San Mateo County, CA — On April 20, 2023, the California Department of Education announced that Redwood High School, an alternative continuation school in the Sequoia Union High School District, and the Cabrillo Unified School District received a 2023 California Green Ribbon Schools Award for environmental excellence. In addition, Redwood High School was one of five California local educational agencies to receive a Green Ribbon Schools Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Green Ribbon Schools program is an opportunity 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 Redwood High School, also receive a Green Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Department of Education. The following is a summary of these Green Ribbon School Award winners’ environmental efforts.

Redwood High School (Green Achiever)
Redwood High School has used a multi-pronged approach to become climate-ready. It was remodeled in 2018 using a sustainable and energy-efficient design, and as a result, has seen a 74.5% reduction in outdoor water use on campus. The school’s campus features a three-quarter acre organic food forest, greenhouse, chicken coop, compost system, and outdoor classroom to support students across disciplines, ages, and experience levels. Redwood High School also integrates environmental science into the school’s core curriculum through its Redwood Environmental Academy of Leadership (REAL) Program, which embodies the environmental values of the school as an interdisciplinary program that integrates environmental literacy with History, Culinary Arts CTE, and Environmental Science courses. The school received a 2023 Sustainable San Mateo County Award for its sustainability efforts as well.

Cabrillo Unified School District (Silver)
The Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD) is the first district in San Mateo County to hire a part-time Sustainability Coordinator to help fulfill the district's goals of providing students with quality environmental education, equal opportunities to outdoor education, and living campuses that promote land stewardship and sustainability practices. In addition to using sustainability dashboards to improve facilities and operations and reduce the district's ecological footprint, CUSD has been expanding several long-standing partnerships with local businesses and community-based organizations, such as the HEAL Project and Coastside Land Trust, to bring more engaging environmental experiences to its students.

“Redwood High School and the Cabrillo Unified School District’s achievements are the result of years of work to prioritize sustainability,” said San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. “I commend both for their strong leadership and commitment to environmental excellence.”

The County Office of Education’s Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative provides support to San Mateo County schools in prioritizing environmental literacy and integrating environmental sustainability and climate-resilient practices across a school's campus, curriculum, and community.


The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities.

Published on Monday, April 24, 2023