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Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) is receiving national recognition for its sustainability efforts and has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2019 Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee. WPS is one of only 14 school districts in the country to receive this honor.
The District Sustainability Award recognizes the innovative efforts developed by WPS to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and deliver effective environmental and sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states.
In early May, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded WPS with a Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools award and then entered WPS into the pool of candidates for the U.S. Department of Education’s award.
“We’re extremely honored to receive this national attention,” said Dr. David Lussier, WPS Superintendent. “Promoting sustainability is a priority in our schools and our community. This recognition validates all the hard work and effort that many people across Wellesley—Town departments, students, faculty, parents, and local nonprofits—put into making the town greener.”
Some of the energy saving measures adopted by WPS include working to identify and improve the least energy efficient buildings, adopting recycling and food waste diversion programs that encourage behavior to save energy, and developing no idling campaigns and walk/ride to school days to promote alternative means of transportation.
To improve health and wellness, the Town of Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) began using “green certified” cleaning products in 2017. Buildings are maintained with an ionized water system (Orbio os3), which uses tap water in almost all cleaning applications and is the cleaning system available with the least carbon footprint, eliminating harsh chemicals and associated off-gassing.
And Wellesley educators have added thoughtful, strategic curricula across the district. Middle school students study earth science and have a global climate change unit as well as an interdisciplinary hydroponic gardening option. Wellesley High School offers an AP Environmental Science course and every other year, the community hosts a STEM Expo (a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exposition) for students and families.
The District Sustainability Award will be formally presented to WPS during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2019.
In addition to Wellesley Public Schools, Boston Green Academy in Brighton, MA, and Ipswich Middle- High School in Ipswich, MA, are the other two schools in the Commonwealth to receive the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award.