San Mateo County, CA—Two San Mateo County schools and a school district received the 2021 California Green Ribbon Schools award honoring environmental excellence:
- The Nueva School (Green Achiever)
- South Hillsborough, Hillsborough City School District (Silver)
- Ravenswood City Elementary School District (Bronze)
Twenty-one schools and two school districts earned California Green Ribbon Schools awards this year.
The Green Ribbon Schools is a state competition for public and private schools, districts, and county offices of education to demonstrate their progress in three pillars of sustainability: reducing environmental impacts, improving the health and wellness of the school community, and providing effective environmental education. Applicants are assessed on their demonstrated progress in these three areas and are recognized at either the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Green Achievers level.
Schools and districts recognized at the Green Achiever level, including The Nueva School, also receive a Green Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Department of Education. This year, 28 schools, three early learning centers, five districts, and five post-secondary institutions received this national award from the U.S. Department of Education.
The following is a summary of these Green Ribbon School Award winners’ environmental efforts.
The Nueva School (Green Achiever)
The Nueva School is committed to a long-term investment in environmental sustainability and environmental literacy. Nueva has made significant changes to its campuses, including investments in solar, waste reduction strategies, and buildings that have achieved LEED Gold certification. Nueva launched a new environmental citizenship program that integrates environmental literacy across the curriculum and educational activities. Program staff partner with faculty and administrators to support curriculum-adjacent activities and create meaningful integration of ecological learning and performance criteria in Nueva's trip program, student mentoring in clubs, and individual projects.
South Hillsborough, Hillsborough City School District (Silver)
South Hillsborough’s environmental sustainability efforts began with a small group of dedicated teachers and have since grown to become part of the school’s identity. The school has taken significant steps to change its culture to create an environmentally friendly community of students, educators, and families. With the overarching goals of reducing the waste stream, improving energy efficiency, promoting climate resiliency, providing healthy and local food choices, and fostering nature appreciation, South School aims to be the inspiration for positive change. The school’s goal seeks to have every student graduate with the knowledge and the tools needed to become a steward of the Earth.
Ravenswood City Elementary School District (Bronze)
Ravenswood City Elementary School District is a small district that has pursued grassroots sustainability efforts for many years. Teachers, principals, community-based partners, and students have led the way with innovative projects such as community garden spaces, teacher training in social emotional and restorative justice practices, and promoting Safe Routes to Schools. The district also takes a comprehensive approach to outdoor learning and provides local science field trips for every student in third through fifth grade as well as annual immersive outdoor learning experiences for older students. In recent years, Ravenswood City Elementary School District has taken on projects aimed at reducing its carbon footprint, such as vehicle fleet upgrades and the planting of more than 1,000 trees on school campuses. Upcoming projects, including installing solar, improving energy efficiency, adopting a compost waste stream, and forming a climate working group, aim to bring all stakeholders together to integrate sustainability into more facets of the district’s operations.
“The number of schools and districts committed to environmental literacy and sustainability reflects San Mateo County’s collective investment in environmental sustainability. We are proud to salute this year’s Green Ribbon Schools Award winners and look forward to further partnership to achieve our common goals,” shared San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee.
Schools and districts interested in learning more about how they might participate in the Green Ribbon School Award program can visit the San Mateo County Office of Education’s website. The County Office of Education’s Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative provides a variety of assistance to support schools and districts in making their campuses more environmentally sustainable.