U.S. Ed Sec. Arne Duncan names Barnard a national Green Ribbon School!

Read the story in the New Haven Independent!
Read about Barnard "green school" initiatives in the New Haven Register!

April 22, 2013
Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School has been named a national Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The announcement was made this morning by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, along with the Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe,
Barnard is one of 64 schools across the country honored as a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.  The selected schools are being honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. Barnard is a Connecticut Green LEAF school and was nominated for the national award by the Connecticut Department of Education.
Barnard is one of three Connecticut schools that have been named national Green Ribbon Schools this year. The other two schools are Common Ground High School in New Haven and Mary Hooker School in Hartford.
“This is a tremendous and much-deserved honor for Barnard Environmental Magnet School,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo said. “Principal Crocco and his team at Barnard do an amazing job of weaving environmental lessons about sustainability, conservation and recycling into a curriculum that teachers students about reducing our carbon footprints and inspires them to love science.”
Barnard’s extensive courtyard garden, green houses and nature center on the school campus allow students to explore the natural world as they take on the roles of gardener, naturalist and environmentalist. Whether it is planting, cultivating or harvesting crops in the school gardens, raising Atlantic salmon, canoeing on the West River, or learning about the impact new tide gates will make on that river, Barnard students gain an appreciation for the environment that is authentic and meaningful.
The LEED Gold building in which Barnard operates provides countless examples of ways the school is reducing the consumption of energy, water and recycled products. And the school’s Green Team strives to create a net zero environmental impact on the planet, a net positive impact on students’ and staff’s health, and have developed a curriculum that increases student literacy about environmental and sustainability issues.
“Barnard has been constantly improving and evolving throughout the years. We recognize that all individuals come to us with varying degrees of knowledge and make it our mission to educate student, staff and the community about the importance of lowering ones carbon footprint and living a more sustainable life. Our staff and students led by Ms. Drucker have done a wonderful job reflecting on and keeping the vision and mission of our school at the forefront of all we do,” said Barnard Principal Michael Crocco.
“Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School strives to be a leader in environmental education. Being part of the Green Leaf Schools program has allowed us to reflect on all aspects of our program: the physical plant, the way we reduce our carbon footprint, and the way we educate our students to become future stewards of our planet. We are proud of our accomplishments and this honor motivates us to continue to work in every way towards our goals for our students, community and state,” said Marjorie Drucker, Instructional Integration Leader at Barnard.
The school was confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 32 state education agencies.  The list of selectees includes 54 public schools and 10 private schools.  The public schools include seven charter, five magnet and four career and technical schools.  The schools serve various grade levels, including 40 elementary, 23 middle and 19 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 29 states and the District of Columbia.  Over half of the 2013 honorees serve a student body more than 40 percent of which is eligible for free and reduced price lunch.  The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here.  A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here.
The U.S. Department of Education is looking forward to a third year of the program, and will be publishing updated competition criteria this summer, once again working closely with participating states, who nominate both schools and districts to the federal agency.  State education agencies are encouraged to indicate their intent to nominate schools and districts within their jurisdiction in 2014 by August 1, 2013.
More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.  Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars in which the 2013 honorees are exemplary can be found here.