It's Not Easy Being Green, yet Two California Charters are Named US Green Ribbon Schools

April 30, 2013

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Redding School of the Arts (Redding, CA) and Journey School (Aliso Viejo, CA), both K-8 programs, were awarded Green Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

According to a news release from the California Department of Education (CDE), "Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating 'green' environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy."

"I am proud of these schools and districts for earning their green ribbons by reducing environmental impacts while increasing awareness of the fragile world we live in," Torlakson said. "Students who have had the chance to improve the air, or grow a vegetable, or capture the rain will never look at the world the same way again. I hope all California students get this chance to learn how to protect the Earth and all those who live here."

Journey School, Aliso Viejo, Orange County

Philosophy: Learning is balanced in three realms to enable each child to fully develop physical will and artistic sensibility alongside intellectual capacity.

A school founded with ecological goals in mind

Journey's eco-literacy curriculum is integrated into the master teaching schedule to ensure students are exposed to age-appropriate ecological principles and practices in each grade. Eighth graders complete eco-leadership projects where they implement environmental projects that benefit the school campus and local community. Journey maintains five school gardens, harvests rainwater, and composts on-site. Students enjoy zero emission field trips, walking or biking to their destinations.(CDE news release)

Redding School of the Arts (RSA), Shasta County

Philosophy: When it comes to young minds, art enriches, expands and prepares them for a full life in useful and unexpected ways.

Raising the bar for innovative and sustainable design

RSA is the first campus worldwide to be certified LEED for Schools 2009 Platinum. The school design includes solar power generation, solar water heaters, and a wind turbine; 58 percent of the school's energy is obtained from on-site renewable sources. RSA is a pilot school for CalEPA's Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum and received a 2012 Design Excellence Award from the American Institute of Architects for innovation in design blending indoor and outdoor learning spaces. An underground water storage tank reroutes rainwater harvested from the roof structure to provide 100 percent of grounds irrigation.(CDE news release)

Torlakson's Schools of the Future Task Force joined educational, environmental, business, and community leaders to encourage the use of renewable energy sources and other sound environmental practices at schools across California.

According the the CDE, The California Department of Education reviewed each application for the program based on schools' demonstrated progress toward reaching the goals of the U.S. Department of Education's Three Green Ribbon School Pillars: Pillar I: Reduce environmental impact and costs; Pillar II: Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and Pillar III: Provide effective environmental and sustainability literacy, incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.

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