U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the first-ever U.S. Dept. of Education Green Ribbon Schools Monday, two of which are located in Hawaii.
The Ewa Makai Middle School in Ewa Beach and the Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela made the list of 78 schools nationwide.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011.
Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating "green" environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.
The Ewa Makai Middle School is a new school built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Gold standards making it Hawaii's first public school "green" campus. Ewa Makai does not use pesticides on campus.
The Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela has built a first-of-its-kind energy lab that received LEED platinum rating and net-zero energy via solar panels.
The 78 awarded schools were named winners from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education.
More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools, including 8 charters, and 12 private schools.
In total, the schools are composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high poverty schools.
The U.S. Department of Education's "Green Ribbons" are one-year recognition awards. Next year's competition will open in summer 2012.