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August 6, 2015
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JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

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New York State Education Department Announces 5th Year of Participation in Green Ribbon Schools Program; Public and Nonpublic Schools Invited to Apply

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today that New York State is participating in the fifth year of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program, and invites public and nonpublic schools to apply for this national recognition.

“This national award inspires schools to strive for excellence by highlighting outstanding efforts to create energy efficient and sustainable school environments”, said Commissioner Elia.  “The Board of Regents and I encourage public and nonpublic schools to apply for the Green Ribbon Schools Program.”

The ED-GRS program recognizes schools where staff, students, officials and communities have worked together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments and to ensure the sustainability and environmental literacy of graduates.  The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide goal to increase energy independence and economic security.

The Green Ribbon Schools recognition award will be given to schools that have demonstrated high achievement in all three ED-GRS Pillars:

  • Pillar I:   Reduce environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation;
  • Pillar II:  Improve the health and wellness of students and staff, covering environmental health and nutrition and fitness; and
  • Pillar III: Provide effective environmental and sustainability education, requiring robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Public and nonpublic schools are eligible to apply and should submit their applications to the New York State Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning.  Commissioner Elia is permitted to nominate as many as five PreK-12 applicants to the ED-GRS program.  If NYS nominates more than two schools, at least one school must serve at least 40 percent of students from a disadvantaged background.  If NYSED nominates five PreK-12 schools, one must be a nonpublic school.  No more than one nominee may be a nonpublic school.  A school may only be honored once.

Submission details, including the program timeline and application process, are available at  For more information on the ED-GRS Green Ribbon Schools program, please visit





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