April 22, 2016 – Four Louisiana schools have been named Earth Day-Green Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, including Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School in Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The schools were nominated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Education.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. and Managing Director of the White House Council of Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss made the announcement in Washington on Friday (April 22).
Across the country, 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.
“I congratulate these schools, districts and postsecondary institutions for their commitment to sustainable facilities, health, and classroom practices,” King said. “The healthiest, most inspiring school facilities can and should be another tool to level the playing field, particularly for underserved students. These honorees are 21st century learning environments that encourage every student and teacher to perform at his or her best.”
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.
"Baton Rouge High Magnet High School is honored to be selected as a 2016 U. S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School,'' Principal Nanette McCann said. "Our entire faculty, staff, student body, administration and parents played a large part in this effort, but our environmental science teacher, Josetta LeBoeuf, made this happen through her dedication and hard work. We want to give a special thanks to Aramark and Sandra Lizano for their help in the project."
"We are honored that the U.S. Department of Education chose UL Lafayette as one of 11 universities to be named a Green Ribbon School,'' University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joseph Savoie said. "From our founding president planting live oaks to all that we do today in the classroom, labs, research, community service and operational functions, the University remains committed to environmental sustainability and innovation.''
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.