Big Shanty Intermediate School (Cobb)
Dr. M. H. Mason Jr.
Elementary School (Gwinnett)
Cherokee County Schools
Cobb County Schools
Charles P. Murray
Elementary School, Fort Stewart (DOD)
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2015 – The U.S.
Department of Education announced yesterday that two Georgia schools and two
school districts have received the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green
Ribbon Schools designation. A Department of Defense school in Georgia was also
“I want to
commend these Georgia schools and districts for receiving this significant
award,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Their forward thinking
will save money and energy, while also teaching our kids the importance of
conservation of resources and protection of the environment in which we live.”
Dr. M. H.
Mason Jr. Elementary School (Gwinnett), Big Shanty Intermediate School (Cobb),
Cherokee County Schools and Cobb County Schools will split $10,000 in prize
money from the Captain Planet Foundation and the Turner Foundation, for
demonstrating energy efficiency efforts.
Captain Planet Foundation and Turner Foundation congratulate all the Georgia
schools and school systems who have made sustainability and high-performance,
healthy schools a priority in their capital improvements planning and
operations. This commitment demonstrates to Georgia students how highly
we value their futures,” said Captain Planet Foundation Executive Director,
challenging times, school systems across the state are embracing innovative
ideas to reduce costs and focus resources on the classrooms where students
learn,” said Lt. Governor Cagle, “I’m proud to stand behind the National Green
Ribbon Schools contest to recognize Georgia schools that are implementing
groundbreaking tools to reduce their energy costs. This will allow us to
redirect precious financial resources towards direct instruction, will create a
healthier learning environment for our children, and will give our students
career-relevant, first-hand experience in one of our state’s emerging
across the country, 58 schools and 14 districts were honored for their
exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote
better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics
and green career pathways. In addition, nine colleges and universities were
honored for the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. U.S. Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan and Goldfuss made the announcement at the U.S. Department
of Education in Washington, DC.
partnership involving the Georgia Department of Education, Lt. Governor Casey
Cagle, the Captain Planet Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the U.S. Green
Building Council of Georgia and the Clean Air Campaign, two schools and two
districts were nominated to compete for the national award.
2015 National Green Ribbon Schools
is the only 3rd through 5th grade intermediate school in Cobb County. We serve
758 students and have 54 certified staff members. Our diverse population
includes: 43.8% economically disadvantaged, 15.4% students with disabilities,
14.9% EIP at-risk learners, 12.1% Gifted students, 4.4% ELL students, and a
16.5% transiency rate. Our dedicated staff includes: 20% Special Education
Educators, 70% hold advanced degrees, 57% have served Cobb County students for
10 years or longer, and we house the only Special Education unit for Moderate
Intellectual Disabilities and Autism in Cobb County. We have a strong PTA
presence and community involvement. For the past several years, we have had
100% staff/faculty membership earning us the Oak Tree Award. In 2012, the Big
Shanty PTA won 1st Place for the State of Georgia PTA as a Model School PTA for
schools with over 750 students.
Team is a Key Team committee created by the current administration to assist
our school in order to create green environments by 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.
Team is comprised of 6 teachers, 2 administrators, and 1 parent. In April,
2014, we had 624 community volunteers during our Comcast Cares campus clean-up.
We received recognition by the City of Kennesaw for helping to make our campus
more inviting and environmentally sound. Comcast donated over $9,000 worth of
supplies and then an additional $12,000.00 towards school improvement. We were
able to plant trees, create gardens, maintain the existing landscape, and
create lasting relationships within our Kennesaw community. Big Shanty’s
outdoor learning centers grew from a humble beginning of three cedar garden
boxes, in 2007. We have grown to twelve purposeful garden areas, including our
sensory garden, memorial butterfly garden, fairy gardens, salsa garden, and the
fifth grade mosquito gardens. Our next projects include our shuffle board
court and a perimeter garden which has helped solve a water retention issue on
our playground. Future plans include revamping our nature trail and
bridge, while continuing to plan innovative outdoor classroom spaces. Our
sensory garden space is specifically designed for our intellectually disabled
special needs students. They are able to practice self-regulation through
sensory strategies and outdoor living through garden maintenance, while
building self-confidence as they watch their garden grow.
that Big Shanty has focused on is air pollution, specifically promoting “No
Idling”, carpool, and riding the bus. We make “No Idling” a part of our school
routines through signs, encouragement, education, and events. Our annual events
are the “We’re Not Scared to be Green” scarecrow tour and school-wide contest
during fall conference week. Each team creates an environmental-themed
scarecrow for judging. Another “No Idling” event, “Cocoa for Carpool,” was
created by a former student to rally car line parents to turn off their engines
on the cooler days of fall and early winter.
we support our children through our pursuit of STEM school certification.
