U.S. Secretary of Education Names OAK PARK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardee
April 22, 2013
Today U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, along with the Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe, announced that the Oak Park Unified School District in Oak Park, CA, is among the 14 nationwide honorees of the first ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award. The honored districts were selected for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics, STEM and green career pathways. In addition, 64 schools were announced as 2013 Green Ribbon schools.
Oak Park USD was nominated by the California Department of Education for outstanding environmental education as evidenced by the Ideas to Impact program and QuikScience projects, Sustainability Fairs, Shark and Whale Weeks, special movie nights with conservation related themes, school gardens, and the many efforts organized by the District’s Environmental Education and Awareness Committee such as Earth Week and World Water Week. Additionally, the District’s Wellness practices related to the serving of healthy and sustainable foods was noted. The green building efforts were also recognized that include the installation of cool roofs, energy saving lighting and air conditioning systems, and parking lot infiltration systems to name a few.
“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said Secretary 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." “Preparing students for success in the 21st century economy begins in our schools. The schools and districts being honored today are modeling the best practices in reducing environmental impact and cutting costs, creating a healthier learning environment, and providing students with an education geared toward the jobs of the future,” said Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley.
"EPA is proud to join the Department of Education in recognizing our nation's U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for their remarkable efforts to create healthier learning spaces and educate students on the importance of environmental protection," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "U.S. Department of Education 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. 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."