U. S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, 2012

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Philadelphia, PA

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Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Philadelphia, PA

Largest non-profit solar project in the region

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s legacy goes far beyond the 65-acre campus. Students can participate based on grade level in one of three eco-clubs all geared toward shaping an awareness of health, community, and the environment. Wellness and health are emphasized through fitness programs, an outdoor education program, and a relationship with local produce farmers. Students have planted hundreds of native species on the expansive campus, which also has three storm water recharge beds to capture runoff from roofs and pavement. A leader in the community, the school has constructed one of the largest solar projects in the region and helped the local area recycle 320 tons of waste. The school also has replaced its paper letters to parents and the community with virtual mail. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is devoted to the wellbeing of their students, faculty, and community.

Rhode Island

Classical High School, Providence, RI

Farms to Schools, Collaborative for High Performance Schools Design Criteria verified

With sustainability and environmental science woven into the curriculum starting in ninth grade, Classical High School works to achieve its main goal of preparing students for college. The focus on science manifests itself through the offering of Advanced Placement science classes, a curriculum including off-campus science instruction, and new science rooms with solar hot water and recovered energy unit systems. Classical uses the “school as a tool.” Five percent of the school’s energy consumption is generated on-site, and there is a 500 square foot greenhouse located on the roof to demonstrate plant growth and scientific processes. Classical has been making great strides in resource consumption reduction, as well, with a 21 percent reduction in non-transportation energy use and a 21 percent reduction in water consumption. Also to be commended is the school’s commitment to community service, emphasized through a community service project during students’ junior year.

Nathan Bishop Middle School, Providence, RI

Second in 2011 RI Science Olympiad

The actual school is a tool for learning at Nathan Bishop. The school was constructed originally in 1929, and renovations were conducted in 2009 according to criteria established by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools. Nathan Bishop has integrated its energy-management efforts into the science curriculum by installing kiosks on campus for displaying live energy data and demonstrating consumption trends in energy and water. Twenty-five percent of the school’s consumed energy is derived from on-site renewable energy generation, and the school reports a 21 percent reduction in water use compared to a 2009 baseline. As a result of its sustainability efforts, Nathan Bishop has reduced its energy consumption by 21 percent compared to the same 2009 baseline, and earned the ENERGY STAR award in 2011. Part of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools Initiative, there has been a 21 percent reduction in non-transportation energy use at the school, and 25 percent of the school’s energy is on-site and renewable. Nathan Bishop also has reached out to a variety of supporters and community partnerships such as with Brown University, RISD, Jewish Community Center, Sodexo, Aramark, Lowe’s, and parents’ groups. Students additionally participate in a Farms to Schools program to increase nutrition awareness and healthful lifestyles.


Fishburn Elementary School, Roanoke, VA

Green Education Foundation, Project Learning Tree inspired curriculum

The mentality and commitment of Fishburn Elementary School is exemplified in their pledge: “No job is too big, no action too small, for the care of the earth, is the task of us all.” Fishburn fosters the creativity and growing minds of its students in all aspects of education. Creating incentives to promote healthy living and rewarding students who participate in community outreach projects are two ways Fishburn supports students in educational and lifestyle endeavors. Students also are supported in their creative endeavors through theatre and art projects. Every grade level has their own raised-bed garden, and students participate in an Earth Hour project each month, allowing them to take on the individual and group responsibility of their school’s environmental commitment. Even more unique than Fishburn’s collection of live animals in the main building is their grove of maple trees which, with the help of the Department of Forestry, provide maple syrup to the school. The school collects gently worn clothing and goods and holds an annual environmental fashion show and resale to showcase the items, raising money for its environmental activities fund. Students collect samples from nearby streams around World Water Monitoring Day, conducting tests and comparing data.  They also developed a purchasing protocol that eventually became the district standard.

Gereau Center, Rocky Mount, VA

PassivHaus Certified

The wellness of every student is the focus of the Gereau Center. From improving indoor air quality and purchasing eco-friendly cleaning supplies to synchronizing clocks to eliminate the need for jarring bells, the health and lifestyle of every student is taken into account. The Gereau gives every student a tree to plant on Arbor Day and purchases seven percent of their energy from renewable sources. Perhaps most notable is the Center for Energy Efficient Design, a net zero energy educational and demonstrative center. The building is a template for residential and educational construction for the 21st Century. Featuring day lighting, solar hot-water heating, wind turbines, earth berming, south facing solar orientation, thermal mass, geothermal energy, photovoltaics, and rainwater harvesting, energy use in this building is tracked and maintained online for students to analyze. Students in all classes use problem-based learning activities emphasizing the use of scientific methods and development critical thinking skills. Students test model airplanes, rockets, solar-powered cars, and tetrahedral kites. The Gereau Center has developed a partnership with the science and education departments at Ferrum College for the purpose of writing curriculum for the Center.


