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First-ever national sustainability award to Acton-Boxborough schools

Posted by Tom Coakley  May 3, 2013 09:18 PM

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Acton-Boxborough Michael Yudin, Lisa Capone (3).jpg

US Department of Education Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin and Lisa Capone, deputy director of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division, talk about sustainability initiatives with students.

The following press release was provided by Kate Crosby, energy manager for the Acton-Boxborough schools.

Leftovers from lunch had been carried out for composting, hallway lights were operating at half-strength intensity, and garden sprouts sparkled in the rich soil.

These were among the “sustainability tour” highlights when Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin of the US Department of Education and Lisa Capone of Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources visited the Acton-Boxborough schools Thursday.

Yudin’s visit marked the awarding to Acton-Boxborough schools of a prestigious Green Ribbon Schools “District Sustainability Award” from the Education Department.

Acton-Boxborough is one of just 14 school districts in the US to receive this “first-ever” district-wide honor.

Acton-Boxborough and other award winners were recognized for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and encourage effective environmental education, including civics, green career pathways and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math).

Highlights in the Acton-Boxborough application, which can be viewed at included an 18% drop in electricity consumption over three years with a focus on behavior change strategies, composting of food scraps and reduction in solid waste, an award-winning nutrition program, and excellence in integrating sustainability into K-12 curriculum.

JD Head, director of facilities and transportation spoke to the district’s commitment.

“We’re proud to be one of the inaugural Green Ribbon districts,'' Head said. "We’re passionate about this movement because we can make progress on social and environmental issues while generating cost savings that can be folded back into the budget to support our educational mission. “

Superintendent Stephen Mills noted that with this award, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School becomes one of a handful of schools to receive both a Blue Ribbon award for academic excellence and a Green Ribbon sustainability award, both from the US Department of Education.

The high school was also the fourth school in the US to receive the international Green Flag award from the National Wildlife Federation, which serves as the US host for the Eco-Schools program.

In addition to the district-wide award, three Massachusetts schools were also recognized as Green Ribbon Schools: Manchester Essex Regional Middle/High School, Quincy High School and the Berkshire School. They rank among just 64 schools honored nationally by the US Department of Education for their exemplary leadership in sustainability.

Acton-Boxborough Green Ribbon Schools application:
Information about the Green Ribbon program

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