During the West Virginia Board of Education’s monthly meeting June 11, two West Virginia schools were recognized for being named U.S. Green Ribbon Schools.
Cameron Middle-High School in Marshall County and Eastwood Elementary School in Monongalia County were among 48 schools and 9 districts across the nation to receive the national award that is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to “improve student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and work force preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security,” according to a news release. Schools must first obtain West Virginia Sustainable Schools (WVSS) status prior to becoming a USGRS.
Cameron Middle-High School is the fourth school from Marshall County to apply for the WVSS, and the third to be recognized as a USGRS Awardee. It is a rural school with grades seven through 12 and located within the 312-square mile Marshall County School District. Currently, Cameron implements several sustainable programs.
Eastwood Elementary School is Monongalia County Schools’ first LEED certification candidate with a mission of “Growing Healthy Kids in a Healthy World” through a focus on curriculum, health and wellness; the arts; world languages; and community connections. Staff, students and families use the school as an instructional tool to learn about their effect on the community and the broader world. In addition, Eastwood uses about 25 percent less energy than a conventional school of the same size and uses over 31 percent less water than a traditional elementary school.
“West Virginia schools are working hard to support healthy school environments and accelerate learning,” said Gayle Manchin, president of the WVBE. “Cameron Middle-High and Eastwood Elementary schools deserve this recognition for their innovative approach to integrating sustainability practices within the life of the school.”
Both the federal and state sustainable school programs recognize schools that demonstrate sustainable practices in their facilities. They also have worked to integrate those practices into the curriculum. All schools must meet standards in three criteria: environmental and sustainability education; healthy school environments; and environmental impact and energy efficiency of facilities. Educational efforts should incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), civic skills and green career pathways.