was honored at the recent opening of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) Student Art and Writing Exhibit at U.S. Department of Education (ED) headquarters in Washington, D.C., where a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to recognize the creative work of military-connected children.

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Full STEAM Ahead: ED Celebrates African American Excellence in STEAM Fields

“I have always liked math and science because, as a child, I struggled with reading. But … I close my eyes and can see the world in numbers.” This is what Kennea Carter, a student from D.C.’s E. L. Haynes Public Charter School, shared with the audience at the Full STEAM Ahead: Educational Summit on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics held at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) headquarters. This summit, hosted by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, brought students and STEAM leaders together to celebrate African American excellence in STEAM fields and to help students learn how to enter them.

As a part of the celebration, Carter and her robotics team thrilled the audience with a demonstration of their robot’s ability to perform tasks. When asked how they became a team, the students said it was their robotics teacher, Shane Donovan, who told them about the opportunity and encouraged them to get involved. The Haynes pre-K through 12th-grade school was named after the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics.

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