Green Practices Earn GOLD-Level Recognition

District’s Green Practices Earn GOLD-Level Recognition in 2021 Florida Green School Awards
Posted on 10/21/2021
Students holding Grocery bags

A continued focus on sustainability has recently earned the School District of Palm Beach County a GOLD ranking level in the 2021 Florida Green School Awards Program.

“Palm Beach County School District continues to be a high-performing role model district that exemplifies environmental stewardship, sustainable practices, and fiscal responsibility in conservation of natural resources,” said Kesta James, director of Environmental & Conservation Services. “Recognition as a GOLD-level Florida Green School District is an achievement for which we can all be proud. Congratulations, Team Palm Beach!”

The statewide awards are given annually by the Florida Green School Network, which involves the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Health, and Sustainable Florida.

The program recognizes, supports, and promotes sustainability practices in school districts that enhance the quality of education while preserving the environment. The District has achieved this GOLD-level distinction in the Florida Green School Awards Program in previous years as well.

"It's an honor for our District to be recognized along with other green districts in the state of Florida for continuing our commitment to sustainable practices,” said Lisa Toy, sustainability and recycling coordinator for the District.

The District's Environmental & Conservation Services Department leads the School Sustainability initiative and worked with several other departments, including Teaching and Learning, School Food Service, Maintenance and Plant Operations, Building Code Services, and Facilities Construction, to gather information for this year's application.

Some of the notable green initiatives that earned this distinction include reducing energy usage through facilities upgrades, increasing recycling rates, reducing waste by installing water bottle refill stations at schools, offering high school environmental courses and two Environmental Science and Field Research Choice programs, and conducting professional development for educators and staff focused on environmental topics such as gardening or recycling.

Many schools have “Green Teams” that work to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship at the school level. For example, on Earth Day this year, students at Verde K-8 reused plastic bags to pick up litter around the campus.

Students near a storm drainCommunity partnerships also play a major role in improving sustainable outcomes in the District. In the 2019-2020 school year, the District expanded its storm drain awareness program in partnership with the Pollution Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County. The program included storm drain labeling, lesson plans about the importance of water quality, and professional development activities.

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