By Matt Underwood
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School (ANCS) is honored to have been named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Green Ribbon School. U.S. Secretary of Education John King recognized ANCS as one of 47 schools around the country that are “reducing their environmental impact, including energy use, waste, transportation, and water; creating healthy learning environments and fostering wellness practices; and providing effective sustainability education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century.”
In giving the award to ANCS, the USDOE noted many of the school’s sustainability and wellness efforts, including:
- “Farm to school” meal program using locally-sourced foods to provide healthy, delicious meals to students
- Partnerships with programs like the Clean Air Campaign and Safe Routes to School to limit emissions and promote walking/biking to school
- Daily recess, regular physical fitness classes and activities, and a mindfulness focus for students across the school
- Energy-efficient upgrades made to facilities which earned ANCS the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR certification in 2015
- Learning gardens on both campuses
Working to reduce the school’s environmental impact and providing students with opportunities to learn about sustainability and engage in healthy practices is a collective effort, and much appreciation goes to the work of Kari Lovell, Jim Kessenich, and Martha Kessenich from the business and operations team, Chef Bradley and the kitchen staff, teachers and staff, PTCA’s sustainability and health/wellness committees, and Jean Pullen and the team from Southface. Much support has also come from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s Grants to Green program, Self Help, Keisha Ford-Jenrette from the Georgia Department of Education, Gretchen Gigley from the Georgia Clean Air Campaign, Georgia Safe Routes to Schools program, Trees Atlanta, Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta Public Schools, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, which is greatly appreciated.
ANCS and the other USDOE Green Ribbon Schools award winners will be formally recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in late July.