Science faculty members at SCH Academy took the initiative to enter the school for consideration for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award. Thanks to the many hours they spent assessing and documenting the school’s extensive environmental education program, environmental impact, and commitment to health and performance of employees, SCH Academy is now one of the first-ever Green Ribbon Schools. 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.(Mary Ann Boyer is not shown.) Photo By Betsy Torg

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 500 West Willow Grove Ave., has officially been named a 2012 Green Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education, making it the only school in the Philadelphia County and the only private school in the state to receive this honor. SCH Academy is one of four schools in the state of Pennsylvania to be named.

“SCH Academy is incredibly proud to be one of the first-ever schools named a Green Ribbon School by the Obama Administration and Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education,” said SCH Academy President, Dr. Priscilla Sands.  “Being a Green Ribbon School is 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.”

“I am tremendously indebted to our science faculty—including Carie Szalay, Marianne Maloy, Ellen Kruger, Dirk Parker and Mary Ann Boyer—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,” said Sands.

The USDOE’s Green Ribbon School Award is a federal initiative recognizing schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement.

“Green school practices such as environmental education engage students, and increase their achievement, and boost graduation rates and help prepare them for the jobs in the growing fields of tomorrow,” said Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education in his announcement of Green Ribbon Schools this morning.

“…Green schools use environmental education and sustainability concepts to teach everything, including arts and social studies,” said Duncan. “But they are especially good at, and we all know that, in getting students hooked in the traditionally abstract (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) STEM subjects encouraging scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Also helping to develop skills in new sustainability based green technologies including preparing graduates for the workforce and encouraging creative and innovative thinking.”