U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Glover Park Monday morning to congratulate Stoddert Elementary and 77 other schools from across the country for being the first-ever U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Green Ribbon Schools.
Stoddert was one of two D.C. schools to earn the honor; the other winner is private Sidwell Friends Middle School, which President Obama's daughters attend.
Seventy-eight schools were chosen from 29 states and D.C.
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First-grade students from Stoddert Elementary greeted officials including Duncan, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown.
With their principal Dr. Marjorie Cuthbert, groups of students offered a cheery "welcome to Stoddert Elementary" as officials trickled in through the front doors of the recently renovated D.C. school.
Stoddert is the first geo-thermal school in the District. Its students also use a learning garden installed last year and have instituted their own "green team" for promoting recycling within the school.
Dr. Cuthbert said they teach students "to do our best at everything."
"And that's what we're trying to do with respect to green, with respect to education, with respect to making a wonderful culture here that embraces the planet as we all know we must do."
"Every single child should have a clean and healthy place to learn," said Jackson, adding that the collaboration among agencies through the Green Ribbon program will ensure that goal.
According to Duncan, winning schools were chosen based on a spectrum of qualifications, including impact of environment on student achievement, cost reduction, student engagement, benefits to the community.
The selected schools were a "win, win, win, win in every category," Duncan said.
Next year's competition will open in summer 2012. State agencies are encouraged to send their intents to submit nominees by June 15, 2012 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.