Shown here with the school’s second, newly completed solar installation are the contributing science department faculty, including (from left): Dirk Parker, Carie Szalay, Marianne Maloy and Ellen Kruger. (Photo by Betsy Torg)

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is one of four Pennsylvania schools nominated for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award, which recognizes exemplary achievement in environmental impact, health and education.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy has demonstrated remarkable achievements in working to reduce energy consumption, increase cost-saving and ensure that students are environmentally literate,” said Ronald J. Tomalis, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, in a letter announcing the nomination.

The other three nominees include A.W. Beattie Career Center in Allegheny County, Radnor Middle School in Radnor Township School District in Delaware County and Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in Chambersburg School District in Franklin County.

The schools were selected from among 47 applications from public and private schools in Pennsylvania, which joined 32 other states and the District of Columbia in the Green Ribbon Schools pilot program this year.

These schools are to be applauded for thinking innovatively and working to reduce costs,” Tomalis said in a statement. “I encourage all schools across Pennsylvania to incorporate energy savings plans into their operations.”

Dr. Priscilla Sands, SCH president, said the Green Ribbon award was “a noteworthy affirmation of our powerful green footprints as an institution dedicated to sustainability.”

From our environmental education program that begins with our youngest students, to our fully engaged community of faculty, students, and parents who continually strive to make our school as green as it can be, to our rooftop solar arrays, rainwater recycling, composting system, and more, SCH Academy truly lives ‘green’ every day,” she said. “I am tremendously indebted to our science faculty for their initiative to undertake the application for this award. It was truly a labor of love to complete the many components required for our submission.”

Betsy Torg, SCH director of media relations, said that in addition to being nominated as a Green Ribbon School SCH also was named a 2012 Pennsylvania Pathways School.

Science faculty members at SCH Academy took the initiative to enter the school for consideration for the United States Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award,” Torg said, adding that thanks to the many hours they spent assessing and documenting the school’s environmental impact, commitment to health and performance of employees and extensive environmental education program, SCH is now a Pathways School and a Green Ribbon nominee.

The school will also receive a $3,000 award to continue its work on achieving the goals set forth in the Green Ribbon Schools program:

Reduced environmental impact and working towards net-zero impact;

Positive impact on the health and performance of students and staff; and

Graduates are environmentally and sustainability literate.

The award also marks the completion of the SCH second solar installation. Recently, five new fields of solar panels were added to the roofs of the upper and middle schools on the Cherokee campus. The project was completed at no cost to the school, thanks to creative financing with business and educational partners.

The U.S. Department of Education will announce the winners on April 23. An award ceremony is scheduled for June 5.

For more information about Pennsylvania Pathways Schools, visit

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