Press Releases

For Immediate Release: April 23, 2012

Contact: Keith Hovis, 651-582-8275 or

Obama Administration Names Three Minnesota Schools as First-Ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that three Minnesota schools are among the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

“Science, environmental and outdoor education plays a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools have demonstrated compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.

Out of the 78 schools nationwide selected for this honor, the three Minnesota Green Ribbon Schools are: North Shore Community School in Duluth, Garlough Environmental Magnet School in West Saint Paul and Kennedy Community School in Saint Joseph. Efforts include forming community partnerships to offer hands-on environmental and outdoor education experiences as well as attaining some of the highest green building standards in the country, resulting in LEED Gold level certification.

"Minnesota is known for its rich environmental tradition and outdoor heritage, so it’s fitting that we’re represented on this list,” said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “These schools are not only teaching students to be better stewards of the earth, they are putting their lessons into practice. Their efforts have cut utility costs, implemented smart conservation strategies and cultivated healthy and productive classrooms to better prepare students for success in the 21st century economy."

The 78 awarded schools were named winners from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools including 8 charters, and 12 private schools composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools. View complete list of winning schools.

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