Illinoisâ€™ top three nominees demonstrate comprehensive approach to environmental education and management
SPRINGFIELD, ILÂ â€“ The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced the stateâ€™s three finalists for the U.S. Department of Educationâ€™s Green Ribbon Schools awards program. The Green Ribbon Schools award program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, protect student and staff health and wellness, and offer environmental education. The three finalists are Indian Grove Elementary School and Euclid Elementary School, both in suburban Mt. Prospect, and Prairieview Ogden South Elementary School in Central Illinois.
â€œI am excited to see schools across the state continuing to improve their energy efficiency and create curriculums that help students develop an awareness of the worldâ€™s limited natural resources and the impact our actions have upon our future,â€ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. â€œEducating todayâ€™s students about the importance of recycling and conservation will help them become conscientious citizens.â€
Students at Prairieview-Ogden South Elementary School participate in a TerraCycle program that recycles juice pouches, chip bags and Lunchable containers. Students even bring their empty packaging from home to recycle at the school in Prairieview-Ogden Community Consolidated School District 197.
Collaboration among students, teachers, parents, school board members, community members and the business community has been an unexpected benefit of the environmentally-friendly programs at Indian Grove and Euclid Elementary Schools in the Mt. Prospect-based River Trails School District 26.Â Such collaborative forces led to the Community Garden at Euclid Elementary where everyone worked to determine the gardenÂ location, find topsoil, secure materials and solicit volunteers to build a fence and lay out paths, name the garden, create a logo, determine what to plant, maintain the garden and prepare the vegetables for students to sample. The schools are also investigating rain barrels to ensure water conservation is incorporated.
Illinois is among 39 states and the District of Columbia participating in this yearâ€™s program. Applications for the program, which is in its second year, were submitted to ISBE in early January.Â Nominations reflect the U.S. Department of Educationâ€™s Green Ribbon Schoolsâ€™ three pillars: reduced environmental impact, improved health and wellness, and environmental literacy. The department will announce winners in April.
Each state may submit up to four nominees from public or private schools serving any configuration of K-12 grades to the U.S. Department of Education. If a state nominates more than one public school, at least one must be a school with at least 40 percent of students eligible for free and reduced-priced school meals.
Following the U.S. Department of Educationâ€™s announcement of winners in April 2013, there will be an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in late May 2013.
Last yearâ€™s Illinois finalists were Academy for Global Citizenship and Thomas J. Waters Elementary School, both in Chicago, and Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake.
For more information about the Illinois Green Ribbon School program, visit http://www.isbe.net/green_ribbon/.