Sacramento, California - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated four California schools and a school district to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition program, which honors schools that excel in energy conservation and environmental education. They are:

  • El Monte Union High School District, El Monte, Los Angeles County.
  • Los Cerritos Elementary School, Long Beach, Los Angeles County.
  • Carmel Middle School, Carmel, Monterey County.
  • Susan Miller Dorsey High School, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.
  • Marin Country Day School (private), Corte Madera, Marin County.

The schools and district were also named "Green Achievers," the highest honor in California's Green Ribbon awards program.

"I applaud these schools for their commitment to helping students learn about the environment and to adopting their own policies to save energy and resources," Torlakson said. "By incorporating environmental literacy and sustainability practices, these schools are creating stronger and healthier campuses and communities."

Today's announcement came at a news conference at the El Monte Union High School District.

Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three "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.

The California Green Ribbon Schools recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program to recognize schools and school districts across the state for environmental excellence. Private school awards are conferred by the California Association of Private School Organizations.

California is one of 39 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education expected to nominate schools and/or a district for the federal recognition. California's participation was a recommended by Torlakson's Schools of the Future Task Force. The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.

Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web site or Torlakson's initiative at Schools of the Future (PDF; 1MB).

California's District Nominee

El Monte Union High School District [ ], El Monte, Los Angeles County

The district serves more than 9,500 students in eight schools, including five comprehensive high schools. Partnerships with government agencies, corporations, community organizations, and post-secondary institutions are enabling students to turn passions and talents into successful "green" careers broaden related academic skills, and prepare for careers and college. El Monte Union High School District is an ENERGY STAR Leader, and makes a concerted effort to involve all students in outdoor activities in nature.

Public School Nominees

Los Cerritos Elementary School [], Long Beach, Los Angeles County

The school's Urban Farmyard, established in 2000, is a place of environmental stewardship and learning for every Los Cerritos student. The Urban Farmyard has been cited by the California School Gardens Network as a model school garden and is a designated Wildlife Habitat and Monarch Butterfly Way Station. The garden is complemented by exemplary after school programs focused on environmental awareness, including Cool the Earth, Roots & Shoots, and Green Team. A comprehensive Safe Routes to School program includes Walk-to-School Wednesday, Walking School Bus, and Bike-Friendly Friday activities.

Carmel Middle School [], Carmel, Monterey County

The campus includes the award-winning 10-acre Hilton Bialek Habitat, an environmental education nature center run in partnership with MEarth. The Habitat hosts nearly 2,000 students annually from across the Monterey Peninsula in a LEED Silver-certified green building. Habitat programming, including Ecoliteracy, Nature Studies, Social Studies, English-Language Arts, and World Language, seamlessly integrates sustainability education into curriculum lessons and activities. CMS uses an energy management system to continually monitor energy use, and will implement 1:1 computing for all students in 2015, with the goal of moving paper consumption toward zero.

Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School [], Los Angeles, Los Angeles County

Dorsey high school promotes outdoor and hands-on learning, STEAM, and career technical training. Community engagement, collaboration, and service are at the heart of these programs, including the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Internship and Restoration Leadership programs, Leo Politi Elementary mentorship program, and Eco-Club. Two LEED Silver-certified buildings provide high performance, healthy, and comfortable learning environments.

Private School Nominee

Marin Country Day School [], Corte Madera, Marin County

The school constructed new buildings and renovated existing structures to bring LEED Gold and LEED Platinum-certified facilities to its 35-acre campus. The school's Learning Resource Center is a flagship project in "zero net energy" design, and MCDS is a Marin County Certified Green Business. Campus gardens provided more than 3,000 pounds of produce for the school lunch program in 2013-14.

California Green Ribbon School Additional Awardees
  • San Francisco Unified (Silver).
  • Manhattan Beach Unified (Silver).
  • Sacramento City Unified (Bronze).
  • Montecito Union Elementary (Bronze).
Private Schools
  • Woodside Priory (Gold).
  • Bishop O'Dowd High (Gold).
  • Pacific Ridge School (Gold).
  • Besant Hill School of Happy Valley (Gold).
  • The Center for Early Education (Gold).
  • Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley (Silver).
  • MUSE School (Bronze).