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Shapiro Administration: Now Accepting Applications for Pennsylvania’s Green Ribbon Schools


Harrisburg, PA -- In an effort to boost environmental literacy and sustainability across the Commonwealth, the Shapiro Administration today announced that applications are now being accepted for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and the PA Pathways to Green Schools awards.

Each state may nominate up to five Pre-K-12 schools or districts and one postsecondary institution for the annual Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program.

The U.S. Department of Education then selects and announces awardees in the spring.

Eligibility requirements are located on the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools website.

“Green Ribbon Schools help learners become stewards of their environment and their communities,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “By participating in this program, schools are signaling their commitment to preserving our ecosystem and providing hands-on learning opportunities that have real-world impacts.”

Pennsylvania schools, districts, and institutions of higher education are invited to submit their self-nomination materials for the 2023-24 the Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program and Pennsylvania Pathways to Green Schools Program awards via the dual application, available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

"Exposing students to effective environmental education plays an important role in promoting conservation and environmental stewardship," said DEP Interim Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. "The Green Ribbon Schools program serves as a model for developing innovative environmental education programming and environmental leadership. We are proud to see the program help school districts across the Commonwealth start on the path towards a more sustainable future."

Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools nominees must show progress in the following areas:

  • Reducing environmental impacts, such as waste, water, greenhouse gases, and transportation.
  • Improving health and wellness with consideration to air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, school nutrition, and outdoor physical activity.
  • Offering effective environmental and sustainability education that emphasizes hands-on, real-world learning, civic engagement, STEM connections, and green career preparation.

“Pennsylvania schools have been very competitive in the Green Ribbon Schools selection process each year and we look forward to continuing this growing tradition,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “This initiative is key in preparing future generations for positive environmental stewardship. We encourage schools in the Commonwealth to apply for this distinct recognition aimed at promoting sustainability, STEM knowledge, and improving the health and wellness of students and staff through outdoor activities.”

Since 2011, the Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program has recognized schools, districts, and institutions of higher education across the country for their dedication to reducing environmental impact and cost, improving the health and wellness of school communities, and providing environmental education to students.

In 2023, 18 states nominated 41 honorees from 11 districts, 26 schools, and 4 postsecondary institutions.

In Pennsylvania, the following education entities received national recognition:

  • Hillendale Elementary School in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
  • California Area School District
  • West Chester University

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Pathways to Green Schools web page to apply.

For more information on U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Taj Magruder, PDE, 717-439-2973 

                                Wesley Robinson, DCNR, 717-877-6315

                                Josslyn Howard, DEP, 717-717-1323

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