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Administration Honors U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees; Announces Second Annual Best Practices Tour

White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mark Schaefer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 48 schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including STEM, green careers and civics. In addition, nine districts were honored with the District Sustainability Award.

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

"Healthy, safe and sustainable facilities combined with wellness practices like outdoor physical activity, nutritious food and hands-on environmental learning form a strong foundation for a quality education," said Secretary Duncan. "Today's honorees are leading the way on incorporating best practices to reduce facility costs and increase achievement, health and equity, for all schools—not just aspiring green schools."

"The 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are leading by example for the rest of the country," said Acting Chair Boots. "As they take important steps to improve public health and reduce environmental impacts, like cutting carbon pollution and improving water quality, today's honorees are also increasing efficiency and cutting costs. That's exactly the kind of leadership we need to build a cleaner and safer world."

"We live in a time when ecosystems and the forces that influence them are changing rapidly. Now more than ever, we need to prepare youth for a world in which their understanding of and participation in decisions about resource conservation, environmental protection, and sustainable development will define the quality of their lives," said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Schaefer. This is why U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is so important to individuals, communities, schools, and businesses across America."

Duncan also announced the 2014 "Healthy Schools, High-Achieving Students" Best Practices Tour. The annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour will take place in August-October 2014 and spotlight school environmental health. During the tour, federal, state and local visitors will bring attention to how school facilities, health and wellness, and environmental education affect equity and achievement and highlight best practices that states, districts and schools are using to improve the overall wellness, productivity, and achievement of occupants through health, safety, and educational improvements. This year's tour legs include past and present school and district honorees in Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools were chosen from a pool of candidates nominated by 30 state education agencies. Honorees include 39 public schools and nine private schools. The public schools include 10 early learning programs, three charter, one magnet and three career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 29 elementary, 16 middle and 18 high schools from 27 states. Twenty-one of the 2014 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body, and 18 are rural.

View the list of all selected schools and districts and summaries of each of the 57 honorees. The Department is asking districts to indicate their intent to nominate schools for next year's awards by Aug. 1, 2014. For the first time ever, the 2015 Green Ribbon Schools awards will be open to colleges and universities. States will offer applications for interested schools, districts and postsecondary institutions in the fall. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the criteria for the award can be found here.

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