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Town public schools encircled by U.S. green ribbon

At Dallin School as solar arrays reach the roof. Aug. 15 Among those in this 2015 photo are, front row, Anita Worden, left; Ryan Katofsky, Adam Chapdelaine and Ruthy Bennett as well as James Worden, right. Jud Peirce is at left rear.

Arlington's public schools are among the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District sustainability awardees.

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the district’s recognition is based on three areas:

-- Reducing greenhouse gases,

-- Addressing the nutrition, fitness, mindfulness and overall health of students and staff, and

-- Teaching curricula that addresses environmental topics at the elementary, middle and high school level.

Greenhouse gas initiatives cited include composting lunchroom food waste; solar panels on six school buildings (with display screens in each of the participating schools to educate the school community about how much clean energy each school is producing); LED exterior lighting; and kitchen upgrades.

Wellness is supported by the Arlington Eats program, which provides daily healthy snacks in collaboration with the Arlington Food Pantry. Mindfulness-based programs and before and after school fitness opportunities also improve wellness.

At the elementary and middle school level, many of the science classes address environmental topics, aligning with the Massachusetts science and technology/engineering curriculum framework. The high school offers several classes that include environmental science and policy issues. 

“It is such an honor to be cited on the national level for our efforts to be a sustainable district and to educate students who see themselves as powerful change makers,” Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said in a May 16 news release. “With the support of the Town of Arlington, and the work of students, parents, faculty, and staff, our district is making a positive change today and for the future.”

Rachel Oliveri, school sustainability coordinator, added in the release, "This award recognizes and strengthens the commitment of Arlington’s Green Teams to creating a more sustainable school environment."

The schools were nominated by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Across the country, 46 schools, six districts and six postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

This news announcement was published Sunday, May 20, 2018.

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