Delco, Philadelphia Schools Celebrated As U.S. Dept. Of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Tuesday at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg, environmental and educational advocates gathered to honor the School District of Philadelphia and Coebourn Elementary School in Delaware County as Pennsylvania’s 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
“Pennsylvania’s Green Ribbon Schools serve as a model for teaching the value of environmental stewardship through the infusion of real-world experiences into the classroom,” said state Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “I applaud the School District of Philadelphia and Coebourn Elementary School for their efforts to promote conservation and awareness, and thank them for their contributions to their communities.”
Secretary Patrick McDonnell from the Department of Environmental Protection; Secretary Cindy Dunn from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Nick Semon, President of PA Green & Healthy Schools Partnership; John Armstead, U.S. EPA Region 3 Deputy Regional Administrator; and lawmakers and advocates were present at the event to offer their congratulations to the schools.
“The efforts of Coebourn Elementary and the School district of Philadelphia prove that reducing our environmental impacts, educating the next generation to be good stewards of our natural resources, and saving money are all interconnected,” said Secretary McDonnell. “Our future depends on understanding, and protecting, our environment, and these schools exemplify a stellar commitment.”
School District Of Philadelphia
The School District of Philadelphia was recognized for its five-year sustainability plan, during which the district has pledged to make all schools “green schools” by 2020.
The district has incorporated sustainability-infused curriculum, professional development opportunities for teachers and operations staff, and monthly Education for Sustainability meetings with a committee of curriculum specialists, environmental staff, and external partners.
In May 2016 the district launched its first five-year sustainability plan, called GreenFutures.
The plan aims to reduce energy consumption districtwide, increase waste diversion from landfills, increase school green spaces, and create healthy indoor environments and healthy living habits.
Below are examples of just some of the many green initiatives the district has undertaken:
-- Home to 19 registered National Wildlife Federation EcoSchools and a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
-- LEED certifications have been obtained for eight district schools.
-- The district implemented a comprehensive recycling program at 42 schools and plans to implement full recycling programs at every school within five years.
-- Construction of large green stormwater infrastructure projects was completed at 31 schools.
-- In 2011, the district was awarded the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Great Start Award for establishing an indoor environmental quality program that was based upon the EPA’s Tools for Schools program.
-- In 2016 a minimum of three hydration stations were installed at every school. These are filtered for lead, chilled, and have a bottle filling counter to illustrate to students how many water bottles are saved from landfills by using the stations.
-- The district uses certified Green Seal cleaning products.
-- Sustainability-infused curriculum, professional development opportunities for teachers and operations staff, and the intentional shift in organizational culture toward sustainability is a priority for the School District of Philadelphia.
Coebourn Elementary School
Coebourn Elementary School, in the Penn Delco School District, demonstrated a commitment to sustainability education through classroom lessons, school-wide announcements, and professional development.
Coebourn’s Green Committee established monthly green activities for the entire school community, and students get hands-on experience through participation in service projects and groups like the Compost Club.
Coebourn Elementary is a new construction in the Penn-Delco School District that opened in January 2015.
During construction of the Coebourn Elementary, the district opted for a hybrid geothermal HVAC system, replaced several dual-fuel large boilers with high efficiency gas fired boilers and domestic hot water heaters, and installed heat wheels and reheat systems.
Coebourn uses low-flow fixtures throughout the school. There is no irrigation system onsite; grass is watered by rain only. The site includes rain gardens and stormwater inlets.
Coebourn has implemented and maintains a single stream recycling program with Waste Management as its partner. Coebourn’s science curriculum includes a deep understanding and connections to life, physical, and earth sciences.
“In addition to protecting the environment, and the health of students and teachers, green schools provide great opportunities for teaching young people, who are our next generation of conservationists,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
Since 2011, the ED-GRS program has nominated schools, districts, and institutions of higher education across the country for their dedication to reducing environmental impact and cost, improving health and wellness of schools, and providing environmental education to students.
Nationally, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions were named 2017 Green Ribbon Schools.
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools webpage.
For information on how you can turn your school green, visit the PA Green & Healthy Schools Partnership website.
[Posted: June 28, 2017]
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