Highlights of Pennsylvania's Green Ribbon Schools

Radnor Middle School, Wayne, PA
Only LEED Silver certified school with a green roof in the Delaware Valley

Radnor Middle School has earned the slogan, “the school with a heart in the heart of Wayne,” because of its dedication to students, community, and the environment. The only LEED Silver certified school in the Delaware Valley with a green roof, the school stands out as a leader in sustainability. In the community, the students have worked to set up two community-supported agriculture systems, along with a Seed to Snack program, and have helped the community recycle paper. They established a school-wide Big Local Organic Movement and a BLOM blog and tend a year-round vegetable garden, green house and NWF certified schoolyard habitat The Environment and Ecology curriculum is embedded throughout grades and the school’s watershed program has been internationally recognized and a blueprint for environment literacy.  The school participates in PA Fish and Wildlife Trout in the Classroom.  A “Green Touch Screen” in the lobby provides visitors with information on the school’s green features and no-idling signs outdoors protect student health.  Radnor has made a significant reduction in energy use and waste production through green features, a focus on water use, and recycling. The school district supports environmental efforts through participation in a recycling program and transportation run on biodiesel.

Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School, Chambersburg, PA
Super Money Savers

Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School is an example of student leadership and strong community ties. With an emphasis on green space, the school has a garden, blue bird houses, and a community-use soccer field. Through conservation, Thaddeus Stevens has kept the equivalent of 404 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, and earned ENERGY STAR certification three years in a row. As a result of their strong efforts and willingness to accept environmental recommendations, the school has saved over $78,400 in 53 months. To protect student health, the building is monitored actively for air and drinking water quality, and the custodial staff use Green Seal Certified cleaning products.  Winner of the Professional Recyclers Award of Pennsylvania in 2008, and with more than half of students walking to school, it is clear that the student culture has strong ties to environmental sustainability.  Food service staff participates in choosemyplace.gov to provide nutrition and exercise information to students.  The school is situated close to neighborhoods, and more than half of the students walk to school.

A.W. Beattie Career Center, Allison Park, PA

First LEED Gold Career and Technology Center in PA

The A.W. Beattie Career Center reduced energy usage by 7.6 percent, water consumption by 11.1 percent, and solid waste by 21 percent, even as it increased the size of its facilities.  Additionally, 87 percent of the 43-acre campus is designated as open space, and includes a storm water control system. As a career center offering 16 different career fields, the school continually updates curriculum to provide students with skills that are applicable in the green economy.  The definition and awareness of green jobs has been promoted actively. Each career path is paired with projects and curricula in environmental stewardship, health, and sustainability. Science students grow herbs and vegetable seedlings, supplying the culinary program and faculty members.  Construction Technologies programs incorporate developed a green tour and a multimedia presentation available to community members.
The Beattie Restaurant serves homemade food three days a week.  In Cosmetology, students study chemical usage and disposal; in Automotive, they study environmental impacts and regulations in Automotive.  The Carpentry program designed a pavilion to be constructed at a local elementary school, the various bird and bat houses installed on campus and designed, constructed and donated an energy efficient model home to the Pennsylvania gaming commission.  School-wide competencies include job readiness and green technology, and students must spend a minimum of 10 hours working on school LEED features each year in every program. The first LEED Gold certified career and technology center in Pennsylvania, the building is incorporated into academics, especially through the school’s Green Technology team.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Largest non-profit solar project in the region

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s legacy goes far beyond the 65-acre campus. Students can participate based on grade level in one of three eco-clubs all geared toward shaping an awareness of health, community, and the environment. Wellness and health are emphasized through fitness programs, an outdoor education program, and a relationship with local produce farmers.  Students have planted hundreds of native species on the expansive campus, which also has three storm water recharge beds to capture runoff from roofs and pavement.  A leader in the community, the school has constructed one of the largest solar projects in the region and helped the local area recycle 320 tons of waste. The school also has replaced its paper letters to parents and the community with virtual mail. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is devoted to the wellbeing of their students, faculty, and community.