Missouri Green Schools Honors Seventeen Missouri Schools for Sustainability Strides
Oct. 11, 2022 – Missouri Green Schools (MGS) today announced its 2022 honorees, recognizing 17 schools for their commitment to improving the health and wellness of students and staff, lowering their environmental impact, and providing place-based education.
“By achieving Sprout, Seedling and Sapling level recognition these Missouri schools are embracing green and healthy practices within their campuses, curriculum, and culture,” said Hope Gribble, MGS co-director.
MGS is a state level recognition and support program co-managed by the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. MGS annually recognizes schools for initiatives ranging from designing accessible gardens to establishing diverse Green Teams which foster Whole-School Sustainability.
MGS 2022 Honorees
Sprout schools are honored for involving school administration, beginning to benchmark and track improvement, and setting goals towards further advancement of green and healthy practices. Seedling schools additionally document a sustainability-related achievement in at least one educational program. Sapling schools additionally document their long term impacts, such as reduction of energy or water usage over a 1 to 3 year period.
Missouri Green Schools will continue to support these17 schools as they track achievements, set new goals, and strive to make a difference in the lives of their students and staff and in their communities. Interested in learning more about becoming a Missouri Green School or assisting schools in the program? Contact program directors Lesli Moylan (moylan[at]meea.org) and Hope Gribble (hope.gribble[at]mobot.org).
“2022 Honorees: Their MGS Experience”
- “We want to start our journey to become a Missouri Green School to get a better understanding of how the earth gives to us and how we can give back to it. Our hope is that the work we do to become a Missouri Green School grounds us in our connection to the world around us and to one another.” – Samohya Stall, Principal, Bermuda Primary, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ferguson, MO
- “This is an amazing opportunity that will give students real-world experiences and skills that they can use to improve the health of the planet, and it will also help students understand how we are all connected to one another and the earth. Additionally, projects they work on will help promote mindful thinking, and will allow them to become leaders of the school and their community.” – Jeanne Fernandez, Reading Specialist, Bridgeway Elementary School, Pattonville School District, Pattonville, MO
- “Our sustainability efforts here at Central Primary School in Ferguson have, using a PE analogy, increased from walking to a race walking pace. Our goal is to be running in a few years. Having a plan and setting green team goals has been key to this movement. The plan sets a movement which then builds. Also of high importance in greening our campus is the leadership provided by the Missouri Green Schools program and our school’s leadership support, Ms.Carnella Williams.” – Ryan Young, PEH Educator, Central Primary,Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ferguson, MO
- “At Chaminade, we believe that sustainability directly informs our school mission. We work to form young men to be conscientious and considerate, so for us sustainability reflects both a calling to be good stewards of the earth, and a calling to be good people who consider the needs and experiences of others. The work of sustainability allows Chaminade to educate students both in positive action and in the development of a student’s interior life. We hope our students learn to see how their thoughts and actions affect others, and affect the world they share with others.” – Mark Laury, Instructor, Chaminade College Preparatory, Independent, St. Louis, MO
- “Crestwood (Elementary) is an extension of the community so we hope to create a culture of sustainability that transcends beyond our campus to the homes of our families. By setting an example of environmental leadership, we also want to inspire a chain reaction for our sister schools throughout the district to create their own positive changes. A healthy environment and healthier students go hand in hand.” – Crestwood Elementary, Lindbergh School District, St. Louis, MO
- “Flance is committed to introducing environmental consciousness at a young age to teach our children, families and staff about making sustainable life choices for a healthy future, along with showing them why it’s important to take care of our planet.” – Isheeta Khurana, Sustainability Specialist, Flance Early Learning Center, Independent, St. Louis, MO
