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Awards to USA, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands Schools, School Districts, and IHEs for Outstanding School Sustainability Practices

ELIGIBILITY:

Geographic Focus

USA: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew York CityNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashington, DCWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

USA Territories: Puerto Rico (USA)Virgin Islands (USA)

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Green Ribbon Schools

United States Department of Education


Agency: Federal

GrantWatch ID #148039

Grant Description

Awards to USA, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands schools, school districts, and IHEs to recognize excellence in implementing school sustainability practices. Award recipients will be honored for demonstrating achievement in the reduction of environmental impact and costs, sustainability and environmental education, and enhancement of school health and wellness. The purpose of the award program is to highlight cost-saving, health promoting, and performance-enhancing sustainability practices that will encourage other institutions and districts to adopt similarly innovative practices.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a public engagement initiative structured as a federal recognition award for school sustainability. It helps to facilitate state and local collaboration around school facilities, health, and environmental education. 

ED-GRS nominees must show progress in each of the following areas:

  1. Reducing environmental impacts, such as waste, water, energy, greenhouse gases, and transportation in the areas of facilities, grounds, and operations; 
  2. Improving health and wellness through coordinated school health, with consideration to air quality, contaminant control, acoustics, daylighting, thermal comfort, school nutrition, and outdoors physical activity; and 
  3. Offering effective environmental and sustainability education that emphasizes hands-on, real-world learning, civic engagement, STEM connections, and green career preparation. 

For further information on each of these 3 Pillars and Elements, see the Eligibility page listed in Pre-Application Information below.

ED's award is called "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools" and has "District Sustainability Award" and "Postsecondary Sustainability Award" categories.

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Eligibility:

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)
  • State Agencies

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Secretary of Education invites Chief State School Officers (CSSOs) and state higher education executive officers (SHEEOs) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, as well as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) ("Nominating Authorities"), to nominate schools, districts, and IHEs that they have determined as meeting the criteria to be an ED-GRS.

ED Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees: Each authority is permitted as many as five pre-K–12 school or district nominations. For nomination as a district, the administrative unit must be comprised of multiple schools. If a state or comparable authority wishes to nominate more than two schools or districts, at least one must serve at least 40 percent of students from a disadvantaged background. No more than one of the five nominees in this pre-K–12 category may be a private school. A school or district may be selected as an honoree only once. Early learning institutions are eligible in this category.

Postsecondary Sustainability Award: In addition to a total of five school and district nominees, each state may nominate one IHE 3 for progress in all three Pillars. For this award, state selection committees are encouraged to consider diverse types of institutions. An IHE may be selected as an honoree only once. While ED is not bound to selecting particular numbers of honorees, the final national cohort will be reflective of the full range of types of IHEs, including two- and four-year institutions and public and private institutions.

Pre-Application Information:

ED-GRS Annual Timeline:
- Spring: ED provides refreshed criteria for subsequent awards cycle
- Summer: State education authorities publish their applications for school, district, and postsecondary categories.
- Fall: Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions complete and submit applications to state education authorities.
- Winter: State education authorities close competitions and review and select nominees.
- February: State education authorities submit nominees to ED by February 1. They set their own state-specific application deadlines to allow them time to review and select nominees.
- Spring: ED announces national awardees in spring, normally on Earth Day, April 22.
- Fall: ED hosts national award ceremony.

The Secretary of Education invites Chief State School Officers (CSSOs) and state higher education executive officers (SHEEOs), as well as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), to nominate schools, districts, and IHEs that they have determined as meeting the criteria to be an ED-GRS.

Note: Schools, districts, colleges and universities do not apply for the award to ED, but to their state education authorities, whether K-12 or postsecondary. Candidates must contact their state departments of education (or equivalent DoDEA or BIE jurisdictions) or state higher education authorities for information on selection in each state. (State participation in the award is voluntary and not all state education authorities choose to nominate.)

Many states use an application to select nominees, but do not have to offer a distinct application for this award. They may already know of good candidates and work with them to document their achievements. In other cases, states already have programs that ask that schools document their sustainability work and re-purpose those program applications for this nomination. In addition, ED offers an example application format to states.

The selectees are invited to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. where they receive a sustainable plaque; are the subject of media attention; and feel their efforts celebrated. Other schools, in turn, learn about and adopt their practices. States are encouraged to offer additional state recognition titles and events, and to partner with private sector to offer cash prizes, amplifying the impact of their award implementation.

Eligibility: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/eligibility.html

Applicant Information: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/applicant.html

FAQs: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/faq.html

Resources: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/resources.html

Additional Funding Information:

Number of Grants:

Each authority is invited to nominate up to five schools or school districts and a single IHE. (For ED Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees, each authority is permitted as many as five pre-K–12 school or district nominations. For the Postsecondary Sustainability Award, each state may nominate one IHE 3 for progress in all three Pillars.)

Estimated Size of Grant:

The selectees are invited to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. where they receive a sustainable plaque and are the subject of media attention.

Contact Information:

To contact the state departments of education (or equivalent jurisdictions) or state higher education authorities for information on selection in each state, see contact information at https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/contacts.html

US Dept. of Education
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202

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