The U.S. Department of Education announced On April 22 that Anderson Island Elementary School on Anderson Island, Washington is among the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.
Anderson Island Elementary School was nominated by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As part of the selection process, schools are evaluated on how they have reduced environmental impacts and costs, improved the health and wellness of students and staff, and incorporated STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways as part of their environmental and sustainability education efforts. A key component of education at Anderson Island Elementary is the use of their garden and outdoor classroom in the education process. This “outside education” allows students to better understand the interconnectedness of our environment and creates many opportunities to both learn, and learn in a sustainable way.
“Our staff is extraordinarily dedicated to making the education of our students hands-on, interdisciplinary, and tied to environmental sustainability,” said Susan Greer, Anderson Island Elementary School Principal. “The impact outdoor learning has on students’ social emotional wellness, academic performance, and interest in school is evidenced by their excitement to build a garden, raise salmon, and stay healthy. They realize they have a responsibility in protecting the ecological health of their island.”
Steilacoom Historical School District Superintendent Dr. Kathi Weight said about the announcement, “We are extremely proud of Anderson Island Elementary School. The students and staff at our “small, but mighty” school prioritize social emotional wellness, with a shared commitment to making the world a better place. It is a school where students care deeply about one another, their community, and the environment. Anderson Island Elementary School’s approach to teaching and learning is both innovative and inspiring, and this recognition is well deserved.”
Across the country, 27 schools, three early learning centers, five districts, and five postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 20 states. The selectees include 24 public schools, five charter schools, one magnet school, and three nonpublic schools. Over half of the 2021 honorees are in communities where over 40 percent of the student body are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 40 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.
Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1 serves the communities of Steilacoom, DuPont, Anderson Island, Ketron Island, and portions of Lakewood and unincorporated Pierce County.