COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
December 16, 2011
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Virginia is pleased to be participating in the inaugural year of the United States Department of Education's (USED) Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) award program. The program is intended to recognize schools that are making a comprehensive approach to integrating environmental learning with constructive goals for 1) healthy students and school employees and 2) a school facility with a positive environmental impact. The application is intended to focus on measureable and verifiable results wherever possible, and Virginia’s application, though based on the national criteria, provides ample opportunities for schools in the Commonwealth to highlight Virginia-specific emphases and initiatives.
The GRS award process consists of two steps. The first step is to complete and electronically submit the state application to the state review committee. In the first year of the GRS program, Virginia is permitted up to four state nominations. Of these four total nominees, at least one must be a private school and one must be a school with at least 40 percent of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds (either Title I or Title I eligible).
After a national selection committee has reviewed states’ applications, USED will recognize 50 or more GRS awardees. Of Virginia’s four state nominees, potentially all may be designated as GRS awardees. Those schools selected from the national pool will join an elite group of founding GRS award recipients. The 2012 GRS recipients will be invited to an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive extensive national, state, and local press coverage.
Information about the Green Ribbon Schools program may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/support/facility_construction/healthy_buildings/green_ribbon/index.shtml. A GRS informational session will be conducted via webinar on January 4, 2012, at 4 p.m., and a follow up webinar will be conducted on January 17, 2012, at 4 p.m. Schools interested in participating in the webinars may find information on the Green Ribbon Schools Web page.
For a school to be considered as one of Virginia’s nominated schools for the Green Ribbon Schools award program, the attached GRS Intent to Submit form must be submitted by January 12, 2012. The GRS application must be completed and received by the Virginia Department of Education by February 21, 2012, no later than 4 p.m. For additional information, please contact Eric M. Rhoades, science coordinator, Office of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction, by e-mail at Eric.Rhoades@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 786-2481.