State Education Department nominates two Warwick schools for federal Green Ribbon Schools Awards

Sanford Elementary and the Middle School are positioned to join Park Avenue and the High School as federally recognized green places of learning

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  • Sanford Elementary and the Warwick Valley Middle School are positioned to join Park Avenue and the High School as federally recognized green places of learning.

  • Photo by Becca Tucker Timothy Holmes, the assistant superintendent for the Warwick Valley School District, at the 10-acre solar array that powers the district. The Warwick Valley Middle School was nominated for a 2019 federal Green Ribbon Schools Award for the tremendous strides it has made in reducing environmental impacts and costs. That includes the installation of 9,000 solar panels on property at Sanfordville, making it the largest solar farm operated by a school district or public agency in the state.

— Sanfordville Elementary School and Warwick Valley Middle School are the state’s Education Department nominees for the 2019 federal Green Ribbon Schools Awards, state officials announced Feb. 15.

The prestigious awards program recognizes schools where staff, students, officials and communities work together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments, while ensuring the environmental literacy of their graduates.

The U.S. Department of Education deems these practices as proven to improve student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates and workforce preparedness–and part of a government-wide goal to increase energy independence and economic security.

“By taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and become more climate-friendly, these schools are not only setting an example for their students, they are setting an example for their community and schools across the state,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in the NYSED’s official release. “I commend the students and staff in these schools for their commitment to improving their community and working to build a cleaner, safer community for all.”

At SanfordvilleSanfordville Elementary School was nominated for teaching and implementing green practices and empowering all students as “green” leaders in the school community. These efforts have the support of a Green Team facilitator, Green Team teacher leaders and a student Green Cub Club.

Third- and fourth-grade students in the Green Cub Club lead classroom and cafeteria composting activities.

Student partners share their knowledge of composting, water conservation and recycling with all grades, sometimes in the form of public service announcements on video.

Visits to local farms have also helped develop the students’ awareness of sustainability issues.

Warwick’s Earth Day Festival has become an opportunity for Sanfordville students to share their expertise with the entire community.

At the Middle SchoolWarwick Valley Middle School was nominated for its bold strides in reducing environmental impacts and costs at all operational levels, including energy sources, school meals and transportation.

To complement sustainability-focused classroom and extracurricular activities, educators are actively engaged with Sustainable Warwick, a community organization, to help increase public understanding of sustainable living and promote environmental quality at the local level.

Representatives from all four schools also received training on integrating sustainability into the curriculum with the help of Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation.

Note benePark Avenue Elementary School and Warwick Valley High School were among 46 schools and six districts honored at the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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