- Establishing a Forsyth School Green Team, including members from various areas of our community, and having a designated sustainability class, built on existing curricular objectives, created momentum around Missouri Green School goals. Initiatives like a family plastic bag collection and our school-wide composting efforts raised awareness about waste reduction, which ultimately helped people see that we can have a positive impact on the Earth and its life.” – Susan Zareh, Grade 6 Math Teacher and Sustainability Specialist, and Christine Torlina, Early Childhood Science Specialist, Forsyth School, Independent. St. Louis, MO
- “Herculaneum High School is committed to this journey not only to help protect the environment, but also to promote critical and creative thinking skills in our students and empower them to be more engaged and become leaders in advancing sustainability in our school and their community” – Erin Graves, Teacher – Herculaneum High School, Dunklin R5 School District, Herculaneum, MO
- “At Hixson Middle School, we conducted a study to identify areas that needed improvement from an environmental/sustainable point of view. As a class, we selected one of the ideas that was identified (classroom recycling), and created a plan to start addressing the problem. With student ownership/buy-in and the support of the adults in the building, the students put into action a plan that is theirs and is making a positive difference.” – Eric Hayes, Teacher, Hixson Middle School, Webster Groves School District, Webster Groves, MO
- “Green Club gives the students a chance to really understand nature and want to be a part of it. The students become aware of their own wonderful talents and gifts as we give them the opportunities such as bee-keeping, gardening, recycling, photography, painting, building, and community service. We have the opportunity to ignite the spark from within and watch it grow!”- Michelle Peak, Green Club Coordinator, Holland Elementary, Springfield Public School District, Springfield, MO
- “We are so excited to be chosen as a 2022 Missouri Green School Honoree. At Marvin Elementary, we are committed to promoting environmental sustainability and ensuring a healthy learning environment for all of our students, staff and families. We’ve had a history of working on projects that positively impact the environment and the overall wellness of our school community. We want to continue this legacy and show our current students how the choices they make today will impact future generations.” – Dr. Craig Thurman, Principal, Marvin Elementary, Ritenour School District, St. Louis, MO
- “During the 2021-2022 school year, Patrick Henry was able to take our sustainability efforts to the next level by leveraging our partnerships with Seed St. Louis, Southwest Food Services, The University of Missouri Extension Program, BJC, Healthy Schools Healthy Communities, Spire, Ameren, and countless individual donors and volunteers. Each of our partnerships make it possible for us to expand our garden program, create healthy food opportunities for our students, provide food alternatives for incentives, and create more movement opportunities in our students’ school day. We are so lucky to have these partnerships, which make it possible for us to become more sustainable one project at a time!” – Deborah Rogers, Ed.D., Principal, Patrick Henry Downtown Academy, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis, MO
- “Documenting our progress towards becoming a more sustainable school has helped us to celebrate our wins as well as be more intentional about next steps that strengthen our sustainable footprint.” – Lynne Scott, Science Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, Principia School, Independent, St. Louis, MO
- “The SFA students are always the motivation to get our sustainability efforts going. My work is to channel their enthusiasm into a project or task. I look forward to this coming year.” – Mike Herries, STREAM Coordinator, St. Francis of Assisi School, Independent, St. Louis, MO
Want to Get Your School Involved?
Seeking Pilot Schools for the 2022-2023 School Year
Missouri Green Schools is a free tracking and recognition program designed to help PreK-12 schools in Missouri:
- improve the health and wellness of students and staff,
- reduce environmental impact, and
- incorporate environmental and sustainability education.
Schools can see stronger educational outcomes and reduced costs as a result of big and small changes that also help the environment. These changes can happen throughout the school building and grounds, educational programming, and culture.
Schools with 60% or more free and reduced priced lunch programs have the opportunity for additional support, including access to one-on-one assistance in setting goals and tracking progress as well as financial support for staff professional development and through small grant opportunities.
Are you interested in becoming a Missouri Green School and venturing on the path towards state and national recognition for your efforts? Head on over to the Participate page to see how!
