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North Dakota participates in Green Ribbon School pilot program

North Dakota will be among the states participating in the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools pilot program, launched this year to recognize the highest performing green schools in each state.

The award recognizes exemplary achievement in environmental impact, health and education. Green Ribbon Schools aim to cut school costs; foster health, wellness and productivity; provide a well-rounded education; strengthen the nation's energy security; conserve natural resources; enhance achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and ensure students' college and career preparedness.

The ND Department of Public Instruction will accept applications until Feb. 20. Up to four schools may be nominated from submitted applications based on their achievement of, or progress toward, the three pillars of the Green Ribbon School program: energy efficient buildings, healthy students and school environment, and environmental literacy of all graduates.

There will be approximately 50 national winners selected in 2012. GRS applications can be found under "Headlines" on the DPI web site at

State nominations must come from the state's chief school officer, Dr. Wayne Sanstead.

"All schools would benefit by reducing energy costs, improving student and staff productivity, enhancing critical thinking, and providing an opportunity for youth leadership," Sanstead said,.

While the awards confer no federal funds, winners of the Green Ribbon School awards, like Blue Ribbon Schools, will be recognized nationally and locally as one of America's most successful schools; sense renewed pride and accomplishment; receive enhanced community support; be sought out as mentors to other schools; re-energized staff; increased fund raising capabilities; and opportunity for youth leadership.

The Green Ribbon School award national winners will be announced during Earth Day Week in April, and state ceremonies will be scheduled for fall 2012 at winning schools.

For more information, contact Linda Paluck, ND Department of Public Instruction, at 701-328-1718.