OCPS one of 15 U.S. districts awarded Green Ribbon

District environmental commitments have led to recognition as one of the best sustainable school districts in the nation.

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  • | 12:36 p.m. May 1, 2016
  • Southwest Orange
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ORANGE COUNTY  Officials in the U.S. Department of Education have named Orange County Public Schools a 2016 Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardee, one of only 15 districts in the nation. Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss and U.S. Secretary of Education John King made the announcement April 22 in Washington, D.C.

Personnel at the Florida Department of Education nominated OCPS based on long-range sustainability goals on a whole-district level. Among examples, they cited OCPS's recycling program, which they said saved more than 55 million pounds of materials from landfills and more than $600,000 in the past three years. Recycled items include universal waste, metal, petroleum waste, electronic waste, yard waste, used tires, textbooks, district records, single-stream materials and construction site waste.

Thirty-six OCPS schools have been designed and constructed within a sustainable rating system, and another 16 schools under design or construction should receive similar ratings, according to FDOE reports. District authorities have started a Green Schools Recognition Program, with a purpose of encouraging sustainable cultures. Areas of focus are energy efficiency, transportation, waste, water, health and well-being, school grounds and innovation, with outcomes in nutrition, school gardens, security, air quality, wildlife habitats and community partnerships. 

Moreover, OCPS has programs tailored to environmental and sustainability studies throughout all grade levels, including STEM choice and career education programs.

“This recognition acknowledges the district's commitment to a healthy learning environment, efficient use of resources and environmental stewardship," Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said. "We are also teaching our students to remain thoughtful about the future."

The selection of awardees is based on innovating means to reduce environmental impacts and utility costs, striving for health and wellness and providing proper sustainability education. Alachua County was the only other district awardee in Florida.

For more information, visit fldoe.org.


Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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