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Public schools draw U.S. honors for 'green' advances


Arlington public schools have received congratulations for achievements in sustainability at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Honoring the district Friday, Sept. 21, as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Awardee were Louisa Koch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration education director; James L. Elder, director, of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy; Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council; and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan.

The Arlington district was nominated by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The district’s recognition is based on three areas: reducing greenhouse gases; addressing the nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and overall health of students and staff; and teaching curricula that addresses environmental topics at the elementary, middle and high school level.

Greenhouse-gas initiatives cited include composting lunchroom food waste; solar panels on six school buildings (with display screens in each of the participating schools to educate the school community about how much clean energy each school is producing); LED exterior lighting; and kitchen upgrades.
Wellness is supported by the Arlington EATS program, which provides daily healthy snacks in collaboration with the Arlington Food Pantry. Mindfulness-based programs and before and after school fitness opportunities also improve wellness.

At the elementary and middle school level, many of the science classes address environmental topics, aligning with the Massachusetts science and technology/engineering curriculum framework. The high school offers several classes that include environmental science and policy issues.

Superintendent Kathleen Bodie represented the district at the award ceremony.

“Arlington Public Schools was recognized along with impressive peers today in Washington, D.C. It is an honor to be cited at the federal level for our district sustainability efforts," she said in a district news release. “Our students learn they are powerful change makers, with the strong support of the Town of Arlington, parents, teachers and staff. Our school Green Teams, together with the support of the School Sustainability Coordinator Rachel Oliveri, make our schools more sustainable every day.”

At the event, 46 schools and six districts were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, six colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award.

Representatives from honored schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

The town of Arlington was designated a Green Community by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in 2010. Among other things, APS earned this designation by committing to reducing municipal energy use by 20 percent within five years, a goal the district met in 2014.

For more information about the federal recognition award, click here >> 

Sept. 1, 2018: HOT NEWS: What Arlingtonians are doing about climate change

This news announcement was published Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

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