Carmel Middle School (CMS) has been honored by being chosen among a handful of schools in the State of California to be nominated for a highly significant national environmental award.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson selected Carmel Middle School to compete in the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition program that honors schools that excel in energy conservation and environmental education.
"I applaud these schools for their commitment to helping students learn about the environment and to adopting their own policies to save energy and resources," Torlakson said about the four California schools nominated for the national award. "By incorporating environmental literacy and sustainability practices, these schools are creating stronger and healthier campuses and communities."
Carmel Middle School was also named a “Green Achiever,” the highest honor in California’s Green Ribbon Awards program. In particular, Carmel Middle School was recognized for the award-winning 10-acre Hilton Bialek Habitat, an environmental education nature center run in partnership with MEarth on the CMS campus.
Marvin Biasotti, Superintendent of the Carmel Unified School District, said, "We've been working on environmental education and increasing practices related to sustainability for many years, so it was extremely gratifying to have the efforts of Carmel Middle School, MEarth and the district recognized in my final year before retirement. The fact only four out 10,000 California public schools were so honored is an indication of how extraordinary those efforts have been.”
According to Ken Griest, Principal of Carmel Middle School, “Our teachers, with the help of the MEarth staff, provide students with unparalleled opportunities to learn eco-literacy, science, history, world language, and more in an outdoor setting.”
Griest added, “The LEED-Certified green classroom provides an amazing space and learning tool for teaching kids about green practices and sustainability while they study a variety of subjects.”
In selecting Carmel Middle School the California Department of Education said:
“The Habitat hosts nearly 2,000 students annually from across the Monterey Peninsula in a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified green building. Habitat programming, including Ecoliteracy, Nature Studies, Social Studies, English-Language Arts, and World Language, seamlessly integrates sustainability education into curriculum lessons and activities. CMS uses an energy management system to continually monitor energy use, and will implement 1:1 computing for all students in 2015, with the goal of moving paper consumption toward zero.”
Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three pillars:
1. Reduce environmental impact and costs;
2. Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and
3. Provide effective environmental and sustainability literacy, incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.
The California Green Ribbon Schools recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program to recognize schools and school districts across the state for environmental excellence. The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.
Tanja Roos, the Executive Director of MEarth, said, “All of us at MEarth are grateful to have had such a longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership with the Carmel Unified School District. We are thrilled to be a part of this accolade and hope that it inspires other schools to strive for similar green goals!”
More information is available at the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program web site or Torlakson's initiative at Schools of the Future (PDF; 1MB).