Federal Way's own Camelot Elementary School was named as one of four winners from Washington for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award.
The award recognizes "schools that excel in the areas of environmental impact and energy efficiency, healthy school environments, and environmental and sustainability education."
Camelot was joined by Tahoma Junior High School, the Northshore Secondary Academy for Success, and Redmond's Overlake School. They were the only four in the state to be nominated. 78 schools from 29 states received a Green Ribbon Award from the Department of Education.
"Science and environmental education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education that prepares them for jobs in the future," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of ways schools can expand their coursework while also helping children build real worked skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments."
The Green Ribbon Awards is based upon three "pillars." The first looks at whether a school has an "net zero environmental impact," which deals with a school's efforts to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste production, and find alternative forms of transportation for the school.
The second pillar is focused on improving the health and performance of students and staff, which includes an "integrated school environment health program" and having "high standards of nutrition, fitness and quantity of quality outdoor time."
The final pillar is aimed at making sure all of the students in a school are literate in the environment and the ideas of sustainability. This pillar is aimed at making sure a school's curriculum is proficient in a number of areas regarding environmental education.
Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, says these schools are leading the way in educating students and staff on environmental conservation and preservation.
"Schools that take a green approach cut costs on their utility bills, foster healthy and productive classrooms, and prepare students to thrive in the 21st century economy," she said. "These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow's environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and country."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also happy that schools like Camelot are taking the lead in this area.
"These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school," said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. "Today's winners are protecting our children's health and opening up environmental education opportunities for students."
To learn more, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.