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State seeks applications for 'green ribbon' schools

Throughout Minnesota, schools are making a conscious effort to promote energy efficiency - both in the classroom and in practice. Now, the Minnesota Department of Education is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize these schools with the newly launched Green Ribbon Schools program.

The program seeks to highlight schools across the nation who are working every day to set a great example by saving energy and reducing operating costs, creating environmentally friendly learning spaces, promoting student health and providing environmental education to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.

To be considered for the program, a school will have achieved or made considerable progress toward the three pillars established in the program:

1) energy efficient buildings;

2) healthy students and school environment; and

3) environmental literacy of all graduates.

The combined achievement in these three areas will be the basis for the Green Ribbon Schools award.

To apply, public and private schools in Minnesota submit their application to MDE. After reviewing all applicants, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will nominate up to four schools for the honor. If four are nominated, one must be a public school with a 40 percent disadvantaged population and one must be a private school. Schools must also meet high college- and career-ready standards, be in compliance with federal civil rights laws, and all federal, state and local health and safety standards and regulations.

The application for the Green Ribbon Schools program is located at Applications must be submitted to MDE by February 22, 2012. 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 May or June. Local ceremonies are scheduled for fall 2012 at winning schools.

For more information on Green Ribbon Schools, visit

For questions about MDE's application process or program, contact Jeff Ledermann, MDE's Environmental and Outdoor Education Coordinator, at 651-582-8602 or