This is seventh year for U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program
TOPEKA — Manhattan-Ogden Unified School District 383 is among six districts across the country to be designated a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability awardee.
The announcement was made Wednesday, May 16, by the U.S. Department of Education. Across the country, 46 schools, six districts and six postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs; improve health and wellness; and ensure effective sustainability education.
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 was named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas Association for Conservation in Environmental Education (KACEE) worked with Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 on the nomination process.
“The district has had a long-standing vision to educate each student to be a contributing citizen in a changing, diverse society by championing responsible and ethical decision-making to highlight long-term zero waste goals,” according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Education. “The timeline of the district’s collective efforts dates back to many individual efforts of teachers and staff over many years, all of whom have led the charge to support sustainable change.”
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 during the 2013-2014 school year began the process by seeking input, data and funds through grant writing and waste audits. Since 2013, the district has been awarded about $250,000 from local, state and federal sources to invest in projects that allow students to have access to tools for environmental learning, the U.S. Department of Education said.
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 during the 2014-2015 school year focused on schoolwide recycling. The district has been diverting millions of pounds of trash from the solid waste stream into commingled recycling bins. In the 2016-2017 school year, the district created makerspaces called Repurposing and Recycling Education Space (RARES). These makerspaces provide hands-on places where people can build prototypes of models and explore ideas — everything from wind-powered covered wagons to recycled robot characters. The RARES are in libraries, community centers and classrooms.
This past school year, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 created a Green Champion team to connect faculty, students, community partners and parents in an effort to affect widespread change in classrooms, homes and the community. The team meets six times per year and for a week during the summer months to brainstorm solutions and organize community gatherings that focus on environmental education.
“As a diverse and dynamic community with shifting demographics, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 benefits from established partnerships like Kansas Green Schools, multiple Kansas State University connections and strong relationships with more than 60 community organizations, businesses and individuals,” the U.S. Department of Education said. “Collaboration and instructional excellence are hallmarks of a culture centered on student success.”
KSDE partners with KACEE to work with school districts that want to apply for the award. This is the seventh year for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program, and this is the first time a Kansas school district has received this designation.
All awardees are invited to celebrate their accomplishments during a ceremony Sept. 19, 2018, at the U.S. Department of Education and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
In 2012, three schools in Kansas were designated as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. They were Eisenhower High School, Goddard USD 265; Erie High School, Erie USD 101; and Brookwood Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512. Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512, received the designation in 2013.
The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html. Schools and districts that are interested in more information or applying can visit http://www.kansasgreenschools.org/kansas-green-ribbon-schools.
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