William Tyler Page Elementary School and John Poole Middle School have been selected as recipients of the 2017 U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Award. They are among 45 winning schools from across the nation.
The Green Ribbon Schools Award program, established in 2011, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and recognizes 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 award is a reflection of our commitment to foster healthy and productive learning spaces for all students and reduce the impact we have on the environment,” said Superintendent Jack Smith. “Congratulations to the staff, students and community members whose efforts have led to this national recognition.”
At Page Elementary School, each classroom has a representative from the green team who acts as a Green School leader for their peers. Their responsibilities are to ensure lights are off, blinds are down at the end of the day, and computers are shut down properly after using the computer lab. Team members ensure there are stickers next to light switches, and that others are recycling in classrooms by posting signs in bins about what can be recycled. Third to fifth grade green team ambassadors monitor breakfast and lunch recycling procedures. The Green Team has been in existence since 2005, and has grown from five students to 100 students in a school of 410 students, where more than 50 percent are eligible for the Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) program.
For 13 years, John Poole Middle School has completed environmental projects that have been supported by several organizations. Key partners include: Snitzer Landscaping, Lowe’s, Clean Air Partners, Audubon Society, Chesapeake Bay Trust, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which helped complete a series of erosion prevention gardens and the creation of an outdoor classroom. Poole students have come to expect regular outdoor learning, with opportunities to improve the schoolyard and building sustainability. From water conservation to energy reduction, John Poole students are involved in stewardship. For example, students painted signs over four storm drains on school property to remind community members that what goes into the stream goes into the Bay, while others created designs that surround light switches to remind staff and students to turn the lights off. The school has fostered environmental awareness since its doors opened in 1997 through a tradition of completing environmental stewardship projects every year, with students taking an active role in problem solving and suggesting solutions for issues in the schoolyard.
Six other Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have received the national Green Ribbon Schools Award since its inception: Sligo Middle School in 2016, Northwest High School in 2015, Travilah Elementary School in 2014, Cedar Grove and Summit Hall elementary schools in 2013, and Francis Scott Key Middle School in 2012. MCPS also was selected as the recipient of the District Sustainability Award in 2013, which recognizes school systems that demonstrate a comprehensive approach to sustainability.
The 2017 Green Ribbon Schools Award was presented to 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools