Every fall, the United States Department of Education and state Departments of Education host the Green Schools recognition and awards program, which seeks to inspire schools and districts to strive for 21st-century excellence in sustainability practices. The California Green Ribbon Schools Award Program (CA-GRS) and the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) Award recognizes school communities that achieve progress towards sustainability in three pillars:

  • Pillar I: Reducing environmental impact and costs
  • Pillar II: Improving the health and wellness of students and staff
  • Pillar III: Providing effective environmental and sustainability education

In California, nominations for the federal ED-GRS award are made by participating in the CA Green Ribbon Schools Award (CA-GRS) program. To reduce repetition, CA-GRS uses the same application as the federal ED-GRS program but recognizes all schools that can demonstrate achievement of the three pillars in a tiered recognition: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Green Achiever. Applications are now closed for the 2023-24 school year. Schools, districts, and county offices are welcome to apply in the fall each year. 

Support Services for Applying to the California Green Ribbon Schools Program

The San Mateo County Office of Education offers introductory and customized technical assistance for the CA Green Ribbon Program annually to help school programs in SMC successfully apply. 

Sample technical assistance services include:

  • Coaching on project management, stakeholder engagement, and application writing
  • Application review and guidance on best practices
  • Direct support with project management and stakeholder engagement

Email elsi@smcoe.org to receive FREE technical assistance from the San Mateo County Office of Education to apply for the California Green Ribbon Awards Program. 

Local Leaders in the CA-GRS Program

Read about San Mateo County schools and district that were recognized in previous school years.

Project Management Resources

Julie Hilborn

Coordinator, Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Email: jhilborn@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5406