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U.S. Department of Education Honors Boston Green Academy with Green Ribbon Schools Award
On Wednesday, September 25, Boston Green Academy (BGA) was presented with the Green Ribbon School Award from the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. for taking a mult-faceted approach to environmental sustainability at the school.
BGA is one of 35 schools nationwide to receive the award, which honors schools that reduce environmental impacts and costs; improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and provide effective environmental sustainability education. BGA is a grade 6-12 school with college and career preparatory programming focused on environmental sciences.
From left are Stuart Levenbach, chief of staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boston Public Schools Sustainability Manager Katherine Walsh, BGA Board of Trustees Chair Alex Chu, BGA Physics teacher Erica Wilson, BGA Career Technical Education teacher Chris Donnelly, BGA Headmaster Matt Holzer, and Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
“Congratulations to the students and staff of the Boston Green Academy for this recognition and for setting an example of environmental stewardship for schools nationwide,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “It’s wonderful to see students applying the skills and knowledge they're learning in the classroom to address some of our most pressing challenges that will improve our communities for generations to come.”
“I'm incredibly proud of the innovative work our students and educators at Boston Green Academy are doing to solve problems that impact their community and so many others,” said Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “Involving students in making positive changes at their school provides them a sense of agency and empowerment, which they can carry with them through college and career.”
In February, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) honored BGA with the 2019 Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools Award for meeting similar criteria. DESE then nominated BGA for the national award.
“We at BGA are very proud of our students and staff and humbled to receive this award,” said Boston Green Academy Headmaster Matt Holzer. “This was a team effort and we deeply appreciate the support of all BPS departments that have helped us over many years.”
“Congratulations to the students and staff at Boston Green Academy for achieving this national recognition,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “The school community should be proud of the example they’re setting for other schools seeking to replicate these environmentally conscious practices around the district and the country.”
BGA received the Green Ribbon Schools award for the following:
- BGA serves as an example of how a community of staff and students can use partnerships, relevant and engaging curriculum, and leadership opportunities to transform a turn-of-the-century building into an environmentally sustainable one.
- Boston Green Academy is housed in an ENERGY STAR building with a score of 94. Boston Green Academy receives 48 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Boston Public Schools, National Grid, and Steam Trap Systems recently repaired and replaced 203 steam traps at BGA, yielding a 25 to 30 percent savings. All classrooms and offices have been equipped with occupancy sensors.
- Students in the Career Technical Education (CTE) program in Environmental Science are conducting a cost-benefit analysis to explore retrofitting current school lighting with LED bulbs. They also are learning to use thermal-imaging cameras to collect internal and external readings of the facility in order to assess the building envelope and window efficiency. Students in middle school use Kill A Watt meters to figure out which devices in BGA use the most electricity. They ensure these devices are plugged in when in use only and that all vampire devices are unplugged on weekends and holidays. Ninth-grade students are working with the city on a solar feasibility study for a solar array on the building.
- The school adheres to district policies for green cleaning, integrated pest management, environmental audits, and no-idling, among other areas of school environmental health. BGA's chemistry teacher is trained and supported by Beyond Benign, a nonprofit that provides educators with the skills and tools to teach green chemistry in their classrooms and laboratories.
- Students at BGA participate in numerous green experiences, including overnight trips with Thompson Island Outward Bound and a green elective course with the Boston Nature Center in middle school, exhibitions of green research projects in high school, and a six-week green internship as seniors. Rigorous environmental science learning is available for all students, including those with disabilities and English learners.
To learn more about Boston Green Academy, visit the school’s website at www.bostongreenacademy.org. For more information on the Boston Public Schools’ Green Schools initiatives, visit bostongreenschools.org.