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February 27, 2024
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Announces New York State Nominee for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Putnam County School Nominated for Sustainable, Energy-Efficient School Model

The State Education Department (NYSED) today announced that it has nominated the Garrison School for recognition as a nominee for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS). NYSED selected Garrison School for its numerous initiatives to provide all students with an interactive, clean, and sustainable environment. The Garrison School serves students in grades PreK-8 in the Garrison Union Free School District in Putnam County, New York.

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “I commend the students and staff at Garrison School for their commitment to building a cleaner, greener future for all. They are not only learning about the critical importance of a clean world but are also taking concrete steps every day to bring that vision to life.” 

Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “The Garrison School was our choice because of the impressive efforts to involve every student in environmental education. Integrating the information, abilities, attitudes, and values required to create and motivate a sustainable future for everybody is a collaborative, multidisciplinary endeavor and we applaud the Garrison School community for their efforts.”   

The Department nominated the Garrison School in recognition of its dedication to educating every student about the importance of the environment and for making sustainability a “fundamental principle” within the school community.

The School has taken or is currently taking, the following actions to improve its sustainability and to foster students’ understanding of the environment: transitioning from oil-powered boilers to fully electric air-forced heat pumps and eliminating gas-powered water heaters; utilizing bus route planning software, which allows the School to maximize bus trips and eliminate the need for one of its buses; utilizing its expansive grounds to hold PE classes outdoors for much of the year and to host the Garrison Gardening Club; and employing a fulltime Coordinator of Environmental Education who works to actively integrate environmental education into the curriculum across all grade levels – among many other initiatives.

ED-GRS recognizes schools where staff, students, officials, and communities have worked together to produce energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthy school environments and to ensure the environmental literacy of graduates. This recognition 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, workforce preparedness, and a government-wide goal to increase energy independence and economic security. 

To be named a Green Ribbon School, a state-nominated school must demonstrate high achievement in each of the three ED-GRS Pillars:

  1. Reducing environmental impact and costs;
  2. Improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and
  3. Providing effective environmental and sustainability education.

The U.S. Secretary of Education plans to announce national honorees the week of Earth Day, April 22, and honor them at a ceremony in Washington, DC, in the summer or fall.

For more information on Green Ribbon Schools, please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools website

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