Compass School
Compass, Providence Career-Tech among 64 nationwide winners
The U.S. Department of Education has named two Rhode Island schools – The Compass School and the Providence Career and Technical Academy – as 2013 Green Ribbon Schools.

They are among 64 schools (and among only 54 public schools) to receive this award.

According to a U.S. Department of Education announcement, the Green Ribbon Schools are honored “for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, along with the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, and the Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Bob Persiacepe, announced the awards yesterday (April 22, 2013).

“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.”

“Rhode Island has had a long-standing commitment to environmental education in our communities and in our schools,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. “It is very important that we educate a generation of students to be stewards of our natural resources, and it is equally important that our school buildings represent the highest standards for energy use and efficiency. I am proud that the U.S. Department of Education has recognized some of the excellent work under way in Rhode Island schools.”

“These awards from the U.S. Department of Education honor two of our schools for leading the way in environmental studies and in energy-efficient school construction,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. “It’s important now to use these schools as examples that others can follow as we encourage all of our schools to ‘go green.’ ”

“It is wonderful to see our schools serve as living classrooms – places for great instruction about the environment and models for effective, efficient, and beautiful design and construction,” said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We want all of our schools to be excellent places for teaching and learning, and we want to continue supporting programs that prepare students for careers in environmental science and related fields. Congratulations to the Compass School and the Providence Career and Technical Academy on winning 2013 Green Ribbon Schools awards.”

The Compass School, a charter public school based in South Kingstown, was founded in 2002. Compass is one of only seven charter public schools to win a Green Ribbon award this year. The U.S. Department of Education honored the school in part because:

  • the school uses its 20 acres of property as an outdoor classroom;
  • the school holds an annual EcoFair for surrounding communities, featuring student presentations on environmental projects; and
  • the school hosts an annual “Celebration of Local Foods” involving local farmers, restaurants, and wineries.

“The Compass School is honored to receive national recognition through receipt of the Green Ribbon Award for the school’s focus on environmental sustainability,” said Allen Zipke, director of the Compass School. “Success in this area involves students, teachers, parents, and community members working together on environmental initiatives.”

The Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA), part of the Providence Public Schools, was one of three Rhode Island Green Ribbon Schools last year. The U.S. Department of Education honored the school with a national award this year in part because:

  • in each of the five construction-based career-technical programs in the school, students focus on green building technology;
  • the school produces 15 percent of its energy on site; and
  • the school recycles as much material as possible, including all motor oil from the automotive program, cooking oil from the culinary program, and sawdust from carpentry classes.

“We are so pleased that the Providence Career and Technical Academy has been identified for a Green Ribbon Award for the second consecutive year,” said Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi. “We continue to strive toward providing high-quality learning environments for students while reducing our environmental footprint, and PCTA is an aspirational model for this effort.”

The PCTA is the third Providence public school to win a national Green Ribbon award. Last year, the initial year of the Green Ribbon program, two Providence schools won the award: Classical High School and the Nathan Bishop Middle School.

The U.S. Department of Education notes that it is looking forward to a third year of the program and that it will publish updated competition criteria this summer.

For further information from the U.S. Department of Education about the two award-winning schools, click here and go to “What’s New: Highlights from the 2013 Honorees.” For the list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, click here. For the U.S. Department of Education news release announcing the 2013 Green Ribbon Schools, click here.