District 99 named Green Ribbon School by US Department of Education – Shaw Local

DOWNERS GROVE – Community High School District 99 is one of five school districts nationwide to be named a Green Ribbon School by the US Department of Education.

The recognition honors District 99 for its innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs as well as to improve health and wellness and ensure sustainability education, a news release stated. The officially district will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington this summer.

“To receive recognition at a national level is a testament to the quality of our people and programs,” Hank Thiele, superintendent of District 99, stated in the release. “What’s unique about this award is that in addition to considering what we’ve practiced for years, energy conservation and education, we’re being recognized for our activities that promote social sustainability, which relates to how we work to improve the health and wellness of our students and staff.”

The district demonstrated that it maintains a healthy physical environment, such as air quality, daylight and thermal comfort, as well as an environment of wellness. District programs such as its equity and inclusion sessions, Mustang Way and Positively North lessons, vaccine clinics, food drives, community partnerships and hands-on opportunities for outdoor learning are indications of “social sustainability,” and giving people what they need in a school setting.

“District 99 established an energy management program in 2002, which includes energy conservation and awareness programs; these programs are not only vital to the future of our students, but also are fiscally responsible to our community,” Jim Kolodziej, director of physical plant and operations, said in the release. “We’re proud that we have received this prestigious award, and thank the people throughout the district who work every day to put the environment top of mind.”

Teachers James Workman, Keith Dvorkin, Kevin Ahrens and Mike McGinnis and students who participate in the Earth Action Club, Outdoor Environmental Club, Go Green Environmental Club and Science Club were integral to the nomination.

In addition, teachers Jeff Grant, Megan Marrs, John Sipple, Steve Ruffolo (retired), Jackie Weishaar, Kate Troyer and Mike Heinz play a key role in delivering environmental and sustainability education, including AP biology and AP environmental science courses. Information about the environmental programs at District 99 is offered at www.csd99.org/departments/go-green-sustainability.

Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four post-secondary institutions are being honored for their environmental efforts. The list and nomination packets can be found at tinyurl.com/3h3ayfk2.


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