Seeking Applicants for the Federal Green Ribbon Award
In the state of Missouri, Missouri Green Schools (MGS) serves as the conduit for the U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon School (ED-GRS) Award. Both MGS and ED-GRS are aligned with and recognize schools for their achievements across all three “pillars” of a green school:
1) reduced environmental impacts and costs;
2) improved health and wellness of schools, students and staff;
3) effective environmental and sustainability education.
In order to be considered please email firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Congratulations to the 2022 US Dept of Education Green Ribbon Schools Missouri honorees!
These winners exemplify what it means to be a green school, and we are proud they have achieved this distinction.
School District of University City--Whole School Health and Whole Community Health, Hand in Hand
- Reducing Environmental Impacts—SDUC actively works to reduce environmental impact and costs through a variety of programs and initiatives. The district plans to integrate benchmarking and tracking of energy use, water conservation, and waste reduction into its efforts within the next two years, and expects to involve students in its implementation. SDUC has constructed two schools that have achieved LEED Certification, Barbara C. Jordan Elementary School in 2011 and Pershing Elementary School in 2012. The district has eliminated the use of all plastic straws, and continues to work to eliminate other single use plastics.
- Improving Health & Wellness—In 2017 the school district was a part of national partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, America’s Promise Alliance, and Alive and Well Communities promoting healthy schools via the Whole School Whole Community Whole Child. SDUC has centered this process from a racial equity perspective. The school district puts a premium on integrating social and emotional health into everyday learning and school experiences and relationships. The district calls this SEEAL: Social, Emotional, Equitable and Academic Learning. This program has achieved national recognition for successes in community engagement, increased joy and well-being, and reduced disciplinary events. This program has also led to the creation of Ubuntu circles to build healthy, authentic relationships between all members of the school community, and student representation in the school board. The district also promotes physical health via limits on idling, monitoring of CO2, and a health-oriented integrated pest management method.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education—All schools, PreK-12, have “Outdoor STEAM Labs”- Green Garden Spaces with a Garden Facilitator. These “STEAM Labs” offer multi-disciplinary learning experiences which are unique at each school site, including partnerships with the St. Louis Zoo and U.City In Bloom. The district has centered project-based/sensory learning across all ages, and deeply advocates for all students to participate in civic engagement through a district-wide STEAM Expo and partnerships with many local organizations.
Principia School--UN Sustainable Development Goals as Tools for Schools
- Reducing Environmental Impacts–Principia’s strategic plan includes energy optimization to reach LEED standards. The school’s goal is to create an independent micro-grid through the use of solar panels and wind turbines.The plan also includes curriculum changes to ensure these choices are seen as cultural norms. Principia has purchased 100% Ameren Pure Power for eight years, substantially supporting green energy infrastructure in Missouri. The new Simon Fieldhouse, opening Fall 2022, has been prepared for solar installation, and peak generation will represent 40% of energy usage for the school. Principia utilizes rain gardens for stormwater management, and has introduced native plants and removed invasives in rain gardens, as well as in restored native habitats on campus. In total, 2 ponds, a savannah, a permaculture orchard, and gardens total 48 acres of restored native plants throughout the campus, an initiative undertaken with student support.
- Improving Health & Wellness—Air quality testing has shown that Principia’s indoor air quality is higher than the outdoor air quality via the use of MERV13 filters and ionization. For the last decade, Principia has prioritized and utilized Green Seal Certified cleaning products. School Physical Education classes are mandatory and teach holistic health, and at upper grade levels, alternative P.E. classes including Gardening and “Eco P.E.” are offered. Fresh vegetables grown in the school’s gardens are utilized in the school kitchen. The campus has a student wellness facility for the boarding students called Campus House which is also available 24/7 for any student needing a quiet atmosphere or 1:1 care. Principia employs a full-time counseling team, which focuses on academic, college and career, and social/emotional learning. In addition, there are several student-led affinity/advocacy groups to support people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and those interested in mental health awareness. These affinity groups work hand-in-hand with the school’s DEI professional development and curriculum.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education—Lower, Middle and Upper Schools maintain an IDEA Lab that is STEM focused and staffed by full-time teachers. Curriculum is intentionally tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Middle School, students work with St. Louis city planners to generate ideas to shift to more sustainable practices, study genetically modified organisms and even travel to Costa Rica and learn about agricultural practices around bananas and coffee while also studying biodiversity. In the Upper School, Principia offers an elective sustainability class that uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework of entry to what sustainability is and how we can each affect change towards the betterment of humanity and our planet. Principia also hosts the Impact Challenge, a project which engages multiple local schools, and uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a platform with which students can engage as change makers for good in our communities and the world.
