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W.Va. Schools Honored for Environmentally Sound Practices

April 17, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education has nominated three public schools and one private school to be considered for the U.S. Green Ribbon School Award honoring sound environmental practices. Four schools also were named inaugural West Virginia Sustainable Schools for their efforts.

The four schools nominated for the Green Ribbon program are Hilltop Elementary School in Marshall County; Musselman High School in Berkeley County; Wyoming County Career and Technical Center; and Our Lady of Fatima Parish School in Cabell County. Winners will be announced April 23 and honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 4.

In the state awards, Hilltop received the Black Bear Award for the Highest Achievement, while three other schools received the Maple Leaf Award for excellence in one content area: Musselman, Environmental and Sustainability Education; Wheeling Country Day School,  Healthy School Environments, Wyoming County Career and Technical Center, Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency of the Facility.           

“West Virginia schools are making great strides toward creating healthy environments in schools, including some that have become Energy Star schools for their conservation efforts” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “We want to recognize schools that strengthen that work by imbedding sustainability practices into all aspects of school life.”

Both the federal and state programs recognize schools that exemplify a commitment to sustainable practices in their facilities. They also have worked to integrate those practices into the curriculum and helped build healthy and sustainable communities. All schools must meet rigorous standards in three criteria: environmental and sustainability education; healthy school environments; and environmental impact and energy efficiency of facilities.

Schools named West Virginia Sustainable Schools must agree to work to save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement. The state program is a joint project of the West Virginia Department of Education; Canaan Valley Institute; the West Virginia School Building Authority; the U.S. Green Building Council, West Virginia Chapter; the West Virginia Environmental Education Association; the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; the West Virginia Division of Energy; McKinley and Associates; Green School Leadership Institute; and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

The Green Ribbon Schools program is part of a U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.

“Green schools and environmental literacy complement the goals of providing a well-rounded education for the 21st century, of modernizing schools at reduced costs, and of accelerating learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

For more information, contact the WVDE Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.

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