Tahoma Junior High, Ravensdale, WA

Place-based excellence in environmental education

Tahoma Junior High successfully uses their local geography and surrounding area to integrate academics and environmental stewardship into hands-on learning and a healthy lifestyle. Students and faculty take advantage of 37 acres of local trails to increase personal fitness and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. A part of the King County Green Schools Program and a participant in “Sounding off t on the Sound,” a program to connect students with the ecology and environment of a local body of water, Tahoma uses inquiry-based study to advance students’ understanding of core concepts. With the leadership of the Green Team, Tahoma now has three rain gardens and a 50 percent recycling rate.

Camelot Elementary, Auburn, WA

Salmon in the Classroom

With students publishing a school resource conservation newspaper and raising salmon in the classroom to release in streams, Camelot Elementary, is well deserving of their Certificate of Achievement for school leadership, which was presented by the Board of Education of Federal Way. Most notably, through a joint effort of students and staff, the school has made a 50 percent reduction in energy use since 2007 by updating systems that use energy, removing personal appliances, and placing reminder on computers and light switches. The school ran a reusable bottle fundraiser to eliminate plastic bottles. Green checklists are posted in each classroom and staff and students are continually educated about ways to decrease energy consumption and waste. It is clear that the school receives the support of the surrounding community, as the Camelot area recently raised $10,000 to build a community garden on the school’s grounds. 59 percent of students choose to walk or bike to school. Camelot implements a nutrition program that incorporates the USDA standards ensuring that each child has fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads and low-fat milk at each meal. Camelot also works with its PTA to send home backpacks of food on the weekends for disadvantaged students.

Secondary Academy for Success, Bothell, WA

One of the first sustainability engineering and design programs in the country

With a 30 percent reduction in energy use from 2008, the Secondary Academy for Success puts ideas into action in every aspect of their school. In addition to a Green Club, student work on annual community service projects and twice a year volunteer on a sustainable farm. A participant in the Cool Schools Challenge, they have a high-performance building and integrate a sustainable engineering and design program into the curriculum, which supports project-based learning. Throughout the year, students in the program work on real-world projects to maximize the relevance of the knowledge they gain from the course. Projects range from the retrofit of a cargo trailer into a green mobile learning lab. to solar-powered charging stations for electric bikes to local business sustainability assessments. In addition to the sustainable engineering and design program, the school has launched a dedicated horticulture class with accompanying new greenhouse and edible garden. Academic advancement and civic engagement are key to the goals of the Academy, where 100 percent of students participate in some type of civic engagement, and which won the 2011 Washington State STEM Lighthouse Award.

The Overlake School, Redmond, WA

National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat

With outdoor walkways between buildings spread over 15 acres and a fresh air ventilation system in their LEED certified building, The Overlook School readily embraces the integration of academics and the outside environment. Students are taught to view sustainability as a part of everyday life, and they have many opportunities to incorporate environmental concepts into their studies, such as through outdoor education as a graduation requirement, the option of an environmental project during “project week,” and a wide variety of electives and extracurricular activities based on sustainable practices. A Green Team has completed energy audits, and subsequent recommendations in energy-efficient practices have had a significant impact on consumption. Overlake even has taken the particularly unique step of building an electric car charging station on their campus, leading three families to purchase electric cars.

West Virginia

Hilltop Elementary, Wheeling, WV

First LEED certified School in West Virginia

As the first LEED certified school in West Virginia, Hilltop Elementary takes its environmental and community responsibilities seriously. Through exploration and work with the Green Schools Leadership Institute, Hilltop has developed a project-based K-5 curriculum incorporating a LEED framework. It created Sustainable Schools Learning Kits for other area schools through the use of a $54,000 grant from an anonymous donor to move toward its goal of helping all other schools become more sustainable. Learning laboratories for sustainability allow students to learn in areas such as environmental footprint, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and resources, water efficiency, and innovation and design. With a schoolwide community wellness walk in the evening and community service at every grade level, HIlltop fulfills their vision of being “the epicenter for sustainability” within its community.

