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Two DC Schools Earn US Department of Education Green Ribbon Honors

Friday, April 26, 2024
Marie Reed Elementary School and St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School to receive coveted award; Catholic University named Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee

Today, the Bowser Administration announced that Marie Reed Elementary School (Ward 1) and St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School have been named 2024 US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. The Catholic University of America was named a Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee. The three schools, nominated by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), are among 41 schools, 10 districts, three postsecondary institutions, and one early learning center being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

“Schools throughout the District of Columbia have focused on ‘green’ strategies, emphasizing the importance of maintaining healthy and sustainable school environments,” said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. “Congratulations Marie Reed Elementary School, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School and the Catholic University of America for all you have done to build a green school culture that has a positive impact on the whole school community.”

Marie Reed Elementary School
Marie Reed Elementary School, located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, is an arts-focused school with a history of community activities and stewardship to the environment. In 2016, the school established a dedicated “Green Team” of teachers to help with recycling and environmental projects. Marie Reed partners with organizations to ensure students at every grade level receive meaningful environmental education experiences in class, on campus.

Fully modernized in 2017, Marie Reed is a certified LEED Gold facility with sustainable features that can be used as teaching tools. The school has 10,000 cubic feet of on-site stormwater retention, including a green roof that is visible from many classrooms. The school boasts a bountiful school garden with operational rain barrel, various outdoor classroom spaces, and a fully functional teaching kitchen.

Marie Reed has participated in OSSE’s Environmental Literacy Leadership Cadre and Capital LEAF (Leaders in Environmental Actions for our Future) programs. The Department of General Services has recognized Marie Reed’s efforts in the DCPS Recycles! Honor Roll in 2016 and 2017, and also the Honor Roll with Distinction award in 2018 and 2019.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School serves students in nursery school through grade 8. The school recognizes environmental sustainability as a core principle, and founded a sustainability program in 2017.

The school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based curriculum and hands-on experiences increases sustainability practices through our science classrooms and labs, science class grow towers, a 3,750 square-foot garden and outdoor learning space consisting of nine raised garden beds, five large movable beds, two large outdoor classrooms, and an upcoming pollinator garden, wetland, and wooded areas.

Through cafeteria composting, the school reduced lunch time trash to less than 20 gallons a day for the 600-member community. The National Wildlife Federation recognized St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School as the first EcoSchools US Green Flag recipient in Washington, DC in 2022.

The Catholic University of America
The Catholic University of America has a legacy of committed and active leadership in sustainability at the local, national and international levels. With 677 kilowatts of installed rooftop and parking lot capacity and the current construction of a 7.5 megawatt DC ground-mounted solar array opening in 2024, the university is a leader in renewable energy development in the Washington, DC region.

Catholic University also supports student and staff-led zero waste initiatives and universal recycling and composting on two buildings on campus. The university’s investments in the school’s environment and sustainability enable use of the campus as a living lab for project- and place-based learning as well as sustainability tours catered to individual faculty members’ courses.

In the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (ASSHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) report, Catholic University achieved a Silver Rating in 2022, and has been ranked 21 on a list of Best Green Colleges by College Consensus in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2024 Edition. Additional accolades include the 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education award from the Arbor Day Foundation, the bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University award in 2023, and the District of Columbia Mayor’s Sustainability award in 2024.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 24 states. OSSE is the nominating authority for District schools. All schools applying for the Green Ribbon Schools Award must submit an application to OSSE for review. OSSE nominates up to five early learning centers, pre-K-12 schools, or local education agencies, one of which may be a private or independent school, and one college or university. Selection for the US Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools is based on documentation of the applicant's high achievement in reduce environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and effective environmental and sustainability education. Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions demonstrating progress in every area receive the highest scores.

For more information on the US Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, visit OSSE’s website.