Michigan Nominates Three Schools for National Green Ribbon Schools Award

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

April 3, 2012

LANSING – Three Michigan schools have been nominated for the National Green Ribbon Schools Award, the Michigan Department of Education announced today.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program will recognize schools that are taking a comprehensive approach to "greening" their school. The program incorporates and integrates environmental learning, with activities that maximize positive environmental and health impacts.

"The greening of schools has several benefits," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "Students learn the value of environmental stewardship while absorbing an education in scientific principles, and the economical savings that comes from using less purchased energy."

In this pilot year for the federal Green Ribbon Schools program, 15 Michigan schools submitted applications to be considered as a nominee. The application criteria and point system was developed by the U.S. Department of Education. These schools needed to be able to demonstrate progress toward the following three ‘pillars':

  1. Environmental impact and energy efficiency
  2. Healthy school environments
  3. Environmental and sustainability education

"This Green Ribbon Schools designation signifies that a school is working on the worthwhile goals of sustainability and energy efficiency," said State Board of Education President John C. Austin.

A state review committee selected the following top-rated nominees to send to the U.S. Department of Education:

Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Detroit

The Detroit Edison Public School Academy has been taking a comprehensive approach to greening their school for several years by working with community partnerships to create a net zero environmental impact and to insure that all of the school's graduates are environmentally and sustainably literate.

The school established Green Teams to focus on renewable/alternative energy, conservation, and ecology. The Engineering Society of Detroit introduced the students to Future City Competitions and Robotics. Detroit Edison PSA was awarded the Michigan Green Schools Evergreen (highest) level and most recently, was invited this year to present its students' work on green science at the 2012 National Green School Conference in Denver Colorado.

Clarkston High School, Clarkston Community Schools

All students, staff, administrators and community members are ‘energy savers' in the Clarkston Community School's energy management program, which monitors energy usage for each building, shares the data regularly, establishes and upholds energy policies and promotes involvement in green initiatives.

The school has an arrangement with the local refrigeration design company to donate scrap and waste insulation form material to its classrooms to use in grades 6-12 in design projects for prototyping, modeling and aerodynamic analysis. Career and Technical Education students imbed green and sustainability education into their programs. As an example, Civil Engineering and Architecture students design commercial structures with green space roofs and gray water reclamation systems.

Springfield Plains Elementary School, Clarkston Community Schools
Students of the Springfield Plains Elementary School and the local community recycle paper through the Abitibi Paper Retriever program. Community members place their household recyclable paper in a bin outside the school. Within the school, student groups empty classroom recycle bins weekly, separate Styrofoam trays, milk cartons and soup cans and use a bar graph to demonstrate to the students how many tons of paper have been recycled, the amount of money saved through the program and how much landfill space has been saved.

Students have created an energy patrol which consists of one student from each class to monitor electricity use within the classroom and record when appliances are being left on without use.


The state review committee for the Green Ribbon Schools program consisted of recognized experts from various state departments and national organizations. The following representatives were a part of the review team:

Kristine Moffett, Michigan Green Schools Foundation
Julia Liljegren, National Wildlife Federation, Regional Education Advocacy Office
Tom Shireman, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Energy Office
Tom Occhipinti, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Education Coordinator
Maggie Fields, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Mercury P2 and Green Building
Carrie Tarry, Public Safety and Environmental Health, Michigan Department of Community Health
Linda Scarpetta, Public Safety and Environmental Health, Michigan Department of Community Health
Kyle Guerrant, Coordinated School Health and Safety, Michigan Department of Education
Deb Rowe, US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
Renae Hesselink, Chair of US Green Building Council, West Michigan Chapter

These three schools chosen received the highest rating and represent the strongest candidates of those that applied, the selection committee said.

A nomination packet was sent to the U.S. Department of Education for each of the three schools. National award winners will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education later in April.

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