For Immediate Release
March 6, 2014
Illinois Green School Award Recipients Announced
Two schools and a district receive state recognition for their conservation efforts
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Thursday announced the state’s three winners of the Illinois Green School Award program. The program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, protect student and staff health and wellness, and offer environmental education. The three recipients are Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake, Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School in Oak Lawn, and Evanston Skokie School District 65 in Evanston.
“As we prepare our students to be successful in the global economy, it is also important to teach them how to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy global environment,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The work of these students and educators is an excellent example of how to weave all three components into teaching and learning for future success.”
Students and staff at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School enjoy filtered drinking water fountains, which protect users from ingesting potential contaminants. Thanks to two refillable water stations, the school has seen a reduction in the amount of plastic bottles discarded and ultimately being taken to landfills. Their paper- recycling program along with a 1:1 netbook program has significantly reduced the school’s paper consumption. They are currently working on the implementation of alternate sources of energy to further reduce environmental impact.
Students in Evanston Skokie School District 65 enjoy at least 120 minutes of physical education per week, including both formal PE classes and free-play recess time. At least 50 percent of the district’s PE classes are conducted outdoors whenever temperatures are above 40 degrees. Solar panels in three of the schools not only conserve energy but are also used for educational purposes. Students can go online and compare the energy generated by the solar panels at various times of the day.
Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake is an early childhood and kindergarten facility that is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to improve the health and wellness of their staff and young students. They have partnered with a local hospital to implement the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program to help support health and wellness in the school and in the community. Administrators and staff believe that exposing young children to environmental topics lays the foundation for future instruction and learning.
The applications for these two schools and the district have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School awards program.
“It’s not just about being green, it’s about creating a learning environment that connects student health and the environment to academic achievement,” said Mark Bishop, Vice President of Policy and Communication, Healthy Schools Campaign. “These winning schools demonstrate that connection and are helping educate the next generation of Illinois’s leaders.”
Illinois is among 38 states and the District of Columbia participating in this year’s program. Applications for the program, which is in its third year, were submitted to ISBE in mid-November. Nominations reflect the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools’ 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 Education’s announcement of winners in April, there will be an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., in late May.
For more information about the Illinois Green Ribbon School program, including a list of previous and current state winners, visit http://www.isbe.net/green_ribbon/.
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