Sustainable Schools
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Awards and Criteria

WV Sustainable Schools is a recognition program for schools that exemplify a commitment to sustainable practices in the facilities as well as integrate those practices into the curriculum and community. Annually, schools will be recognized at several levels for their accomplishments in the criteria below. Awards will also be given for all schools that excel in one of the objectives below, but may not have made the necessary progress to achieve recognition for the overall award.

The top awards for the WV Sustainable Schools program will then be nominated to the U.S. Department of Education as US Green Ribbon Schools. These winners will be announced on Earth Day each year. The criteria for the WV Sustainable Schools program have been aligned with the U.S. Green Ribbon Schools program so that our winners will be very competitive in the federal program.

WV Sustainable Schools and U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Criteria

Objective 1. Environmental and Sustainability Education
  • Interdisciplinary learning about the key relationships between dynamic environmental, energy, and human systems;
  • Authentic use of the environment and sustainability to develop Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) content knowledge and thinking skills to prepare graduates for the 21st century technology-driven economy; and
  • Development of civic engagement knowledge and skills and increase the application of these as students address sustainability and environmental issues in their communities.
Objective 2. Healthy School Environments
  • An integrated school environmental health program based on an operations and facility-wide environmental management system that considers student, visitor, and staff health and safety in all practices related to design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of schools and grounds; and
  • High standards of nutrition, fitness, and quantity of quality outdoor time for both students and staff.
Objective 3. Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency
  • Reduced energy use and/or greenhouse gas emissions through the use of an energy audit or emissions inventory and reduction plan, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, and on-site renewable energy and/or purchase of green power;
  • Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation;
  • Reduced solid and hazardous waste production through increased recycling, reduced consumption, and improved reduction, management, or elimination of hazardous waste streams; and
  • Expanded use of alternative transportation to, during, and from school through active promotion of locally-available, energy-efficient options and implementation of alternative transportation supportive projects and policies.