The U.S. Department of Education today
released the names of the 2019 National Green Ribbon Schools.
Elementary School is the second SCCPSS school to be honored with the
designation. Godley Station K8 was the
first in 2018. Gadsden Elementary is
being recognized for teaching conscientious environmental preservation with
A list of highlights provided by the Department of
Education about the winners, commends Robert W. Gadsden Elementary School for
exemplifying the concepts and ideas of conscientious
environmental preservation and sustainability. Gadsden Elementary was opened in 1955 and
rebuilt in 2012. When the facility was
rebuilt, a second floor was included in the design to reclaim more than an acre
of green space. This resulted in a new
athletic field and space for a 6,400-square-foot, 30-kilowatt photovoltaic
system. The photovoltaic system is
expected to lower energy costs by 5 percent and avoid production of more than
two tons of carbon dioxide every month.
The school has one of the lowest utility costs per square
foot in the district at 76 cents and has achieved a 38 percent reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions. A variety of
energy-saving strategies have included the incorporation of energy-management
performance guidelines and automated temperature-control systems; the
integration of occupancy sensors; the scheduled replacement of conventional
lighting with LED; the development of efficient student transportation; and the
introduction of recycling.
Students are an active part of the environmentally friendly
efforts. Over two tons of waste were
recycled in one school year by the recycling club, run by third-, fourth-, and
fifth-graders. The cafeteria
transitioned from Styrofoam trays and bowls to paper trays which are made of 20
percent recycled pulp and 80 percent paperboard, manufactured from wood pulp
grown in the U.S. from certified forests.
The school also reduced water use by 13 percent in the past year, and
three water-bottle filling stations were installed which is expected to
eliminate over 3,000 plastic bottles.
Physical Fitness efforts have also increased for both
students and staff through a variety of programs. In addition, the school has partnered with
community organizations to grow garden produce and students have the
opportunity to explore various career pathways related to agriculture and
farming not often presented to students from urban communities.
“This award acknowledges Gadsden’s
commitment to sustainable practices,” says SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Ann
Levett. ”We commend Gadsden’s principal Dr.
Renee Bryant-Evans, school staff, students, and families, Deputy Superintendent
and Chief Operations Officer Mrs. Vanessa Miller-Kaigler, and Executive
Director of Maintenance and Operations Mr. Arnold Jackson for their leadership
in facilities, health, and environmental education. The work done by
Gadsden is representative of promising practices to improve achievement and
equity, not only for aspiring green schools, but for all schools.”