Return to Headlines

Red Clay receives national Green Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara today honored Red Clay
Consolidated School District and Sanford School as the state’s 2014 Green Ribbon winners, recognized for their exemplary achievement in reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness of students and staff and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. The program is part of the Green Schools component of the Governor’s Children in Nature Initiative and the Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program, which is a collaborative effort by the Sustainable Energy Utility, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The winners were honored today at a ceremony at Red Clay’s Brandywine Springs School. Two other schools also were recognized as honorable mentions: Brandywine School District’s Hanby Elementary and Christina School District’s Kirk Middle.

“Their innovative programs have saved money, reduced environmental impacts and furthered student learning,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “This
recognition also provides the platform to share these best practices so other schools and districts can learn from and replicate their success.”

The Red Clay Consolidated School District implemented a series of energy efficiency and clean energy projects across multiple schools, in collaboration
with the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility. The projects have helped the state’s largest school district save $1 million a year in energy costs through a
solar power purchase agreement, energy performance contracting, and adoption of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The district also has a wellness committee that executes a districtwide wellness plan, which includes strict guidelines for school meals and foods sold to students. Several elementary schools in the district participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program with produce from local and regional farmers. Some also have school garden programs that integrate nutrition and science curricula. In each garden, each grade takes ownership of a different aspect of the garden throughout the year.

Red Clay was one of nine districts from across the nation to be named a U.S. Green Ribbon winner. It will be honored in Washington, D.C., in July.

“We are honored to be receiving this award,” said Red Clay Superintendent Merv Daugherty. “Red Clay has a proven track record of working to be
environmentally conscious in a way that saves district funds while teaching our children important lessons about conservation and the environment.”

At Sanford, the Sawin Math/Science building roof was replaced with a green roof, reducing the amount of water shed by the building. A campus recycling
effort also has helped reduce solid waste. Students learn through project-based learning, including in an outdoor classroom and by employing the walking trails,
ponds and streams on campus. The school also has an on-going effort to create the school’s first rain garden.

“Green schools help districts save money and reduce environmental impacts, both of which help students through freeing up additional resources and
providing hands-on enrichment opportunities,” O’Mara said. “These schools are leading the way in Delaware and across the nation by providing an affordable,
sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. We encourage all districts to participate in the Governor’s Children in Nature
Initiative and the Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program to enjoy the benefits experienced by both Red Clay and the Sanford School.”

The federal Green Ribbon Schools recognition award, now in its third year, is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and communicate
practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates and workforce preparedness, as well as
energy independence and economic security.

Last year, St. Andrew’s School, a private school in Middletown, was a national winner. In 2013, the state also honored Red Clay Consolidated School
District’s Conrad Schools of Science and Richardson Park Elementary School, in partnership with Richardson Park Learning Center.

“We congratulate the students and administrators in the Red Clay district and the other winning schools for what they have accomplished using EPA tools and
other strategies for conserving energy, improving health and wellness, and incorporating environmental education into every aspect of the curriculum,” said
EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.

More information and resources are available on the official Green Ribbon Schools website here.

About the Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program:

The program aims to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and provide effective environmental education in area schools. Nine
schools – six public and three independent – were accepted this month to participate in the 2014 pilot program, which was developed by the Delaware
Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) and the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU). All participating schools will receive an energy audit conducted
by the University of Delaware’s Industrial Assessment Center, assistance with energy benchmarking using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, one-on-one support with implementing new sustainability initiatives, and public recognition for their greening efforts. Upon successful completion of the yearlong program, each school will receive a $1,000 grant and the school that improves its energy efficiency and sustainability the most will receive an extra $10,000 awarded by the SEU. Any school that would like to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School award will receive additional assistance from DVGBC.

The schools participating in the 2014 Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program include: Brandywine School District’s Brandywine High and Mt. Pleasant
Elementary, Delmar School District’s Delmar Middle and Delmar High, Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Warner Elementary, Seaford School District’s
Central Elementary, Newark Center for Creative Learning, Sanford School and St. Andrew’s School (honorary participant).

About the Delaware Valley Green Building Council

The Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) works to inspire, educate and connect people around green building practices that will transform our
communities into healthier, more prosperous places for people to live, work and learn. DVGBC was formed in 2001 as a mission-based nonprofit organization and as a chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. DVGBC is the primary point of contact for practitioners, governments, and companies that are interested in
sustainable communities, and it is a leader in fostering cooperation and collaboration among organizations dedicated to environmentally responsible
practices in the building industry and beyond. The organization is headquartered in Philadelphia and has volunteer branches in the Lehigh Valley,
Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Metro Philadelphia region, and in the state of Delaware. For more information, visit www.dvgbc.org.

About the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility

The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility is a unique non-profit organization offering a one-stop resource through
its Energize Delaware initiative to help residents and businesses save money through clean energy and efficiency. The SEU was created in 2007 by the state of
Delaware to foster a sustainable energy future for the state. The SEU model is the first of its kind to be established in the United States, and is being
replicated in several other communities around the world. For more information, visit www.energizedelaware.org.
 
 
Allison May
alison.may@doe.k12.de.us
302-735-4000