U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced 2013 National Green Ribbon Schools Monday, and among them is Kenston High School in Chagrin Falls.
In its second year, the federal program seeks to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education.
Kenston generates 70 percent of its energy with an onsite wind turbine and another 5 percent with passive solar water heating. It has saved 500,000 gallons of water by eliminating irrigation and installing low-flow faucets, and has increased recycled waste by 1.6 tons since 2009. The school incorporates environmental data into its curriculum and hosts the student organization Envirothon. Kenston is also a three-time recipient of the Buckeye Best Healthy Schools Gold Award.
“I applaud the innovative measures used each day at Kenston High School,” state Superintendent Dick Ross said in a release. “Kenston is teaching its boys and girls to be conscious of the environment [and] to be good stewards of the community’s resources, and, at the same time, blending these lessons into its curriculum.”
Pennsylvania, California, Wisconsin and Washington led the nation with five Green Ribbon awards each this year, followed by Massachusetts, Minnesota and Alabama with four, and Kentucky, West Virginia, Florida, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland and Washington, D.C. with three.
“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” Duncan said in a statement. “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.”
A total of 32 state education agencies, which must nominate Green Ribbon candidates, participated in 2013, up from 28 in 2012, the first year of the program.
Ohio had two Green Ribbon schools last year, Loveland High School and North Adams Elementary School.
Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also congratulated Green Ribbon winners.
“U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Green Ribbon Schools are not only cutting costs thanks to energy-saving practices and use of more efficient technology, but they’re also reducing instances of pollution-related illnesses like asthma, a leading cause of student absence,” Perciasepe said. “The students who attend these schools are better prepared than ever to become the next generation of environmental stewards and bring about a healthier, more sustainable future.”