About U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and Green Strides
Created in 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions that are demonstrating leadership in three Pillars: 1) reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation; 2) improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness; and 3) providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.
The award is a communications tool to encourage state education, health, and environment authorities, stakeholders, and school communities to consider matters of facilities, health and environment comprehensively, strengthening the critical collaborations that ensure all of our nation's schools are healthier, safer, and more sustainable. In order to be selected for federal recognition, schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions must be demonstrating progress in all three Pillars, not just one area.
In early 2013, ED added Green Strides to connect all school communities with the free, publicly-available resources from a variety of sources that these recognition award honorees effectively use. The Green Strides portal is intended as a one-stop-shop for resources, webinars, case studies, promising practices and collaboration so that all schools can make progress across every Pillar of the award.
In 2015, to offer a more dynamic and user-friendly web portal, Green Strides was moved off of ed.gov through the generous assistance of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.
About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
The Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council (the Center) is one of about 80 non-profit organizations that requested and supported the creation of ED-GRS. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. The Center was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy learning environments.
The Center believes ED-GRS is inextricably tied to the success of healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century learning (known as ‘the green schools movement’) because the criteria are high-level and comprehensive, yet the structure flexible and inclusive, incentivizing change and new collaboration at federal, state, district, and school levels. The Center has worked to build support for ED-GRS in myriad ways, including the improved Green Strides website.