In addition to being honored at the state level, Moreno Valley USD was one of five California schools and districts nominated for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition.
California schools receive state and national ‘green’ honors
May 15, 2023
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced that 14 schools, five school districts and one county office of education earned 2023 California Green Ribbon Schools awards. Among these state honorees are five “Green Achievers” that are nominated by Thurmond to receive U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition. The U.S. Department of Education has confirmed all five California Green Achievers as ED-GRS honorees, which are recognized for conserving resources while promoting health and environmental literacy. California’s honorees are among 26 schools, 11 districts and four postsecondary institutions being honored nationally.
“California Green Ribbon Schools exemplify leading-edge models for improved indoor air quality, outdoor classrooms, and whole-school environmental education,” said Thurmond, in an April 20 news release. “Students in these schools address global problems such as climate change and local challenges including water quality, food security, energy conservation, waste diversion, and emotional health.”
California’s 2023 ED-GRS honorees are:
  • Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School, Saddleback USD, Orange County.
  • Redwood High School, Sequoia UHSD, San Mateo County.
  • Moreno Valley USD, Riverside County.
  • Jefferson Elementary School, Carlsbad USD, San Diego County.
  • Bellarmine College Preparatory (private school), Santa Clara County.
The California Green Ribbon Schools award uses the applications submitted for ED-GRS recognition to recognize schools and districts for environmental excellence. More details on California’s ED-GRS honorees are below:
Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School develops customized, high-quality, project-based learning units to give students the agency to develop real-world solutions for issues directly affecting the school. Student-developed and student-led initiatives include waste diversion and sitewide conservation efforts guided by research in collaboration with local experts. The school is improving decades-old infrastructure with eco-conscious upgrades in water-efficient fixtures, LED indoor and outdoor lighting, and heating and ventilation.
Redwood High School, an alternative continuation high school serving 11th and 12th grades, was remodeled in 2018, and many intentional design choices were made regarding sustainability and energy efficiency, including onsite photovoltaic power generation, water-wise plumbing fixtures, and energy-efficient heating and ventilation systems. The school’s newly installed drip irrigation systems, multiple bioswales, and emphasis on planting native and drought-tolerant plants contributed to a documented 74.5 percent reduction in outdoor water use on campus.
Moreno Valley Unified School District created an Energy Specialist Manager position in 2020 responsible for optimizing the use of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; irrigation; and other energy-using systems. The Energy Specialist Manager also connects with every school and teacher to share energy conservation, health and wellness, and educational resources. MVUSD’s Transportation Department transitioned its diesel buses to electric and responsible fuels. MVUSD’s North Ridge Elementary features the Model Environmental Science Area, where students learn about healthy eating, botany and wildlife.
Jefferson Elementary replaced heating, cooling, lighting and water systems to increase efficiency through a Carlsbad USD-board-approved Facility Master Plan. The school also planted drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce water use and installed a water bottle filling station for students and staff to cut down on the use of plastic. In 2019, Jefferson began participating in the Sage Garden Project to support the school in forming its four gardens and a garden/nutrition program.
Bellarmine College Preparatory, a private Jesuit school in San Jose, has undergone many new construction and renovation projects that have met the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification standards for including innovative and environmentally sustainable approaches. The school generates energy onsite using 466 photovoltaic panels and uses a natural gas co-generation system to heat the pool and showers while generating electricity from the heat of combustion.
2023 California Green Ribbon School Awardees
Public Schools
Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary, Saddleback Unified School District, Orange County (Green Achiever) Redwood High, Sequoia Union High School District, San Mateo County (Green Achiever) Jefferson Elementary, Carlsbad Unified School District, San Diego County (Green Achiever) Nancy R. Kordyak Elementary, Rialto Unified School District, San Bernardino County (Gold) Eisenhower Senior High, Rialto Unified School District, San Bernardino County (Gold) Sebastopol Independent Charter, Sebastopol Union School District, Sonoma County (Silver) Parkview Elementary, Hueneme Elementary School District, Ventura County (Silver) Mary Bragg Elementary, ABC Unified School District, Los Angeles County (Silver) Henry Elementary, Rialto Unified School District, San Bernardino County (Silver) Oxnard High, Oxnard Union High School District, Ventura County (Silver) Dr. Ernest Garcia Elementary, Rialto Unified School District, San Bernardino County (Silver) Bella Mente Montessori Academy, Vista Unified School District, San Diego County (Silver) Community Roots Academy, Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County (Bronze) Hollister High, San Benito High School District, San Benito County (Bronze)
Local Educational Agencies
Moreno Valley Unified School District, Riverside County (Green Achiever) Cabrillo Unified School District, San Mateo County (Silver) Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, Solano County (Silver) Rio School District, Ventura County (Silver) Fremont Union High School District, Santa Clara County (Silver) San Joaquin County Office of Education, San Joaquin County (Silver)
Private School
Bellarmine College Preparatory, Santa Clara County (Green Achiever)
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