Washington, DC - White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to congratulate the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 58 schools and 14 districts were honored for their leadership in reducing environmental impact and costs, promoting better health, and ensuring effective environmental education. In addition, 9 colleges and universities were honored with the first-ever Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from the schools, districts and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques and banners in recognition of their achievements.

Duncan also announced a new and improved Green Strides website, which features resources and webinars for all schools to go green, as well as all past honorees. The new and improved website is sponsored by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

“I congratulate these schools, districts and postsecondary institutions for their commitment to sustainable facilities, health, and classroom practices,” Duncan said.  “By exploring complex sustainability topics that affect our society, our environment, and our economy, students are learning to solve the challenges of the future and preparing for jobs that don’t yet exist.”

“President Obama believes we have a moral obligation to leave behind a cleaner, healthier, and safer planet for our children and grandchildren,” said Goldfuss. “That’s why inspiring and preparing the next generation of leaders to tackle the tough challenges facing our planet is so important. Today’s honorees have shown they are up to the task, setting an example that schools and districts across the country can follow.”

"We are building an environmentally literate world that will be cleaner and safer for future generations through programs such as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools." said Koch. "The award touches upon elements of NOAA's mission of science, service and stewardship and we acknowledge the honorees as well as all nominees of this award."

The honorees include 52 public schools and six private schools serving elementary, middle and high school students. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. Of the 2015 honorees 34 (47 percent) serve a disadvantaged student body and 19 (23 percent) serve rural students. Of the nine postsecondary honorees, one-third are community colleges.

View the list and the annual highlights report summarizing the work of each of the 81 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.

Resources for all schools to move toward the pillars of the award can be found at www.greenstrides.org. The three pillars are 1) reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation; 2) improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness; and 3) providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.