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FCPS, Redwood Cooperative School named 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon honorees

While the state remains focused on fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak that has interrupted the school year, the U.S. Department of Education is honoring a Kentucky school district and a cooperative school for their environmental instruction efforts.

Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) and Redwood Cooperative School in Lexington are among 55 national honorees name as 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).

Fayette County Public Schools is the first school district in the state to win the 2020 US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award. The winners were nominated by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC), an agency in the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

“We applaud the outstanding efforts of the students, faculty and staff of these institutions,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. ”Fayette County Public Schools is the first district to be nominated from Kentucky. Redwood Cooperative School has integrated innovative environmental education into its curriculum since its founding in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education today released the names of the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

“In conjunction with Earth Day, I am proud to recognize Kentucky’s winners for this year’s distinguished U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, who is also the secretary of EWDC. “Congratulations to Redwood Cooperative School for winning the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award, and Fayette County Public Schools for winning the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award.”

This award honors schools that are exemplary in three pillars: reducing environmental impact and cost; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. Public and private pre-K and K-12 schools are eligible, as are public school districts, and institutions of higher education.

Across the country, 39 schools, 11 districts, and five postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative environmental education efforts.

Among its achievements, every year since the ED-GRS’s inception in 2012, a Fayette County Public School has been honored as a U.S. Department of Education Green School. Among the numerous awards the district has won, it was recognized in 2016 as a Best of Green School by U.S. Green Building Council and Green Schools National Network.

In 2019, FCPS developed Kentucky’s first school district Sustainability + Wellness Strategic Plan called “It’s About Sustainability.” The plan is a five-year roadmap that builds on the district schools’ strengths, momentum and years of sustainability progress in building efficiency, environmental literacy and student and staff wellness that has established FCPS as a national leader in sustainability.

Redwood Cooperative School has valued environmental sustainability as a key program tenet since it began in 2014. Environmental education, literacy and service learning are embedded in the school’s vision statement. The school does a variety of programs including a citywide used cooking oil recycling project after Thanksgiving, a garden for the school and local food pantries, a rain garden and a recycling and compost program.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 27 states. The nominees included 28 public schools, including three magnet schools and four charter schools, as well as 11 non-public schools. Forty-five percent of the 2020 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

For more information about the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools at www2.ed.gov.

Information about Kentucky’s efforts to fight the coronavirus in the commonwealth is available at kycovid19.ky.gov.

A video of Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announcing Kentucky’s 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is below.

From Education & Workforce Development Cabinet

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