Wyoming County Career and Technical Center, Pineville, WV

Innovation through Practical Application learning

At Wyoming County Career and Technical Center, every program of study incorporates sustainability concepts into its curriculum and day-to-day practices. The Building Construction program designs and builds energy efficient modular homes. The Diesel Technology program manufactures biodiesel, retrofitted, and existing diesel engines, and uses kitchen oil waste from the cooking program as well as local restaurants for fuel. The Automotive Technology program recycles used oil by giving it to a local garage to burn for heat, and is developing a hybrid golf cart and all-terrain vehicle that will run on alternative fuels. The Electrical Technology program retrofitted and donated a golf cart powered with a small solar panel and batteries. The Electronic Technology program has developed a recycling program for proper disposal of electronics. The Welding Technology program has built recycling bins and recycles scrap metal and wiring. The Industrial Equipment Technology program designed and installed a 42 solar panel system to power their building. The school partners with Bridgemont Community College to allow students to obtain an associate’s degree in sustainable energy management.


Dimensions of Learning Academy, Kenosha, WI

Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Program

The Dimensions of Learning Academy, constructed in 1911, is committed to improving student health along with energy efficiency. A Wisconsin Green & Healthy School, a member of the Wisconsin Green Schools Network, and Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education, the school emphasizes environmental sustainability along with fitness and nutrition. At each grade level, health education is taught featuring environmental health, nutrition, and local food production, all complimented by the social studies curriculum, which includes “buy local” field trips to the farmer's market. A participant of Fuel Up to Play 60 and Let’s Move, a healthy lifestyle is reinforced at the school, along with learning based on decision-making, problem solving, inquiry, investigation, invention, and systems analysis. With a 50 percent recycling rate, a grey water system, lighting retrofits, and a garden, Dimensions of Learning is progressing toward a complete green design and lifestyle. The school also has undergone efficiency upgrades, such as the replacement of a boiler purchased in 1952 with an energy-efficient boiler in 2007, and the replacement of all T-12 lighting fixtures with T-8 lighting. Low-flow water faucets installed in the school help avoid the waste of water, and meters are in place to monitor the water usage of boiler units in order to detect and prevent leaks. The academy has reported a reduction of more than six percent in annual greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2010, the same year the school earned the ENERGY STAR award.

Middleton High School, Middleton, WI

ENERGY STAR since 2008 with strong community ties

Middleton High School approaches sustainability from every direction. A commitment to decrease energy use through solar panels, including to heat the swimming pool, and students engaging in "behavior modification" to conserve electricity through reduced lighting is are just a few of the ways students are exposed to energy efficiency, before they go on to tackle projects to design "green" homes incorporating water saving devices and landscaping. Middleton also has on-site prairie gardens, rain gardens, and organic gardens that are used to teach about storm water management, management techniques, and sustainable lifestyles. The local community benefits greatly from the work and commitment of these students, such as when the local library wanted to have a native garden that did not rely on energy consuming practices, and the students took on the project. The Ecology Club also raised $16,000 in the last four years for community service projects ranging from oak savanna restoration and invasive species removal to prairie planting. A recipient of the Environmental Excellence Award from Seaworld/Busch Gardens/Fujifilm, Middleton has integrated academic achievement, civic duty, and environmental sustainability.

Purdy Elementary School, Fort Atkinson, WI

A naturalist in residence provides professional development to all teachers

A part of Wisconsin’s Green & Healthy Schools program, Purdy Elementary achieves success through student participation and community collaboration. The “Green Team” has led the way in making sustainable changes to the school and curriculum with such activities as the Naturalist in Residence program and planting trees. With the support of local funding, Purdy Elementary was able to rehabilitate a wetlands area, now open to the public and the location of student “Wetland Walks.” The school currently derives five percent of its energy from on-site renewable sources, including geothermal heating and cooling, as well a solar panel installation. Behavioral changes to promote energy efficiency are encouraged by the Green Team, which recognizes classrooms exhibiting the most “green” behavior. Purdy Elementary also utilizes water-efficient or regionally appropriate plant species for 100 percent of its landscaping needs, and all bathroom faucets installed in the school are automatic in order to prevent water waste. In 2010, Purdy Elementary School earned the ENERGY STAR award with a noteworthy energy performance score of 97. Purdy’s additional commitment to health and fitness is clear through their “walk to school” competitions, participation in the Healthier School Challenge program, and the “Purdy Pacer Program” that promotes running and walking.

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