Virginia Green Ribbon Schools
This prestigious award is given to select schools across the nation that The U.S. Department of Education (USED) Green Ribbon Schools recognizes as schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement. This voluntary federal program rewards schools that meet criteria in three goals:
As part of the Green Ribbon Schools Application, schools and districts need to provide information on three different areas.
- Goal 1: Reduce environmental impact and costs. Support for this goal can be found at VDOE Healthy Buildings.
- Goal 2: Improve the health and wellness of students and staff. Support for this goal can be found at VDOE School Nutrition and VDOE Physical Education.
- Goal 3: Provide effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways. VDOE support for this can be found in the 2018 Science Standards of Learning.
Green Ribbon Schools Application
VDOE Application Materials 2020-2021
|September 21, 2021||VDOE issues school and school division applications and guidelines for soliciting and selecting nominees for submission to USED.|
|October 23, 2020||Intent to submit forms due to the VDOE.|
|December 11, 2020||Deadline for schools and school divisions to submit application to the VDOE for nomination.|
|December, 2020||VDOE convenes review committee to review applications against eligibility requirements and USED criteria.|
|February - March 2021||USED verifies that nominees meet eligibility requirements and have been evaluated against USED criteria. USED, with assistance from the EPA, then reviews and rates schools and school divisions based on eligibility criteria.|
|April 22, 2021||USED hosts national award announcement.|
|Summer, 2021||USED hosts national recognition award ceremony.|
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish expectations of what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects. The SOL in certain disciplines support Environmental Literacy explicitly and in others implicitly. The Environmental Literacy Web page offers connections to the Virginia Standards of Learning, School Programs in Action, Teaching Resources, Grant Programs, and more.
Programs to support the Journey to USED Green Ribbon Schools
Virginia Naturally School Program
The Virginia Naturally Recognition Program is a building block program for Green Ribbon Schools. The program recognizes schools for incorporating the environment into their curriculum, conducting energy and water audits as well as establishing an outdoor classroom. The VA Naturally Recognition Program is not a competition, it recognizes schools for the steps they take each year to help students become environmentally literate citizens.
VSBA Green Schools
The VSBA Green Schools Challenge is a friendly competition designed to encourage implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce the carbon emissions generated by both the local school division and the broader community. School Divisions can become a certified "Green School Division." Many of these actions can save local school divisions money. Find out if your school division is a past winner of the VSBA Green Schools Challenge-This is a PDF document.
Project Learning Tree Green Schools
Project Learning Tree® (PLT) GreenSchools! is a nationwide environmental service-learning program that inspires students to take personal responsibility for improving the environment at their school, at home, and in their community. Students, teachers, and school staff receive tools, training, and resources for student-led Green Teams to create healthier schools – and save money. PLT GreenSchools! helps improve students’ academic performance in science, technology, engineering, and math, develops students’ critical thinking skills, and grows student leaders.
U.S. Green Building Council – Greater Virginia Chapter
The USGBC Greater Virginia chapter challenges K-12 schools across the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia regions to develop and implement the most creative, effective, no or low cost sustainable practices for their schools. The program aims to increase environmental stewardship, strengthen community outreach, encourage creativity, and complement curriculum development. Participating schools can target projects that aim to lower operating maintenance costs; improve indoor air quality; conserve natural resources, and more! Schools are matched with volunteer mentors to help guide project development and implementation.