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U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Environment and Sustainability Education
The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program (US-ED GRS) celebrates schools and districts making significant progress towards:
- Pillar 1: Reducing environmental impact and costs.
- Pillar 2: Improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff.
- Pillar 3: Providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.
Frequently Asked Questions
Public, private schools, and public districts are eligible. State-Tribal Education Compact Schools and Bureau of Indian Education schools are encouraged to apply. Pre-schools, including outdoor pre-schools, are encouraged to apply.
Schools and districts complete an online application. A state committee scores completed applications. The state may nominate up to five schools or districts. The state committee also selects schools and districts that excel in one or more of the pillars as Washington State Green School and District Leaders.
Schools can answer the application with data and information based on the 2017-2022 school years - due to the impacts from the pandemic, information is not required to include facilities data for the 2020-2021/2021-2022 school years. Most schools and districts that receive the award do so by demonstrating systemic and sustained practices.
OSPI forwards state finalists to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). ED chooses national award recipients from this group.
State finalists and national award recipients may attend statewide events, join a state team of green leaders, and will receive an award. ED invites national award recipients to a ceremony in Washington DC.
The ED Green Ribbon Schools program is ambitious. You should apply if you are making significant progress towards meeting the goals stated as the program’s Three Pillars – 1. Reduced Environmental Impact and Cost, 2. Improved Health and Wellness, and 3. Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Education. There are two levels of awards: the National Green Ribbon Schools Award program and the state Green Leader awards. If you do not qualify for the ED Green Ribbon Schools award, you may still be eligible for the Washington State Green Leader award.