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GaDOE Announces 2013 National Green Ribbon Schools Recognition

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, or Keisha Ford-Jenrette, (404) 657-2949
Wednesday, March 20, 2012,10:15 AM    
Lt. Governor and Georgia Senate to recognize winners


March 18, 2013 – Through a partnership involving the Georgia Department of Education, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia, Georgia EPD, the Clean Air Campaign, and the Turner Foundation schools and school districts were able to compete for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Green Ribbon School and Green Ribbon School District program.   

This national program allows Georgia schools and districts to compete for awards up to $10,000 pledged by the Turner Foundation for demonstrating energy efficiency efforts.  If the school and district are selected for the national award, the prize money will be split.
“We are proud to once again support outstand schools in our state that implement groundbreaking tools to reduce their energy costs.  In these challenging times, school systems across the state continue to embrace these innovative ideas to reduce costs and focus resources on the classrooms where students learn,” said Lt. Governor Cagle.  “These efforts will allow us to redirect precious financial resources towards direct instruction, create a healthier learning environment for our children, and give our students career-relevant, first-hand experience in one of our state’s emerging industries.”
The program seeks to showcase schools and districts across the nation where staff, students, officials, and communities have worked together to produce progress in three pillars of green school activity:
1) optimal efficiency in energy, water, and waste management; 2) healthy students and school environment; and 3) environmental education.
This year, one school and one district were selected to represent Georgia in the national contest: Ford Elementary (Cobb County) and Gwinnett County Schools
“In the program’s first year, Georgia had several outstanding schools that won the U.S. Department of Education National Green Ribbon Schools Award. This goes to show that schools in Georgia are striving to be more energy efficient, developing healthy living habits and providing environmental education,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “Congratulations to Ford Elementary for being named a Georgia Green Ribbon School and Gwinnett County Schools a Green Ribbon District.  We’re confident they will bring home a National Green Ribbon School and District Award.”
The Georgia Green Ribbon School and District winners, as well as honorable mention Georgia schools and districts, will receive a commendation from the Lt. Governor on the floor of the Senate at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20 followed by a press conference beginning at 12:15 p.m. in the North Wing of the State Capitol Building. 
Ford Elementary and Gwinnett County submitted an application showing that they have made considerable progress toward the three qualifying pillars established in the program. They were officially nominated to the U.S. Department of Education to compete for the coveted national distinction of being a Green Ribbon School and Green Ribbon District.
The U.S. Department of Education expects to make decisions on final awards in April during Earth Day Week and will host a national recognition award ceremony in Washington D.C. in June.
For questions about the recognition ceremony, please contact Keisha Ford-Jenrette at
Sitting amid more than twenty acres, Ford Elementary School in Acworth, Georgia utilizes more than 60% of the grounds for environmental education and habitat protection. Within its first year, Ford became a National Wildlife Certified Schoolyard Habitat. And for almost twenty years, Ford has been committed to protecting, restoring and sustaining its native forests and stream beds while developing outdoor learning labs.  Ford’s award winning model school for environmental education strives for relevance and resiliency while serving as a mentor to others across the state and nation.
With more than 23-million square feet of ENERGY STAR-certified areas, Gwinnet County Public Schools (GCPS) leads the nation for K–12 certified building space. These ENERGY STAR certified buildings use 35% less energy, generate 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and cost up to 40 cents less per square foot to operate than similar buildings across the nation. In addition, GCPS has completed several energy efficient upgrades of their facilities including: lighting retrofits in the classrooms, occupancy sensors, automated energy management systems, water source heat pumps, and variable frequency drives. As the 12th largest school district in the nation, GCPS is committed to their core mission of teaching and learning while encouraging environmental awareness and outstanding stewardship of resources.
SMALL DISTRICT-Stephens County Schools
MEDIUM DISTRICT-Cherokee County Schools
High Meadows School (Private)
Rabun County Elementary (Rabun County)
River Ridge Elementary (Columbia County)