The greenest schools in the nation will be saluted by US DoED

A Department of Education spokesman, John McGrath, spoke of the importance of environmental education. “Ensuring that students are environmentally literate by the time they graduate is a matter of good citizenship, making sure they have a good education, and preparing them for the jobs of the 21st century.”

Educators who incorporate green service learning projects into their curriculum recognize the value of environmental education. Concepts taught in science, social studies, the arts, and even mathematics can be reinforced using real-world environmental applications.

The green initiative is warmly welcomed by elementary school teacher, Joseph Mudd. “We’ve come to realize there has to be an end to consuming the way we do. Everybody is going to live their whole lives on this planet; we need to think about sustainability in the years and decades to come. It affects us all,” Mudd said.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

August 12, 2011

When will the criteria and application for ED-GRS be released?

The application and criteria will be announced in September 2011.  For further information on the recognition award, please visit our blog or Facebook page or e-mail us at

How does my school apply?

A full ED application procedure and package will be announced in September 2011.  Interested schools will need to apply through their state education authority to obtain its nomination to the Department.  That state education authority will be required to work closely with state health, environmental and safety authorities to ensure proper consideration of all institutional roles of schools.

How many schools will be awarded Green Ribbon status each year?

The number of Green Ribbon Schools will not be fixed in the pilot year, but will, instead, depend on the nature of the applicant pool.  It is likely that each nominating authority, including DoDEA, BIE, private schools, and each state education authority will be invited to make a limited number of nominations from its jurisdiction.  The Department will aim to select a cohort of truly exceptional schools performing in all three institutional areas – environmental impact, environmental health and environmental literacy.

Where can I find resources to help my school become a Green Ribbon school?

ED-GRS maintains a resource page on its blog and features resources on its Facebook page.  This resource page provides links to programs operated by federal agencies and non-profit sector entities.  In addition, your state may run a green schools program with resources that are specific to your region and needs.  We encourage interested schools to employ ED-GRS resources to suit their needs; however, we cannot guarantee that using the resources listed will guarantee a Green Ribbon award.

How will ED-GRS change instruction and impact students, teachers, administration, and staff?

To be clear, ED-GRS is a recognition initiative, not a green schools program.  The real work of this awards program will occur at the state, local and district levels, where teachers, education authorities, students and communities will innovate to make schools more sustainable, energy efficient and healthy places to learn.  The benefits of striving toward these pillars include cost savings, increased student and staff productivity, increased student achievement, enhanced critical thinking skills, reduced behavioral problems and increased engagement, particularly in STEM subjects.  The results are more productive teachers; safer, healthier learning environments; and engaged students graduating with 21st century workforce appropriate skills and content knowledge.