Congratulations to the 2021 US Dept of Education Green Ribbon Schools Missouri honoree!
Flance Early Learning Center--Infusing Health in All Aspects of the School
Flance serves quality education and care to a racially, culturally, developmentally, and socio-economically diverse population of children between ages six weeks and six years to ensure healthy physical, emotional, and social development. Flance was founded with a desire that all children have the best possible start in life, regardless of their families’ socioeconomic development, so we address healthy development in a comprehensive way. By providing students, families, staff, and community with resources and education, Flance encourages them to be environmentally and health-conscious to catalyze change within their communities.
- Reducing Environmental Impacts–Flance was built with LEED certification in mind, and the building itself contributes to increased environmental literacy and wellness of people and the planet. It was designed to bring the outdoors in—daylighting is used in 90% of the building, every classroom has immediate access visually and physically to the outdoors, and classrooms are named for trees native to Missouri. 75% of our roof is comprised of reflective materials, and the HVAC system can be controlled remotely even when the building is unoccupied. We use Energy Star Portfolio Manager to track gas and electricity usage and we have reduced our total GHG Emissions Intensity by 37% over the past two years. Two-thirds of our grounds are comprised of water-efficient and regionally appropriate plants, and we have bioswales and raingarden plants to retain stormwater and minimize runoff. This school year, we have been more proactive in reducing our waste production. Flance received a donation of three compost bins located by our community garden to make use of food waste. We also received 30 recycling bins, 2 recycling carts, and numerous educational materials from St. Louis City Recycles to help us educate and practice good recycling habits. This inspired us to begin a recycling tracking system and become more cognizant about ways we can encourage and support sustainable practices. Our newly established Green Team, comprised of administrative, teaching, and custodial staff, is working to educate all staff about waste reduction and how to incorporate this topic into classroom curriculum and school culture.
- Improving Health & Wellness–We encourage our families to make healthy life choices. Our chef prepares nourishing meals, including organic baby food, for our students incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Our deliberate programming includes ongoing nutrition education, gardening education, physical activities, outdoor playtime, and nutrition and health-based professional development at least twice a year for staff. As a result, Flance was named the only Gold Level Healthy Way to Grow Center in the United States by the American Heart Association in October 2020. Flance was recognized for providing healthy environments for children, families, staff, and communities. In partnership with Affinia Health Care, Flance houses an on-site health clinic to provide a wide range of health services for Flance families. As a designated EnVision Center by HUD, since May 2020 we’ve provided over 25 tons of free fresh produce valued at over $180,000 to Flance families and our 63106 community neighbors via a weekly Free Fresh Food Box program. The 63106-zip code is one of the poorest zip codes in Missouri and is a food desert with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. When safe to do so, we are eager to return to utilizing our school to provide support through cooking classes for families and providing meeting space in our community room for a variety of events that have included parenting classes, movie nights, resume workshops, and job trainings.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education–Health and the environment are embedded in the curriculum, from math lessons that involve making a healthy snack to vocabulary acquisition reflective of the natural world and valuing stewardship. Community partnerships further enhance these efforts. For example, Flance partner Urban Harvest helps us with nutrition education with our on-site community garden. We incorporate Urban Harvest’s expertise in our curriculum for Pre-K classrooms, which includes planting, harvesting, gardening, and natural scavenger hunts. Children learn about fresh fruits and vegetables and the harvest supplements student and staff meals. When possible, we even share it with our families. In 2020, students harvested 200 pounds of produce. In August 2020, we started an after-school program that encouraged neighborhood children from ages 8 – 14 to explore and learn about our garden.
