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Home » Student Success » Resources by Subject Area » Environment & Sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

OSPI's goal for environment and sustainability education is to support academic success and life-long learning and to develop a responsible citizenry capable of applying knowledge of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems to meet current and future needs. Environmental education is a mandatory area of study in Washington, required by WAC 392-410-115.

Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Program

The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program celebrates schools and districts making significant progress towards:

  • Pillar 1: Reducing environmental impact and costs.
  • Pillar 2: Improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff.
  • Pillar 3: Providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.

Washington Green Ribbon Schools Award

Each year Washington submits nominations to the U.S. Department of Education for this award. Our nominees are considered Washington Green Ribbon Schools and are state-level honorees. If our nominees are confirmed by the U.S. Department of Education they become federal honorees.

Selection Process

Schools and districts complete an online application. A state committee scores completed applications. The state may nominate up to five schools or districts. Public and private schools are eligible to apply. The state committee also selects schools and districts that excel in one or more of the pillars as Washington State Green School and District leaders.

Schools can answer the application with data and information based on the 2017-2020 school years - information is not required to be from facilities for the 2020-2021/ 2021-2022 school year. In fact, most schools and districts that receive the award do so by demonstrating systemic and sustained practices. We do not want remote learning and closed school facilities to be a barrier to your application. Please contact us with any questions about accommodations due to the pandemic.

For more information, please contact Washington's program coordinator Elizabeth Schmitz.

OSPI forwards state finalists to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). ED chooses national award recipients from this group.

2021-2022 Application Materials 

Applications are due January 10, 2022!

Washington applications are open for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) Recognition Program. For more information, or technical assistance please contact Washington's program coordinator Elizabeth Schmitz.

Green Ribbon Schools Q&A Webinar

The Environmental and Sustainability Education Program in the Learning & Teaching Division at OSPI will offer webinars for schools and districts to go over application details, provide additional resources, and answer any questions about the application process. Dates, times, and registration links will be posted here in September. 

Learning Standards

The state's K–12 Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards describe what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

Environmental & Sustainability Literacy Plan

OSPI and E3 Washington led the development of the Washington State Environmental and Sustainability Literacy Plan.