Press Releases

For Immediate Release: April 23, 2013

Contact: Keith Hovis, 651-582-8275 or

Four Minnesota Schools Recognized by U.S. Department of Education for Green Efforts

Schools and Districts Honored for Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs, Improving Health, and Offering Environmental Education

Today, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to announce the second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Three Minnesota schools and one Minnesota district are among the 64 schools and 14 districts from across the nation to be honored for their efforts to cut utility costs, implement smart conservation strategies and cultivate healthy and productive classrooms.

“Minnesota has a rich environmental tradition and outdoor heritage embedded in our history, and it’s fitting that our schools play a significant role in carrying on that tradition,” said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “I’m so proud of the work these schools are doing. Not only are they teaching students to be better stewards of the earth, but they are putting those lessons into practice in their school buildings.”

The recognized schools are: Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake, Heritage E-STEM Middle School in West St. Paul, and the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley. The entire Prior Lake-Savage Area School District was recognized for their green efforts. This is the first year districts were recognized in addition to individual schools.

The schools were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by state education agencies. The national list of selectees includes 54 public schools and 10 private schools. The public schools include seven charter, five magnet and four career and technical schools. The schools include 40 elementary, 23 middle, 19 high schools and several schools having various K-12 configurations. Recognized schools hail from 29 states and the District of Columbia. Over half of the 2013 honorees serve a student body of which 40 percent are eligible for free or reduced- price lunch. Read more about the Green Ribbon Schools award on the U. S. Department of Education website. A list of all selected schools and districts and a report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found there as well..

The U. S. Department of Education will be publishing updated competition criteria for the 2014 Green Ribbon Awards this summer. Once again, they will be working closely with participating states, collaborating organizations and partner agencies. State education agencies are encouraged to indicate intent to nominate schools for 2014 by August 1, 2013.

More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars in which the 2013 honorees are exemplary can be found here.