July 20, 2016 – Four Louisiana schools named Green Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education were honored Wednesday (July 20) during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, Westdale Heights Academic Magnet in Baton Rouge and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette were nominated for the award by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Education.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada and Deputy Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Baldwin-Metzger joined U.S. Secretary of Education John King on Wednesday to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements.
A total of 47 schools, 15 districts and 11 postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness and ensure effective sustainability education.
Examples of accomplishments from the award winners include Benjamin Franklin High eliminating over 44,000 plastic water bottles from landfills and Westdale Heights diverting approximately 70 percent of its solid waste from landfills. Westdale has reduced energy usage by 27 percent and Baton Rouge Magnet High School by more than 60 percent.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states, Washington, D.C., and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The honorees include 41 public schools and six private schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 27 elementary, 18 middle, and 14 high schools, with several schools having various K-12 configurations. Fifty-one percent of the 2016 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body. The postsecondary honorees include two community colleges and one work-college.
The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission’s Green Schools Program offers educational and funding opportunities to help reduce schools’ environmental impact and health disparities that can provoke achievement gaps. It also engages students in hands-on learning. Instruction and activities complement state curriculum with a solid foundation in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) subjects while teaching civic skills and opening doors to green career pathways.
Louisiana’s nominations were submitted by Brian Gautreau, Green Schools Coordinator at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He can be reached at 225-765-2800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.