Presently, our school has a Technology lab and a Math Lab as part of the
students’ connections. We also use Environmental Education in the content
areas, including Science, Reading, Social Studies, Math, and Health.
School-wide, we have hosted multiple events.
are teaching our students to become global citizens and thinkers through our
actions as a staff. It is the notion that one person can and will make a
difference, even in simple ways; turning off the faucet while brushing teeth,
turning off the engine at car line, riding the bus, asking a question,
participating in a service project, or paying it forward.
Mason Jr. Elementary School (Mason)
looks beyond today’s classroom to provide learning environments for tomorrow’s
students. We employ best practices in operations management, ensuring
that buildings, grounds, and athletic facilities are safe, energy efficient,
and well-maintained. We follow district policies for integrated pest
management, hazardous waste, chemical usage, and ventilation systems.
ENERGYSTAR certified with a current score of 94. Our energy-efficient
upgrades include lighting retrofits in classrooms, occupancy sensors, automated
energy management systems, and variable frequency drives. Students and teachers
practice energy conservation by turning off lights and following our school’s
“unplug” protocol prior to leaving for extended breaks to prevent phantom power
teaching and learning to occur, Mason embraces the health and wellness of our
students and staff. Approximately 80% of our fresh produce comes from
local farmers. Nutrition staff members visit classrooms to offer learning
opportunities for students. We strive to create a healthy physical
environment by ensuring our students spend one third of their specials time
dedicated to physical education. Utilizing the Fitness Gram program, students
are assessed annually for flexibility strength, and endurance. Ninety-six
(96%) of our students are helping to improve air quality by riding the bus,
riding a bike, or walking to school. Our school participates in the No Idling
program which is designed to reduce idling rates in our bus and car rider lines.
Signage and educational materials alert parents that our school is a No Idling
School, and thus bus engines and car engines are turned off while not in
environmental stewardship extends beyond the building and into our extensive
outdoor learning areas which have been funded through local grants. Over
30% of Mason’s grounds are devoted to outdoor learning areas, which include
trails, pollinator gardens, vegetable gardens, and native plantings maintained
by our students. One hundred percent of Mason’s landscaping is considered
water-efficient and regionally appropriate. Plantings around our playgrounds
are watered by storm water which is pumped from a detention pond on our
school’s property. Students engaged in Problem Based/STEM learning
that resulted in the design & installation of terraced steps leading to our
outdoor classroom. The terraced steps not only provide easier access
to the outdoor classroom, but also decreased erosion and storm water runoff.
incorporates environmental education K-5 that is aligned to the Common Core. We
are pleased to report that over 90% of our students met or exceeded the
standards in science. Mason is in its second year of completing Georgia STEM
certification process. All teachers receive monthly staff development in PBL
(Project Based Learning) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)
environmental efforts at Mason have been years in the making and required
dedication and meaningful collaboration between our teachers, students,
parents, leaders, and community partners. We “walk the talk” through our
PBL/STEM program, extracurricular activities, and a commitment to operate our
school to the highest of standards. It is in this way that we model
environmental stewardship for our students to provide a sustainable community
for our future generations.
2015 National Green Ribbon Districts
Cherokee County School District
choices today for a better tomorrow
County School District (CCSD), “green” is more than just a trend– it’s an
important factor across all operations. The Cherokee County School District,
located in metro Atlanta, is the ninth-largest school system in Georgia and
currently serves more than 39,000 students. Nearly 20 percent of the population
in Cherokee County attends a Cherokee County School District school every
The core of
the School District’s mission statement is “to enable all students to become
contributing citizens who can communicate effectively, gather and use
information, make responsible decisions, utilize technology effectively and
adapt to the challenges of the future,” and environmental awareness and stewardship
of these resources is a strong part of this responsible decision-making and
citizenship education focus.
Cobb County Schools
environment for student success because tomorrow’s future begins today
School District (CCSD), located in the metro Atlanta area, is the second
largest school system in the state and the 24th largest school system in the
United States, with an enrollment of 111,751 students and 13,371 employees.
CCSD is comprised of 112 schools and 14 support facilities totaling 17,202,405
square feet of floor space and 3030 acres of land. District growth, rising
utility costs and a heightened awareness of environmental health, as well as
the safety of staff and students, guided administration to research, test and
implement new technologies to provide the best possible learning environment
while reducing environmental impact. Environmental strategies are implemented
through individual departments, as well as site based school programs,
resulting in the common goal of environmental responsibility.