California State Superintendent
Tom Torlakson announced earlier this month that
Oak Park Unified School District,
which includes five Grades of Green schools, has been selected as the
California District Nominee for
Green Ribbon Schools. This U.S. Department of Education
program honors schools that are leaders in the charge towards sustainability in
schools. Oak Park USD has successfully greened its schools through the hard
work of its principals, teachers, custodians, parents, and students. Its
Environmental Education and Awareness Committee has implemented programs
designed to reduce waste, ensure toxic-free schools, eliminate chemical
pesticide and fertilizer use on school campuses, foster environmental education
through school gardens, increase participation in walk-to-school days and
carpooling, devise green buying guidelines for school campuses, and coordinate events
related to environmental awareness. Some of the projects OPUSD schools
have taken on include
bioswale infiltration systems in
parking lots, cool roofs, energy-saving thermostats, and HVAC units. Meanwhile,
hundreds of students work on environment-related projects and eat the
zero-waste lunches their parents have taken the time to pack each day. Grades
of Green is proud to be working with Oak Park USD to incorporate fun and
positive environmental education in schools. The U.S. Department of Education
will announce the Green Ribbon Schools national finalists on Earth Day, April