COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
August 30, 2013
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Department of Education is pleased to announce that Virginia will participate for the third 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 integrating environmental learning with 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 measurable 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. For each of the past two years, Virginia has had two public schools recognized by the national selection committee as achieving this prestigious award.
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. 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’ nominees, USED will recognize 50 or more GRS awardees. Of Virginia’s four state nominees, potentially all may be designated as GRS awardees. The 2013 GRS recipients will be invited to an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in July 2014.
For a school to be nominated for the Green Ribbon Schools award program by Virginia, the nonbinding GRS Intent to Submit form included in the application should be submitted by September 20, 2013.
A Virginia GRS informational session will be conducted via webinar on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 4 p.m., and a follow-up webinar will be conducted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, at 4 p.m. The first webinar (September 25, 2013) will focus on suggestions for completing the application for the 2013-2014 USED GRS recipients. The second webinar (October 16, 2013) will be an open question and answer session to offer technical assistance. Information about the USED Green Ribbon Schools program may be found on the Virginia Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Web site. Schools interested in participating in the webinars may find information on the Green Ribbon Schools Web page.
The GRS application must be completed and received by the Virginia Department of Education by December 13, 2013, no later than 4 p.m. For additional information, please contact Barbara P. Young, science specialist, Office of Science and Health Education, by e-mail at Barbara.Young@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2676.