Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins today became one of 64 schools nationally and the only one in Colorado to receive the U.S. Department of Education’s prestigious Green Ribbon Award, honored for “exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.”
In addition, Douglas County School District is among 14 districts honored for the first-ever District Sustainability Award.
“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs; improve health, performance and equity; and provide an education geared toward the jobs of the future. In fact, the selected districts are saving millions of dollars as a result of their greening efforts. And the great thing is that the resources these honorees are using are available for free to all schools.”
Built in 2005, Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School features geothermal heating and cooling, wind powered electricity and open-space daylight features. Kinard is also the only school in Colorado that scores a perfect 100 based on Energy Star rating standards.
Meanwhile, the feds credited Douglas County School District for building a sustainability initiative based on student-led programs. Efforts support the three “legs” of sustainability — social, environmental and economic. The program has grown from 11 students in one class to more than 3,000 students running the energy program across more than 60 schools. Electrical use has dropped over 20 percent and recycling and gardening are growing throughout the district, according to the CDE.
The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 32 state education agencies. The list of selectees includes 54 public schools and 10 private schools. The public schools include seven charter, five magnet and four career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 40 elementary, 23 middle and 19 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Over half of the 2013 honorees serve a student body more than 40 percent of which is eligible for free and reduced price lunch. The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here.