Congratulations to the 2020 US Dept of Education Green Ribbon Schools Missouri honorees!
These schools exemplify what it means to be a green school, and we are proud they have achieved this distinction.
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Parkway School District--Not One, but Two Sustainability Coordinators
- Reducing Environmental Impacts–Parkway hired their first Sustainability Coordinator in 2010, setting the stage for the districtwide benchmarking and goal-setting that has led to the impressive decrease in energy use, water consumption, and waste of all sorts.
- Improving Health & Wellness–From the Indoor Air Quality Task Force to the ropes course adventure learning opportunities to food pantries kept stocked at many of their schools, PSD works to improve the overall health of their students and staff in a variety of ways.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education–In 2018, PSD brought in a second sustainability coordinator, this time focusing on the integration of sustainability into the curriculum. This school year, the Board of Education approved the inclusion of the Parkway Principles of Education for Sustainability into the elementary science curriculum, guaranteeing that students across this district will understand that they share the Earth with many others, learn how their actions make a difference, and develop their systems thinking skills.
Mary Institute Country Day School--Infusing Sustainability throughout the Curriculum, Buildings, and Landscape
- Reducing Environmental Impacts–Extensive improvements to the buildings that have earned the school an Energy Star Portfolio Manager score of 89 and adoption of landcare practices that include using a 10,000-gallon rainwater collection tank and 1,100 gallons-per-day greywater tank to irrigate the landscaping which now boasts 98% native plants.
- Improving Health & Wellness–From providing small-batch, scratch-made meals are made daily and monitored by trained nutritionists, abundant opportunities before and after school for outdoor physical activity, providing natural light and CO2 sensors in buildings to create spaces that support student and staff wellness, MICDS supports students’ physical and mental well-being throughout each school day.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education–Students at every level of this JK-12 school are exposed to sustainability as a primary value–from honeysuckle abatement to protect the school’s varied habitats to pursuing UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of foreign language instruction to plant-based research projects fusing computer science and biology.
Sunrise School--Leveraging Partnerships to Generate Momentum
- Reducing Environmental Impacts–Sunrise works hard to reduce waste at the school and develops creative partnerships to do so, from engaging parents in plastic trash reduction to partnering with local farmers to keep food waste out of the landfill.
- Improving Health & Wellness–The school engages local farmers, University Extension, and the Jefferson County Health Department to provide ongoing health and nutrition education for multiple grade levels and hosts an annual community health fair to connect students, parents, and community members with healthy lifestyle resources and provide free health screenings.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education–Annual professional development for teachers is provided to continually expand the use of their 22-acre outdoor classroom as a teaching tool. Again, they engage a variety of partners, from a local beekeepers association to the Missouri Department of Conservation, to help provide relevant and effective environmental education for students.
Find out more about all 17 of the Missouri EDGRS honorees:
- School District of University City – Public – University City
- Principia School – Private – St. Louis
- Mary Institute Country Day School – Private -St. Louis
- Parkway School District – Public – St. Louis
- Sunrise School – Public – DeSoto
- Claymont Elementary – Public – St. Louis
- Herculaneum High School – Public – St. Louis
- Highcroft Ridge Elementary – Public – St. Louis
- Raintree – Private – St. Louis
- Bellerive Elementary – Public – St. Louis
- Green Trails Elementary – Public – St. Louis
- St. Louis University High – Private – St. Louis
- W. W. Keysor Elementary – Public – St. Louis
- Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School – Public – Maplewood
- McKelvey Elementary – Public – Maryland Heights
- Parkway North High School – Public – St. Louis
2013 – 2016 Honorees
Missouri did not participate in the Green Ribbon Schools Program
- Crossroads College Preparatory School – Private – St. Louis
- The College School – Private – St. Louis