2 DODEA schools earn system’s 1st ribbons for green efforts
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Two of the U.S. military’s schools are being honored for their efforts “to go green.”
The U.S. Department of Education last week named Wiesbaden Middle School and Charles P. Murray Elementary School at Fort Stewart, Ga., as “Green Ribbon Schools,” an award recognizing a school’s efforts to promote practices that benefit both the environment and kids.
It’s the first year since the federal initiative was launched in the 2011-12 school year that a DODEA school has earned the award.
“I’m happy for the kids,” Wiesbaden principal Susan Hargis said. “I want them to be able to look back (and remember) ‘this was a great school. We did great things and it was recognized.’”
National award recipients, representing 58 schools and 14 districts, will be honored June 3 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. They’ll each receive a plaque and banner for their school.
To be considered, schools submitted an application detailing their achievements. They then had to be nominated by a state education official or the equivalent.
Among Wiesbaden’s “green” accomplishments, the school expanded recycling efforts, setting up recycling bins in the school cafeteria for students to sort their trash, Hargis said.
This year, Hargis and the school’s seventh-grade teachers began working with technical experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District on a two-year project to develop and sustain an outdoor classroom. As part of that effort, seventh-graders on Wednesday planted 300 flowers, plants and herbs in three different gardens on school grounds.
The school of 472 students in grades six to eight incorporates science, technology, engineering and math instruction across the curriculum, Hargis said.
Charles P. Murray Elementary School is one of the newer schools in DODEA, having opened just last fall. Its environmental-sustainable standards included the use of water heated by solar energy and low-flow flush toilets. The school also collects rain water for irrigation, according to its award application. Students are encouraged to carry reusable water bottles, and the school’s food service program does not serve fried foods.