MBUSD recognized for green practices, education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (right) and MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews (second from right). Photo courtesy of MBUSD

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (right) and MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews (second from right). Photo courtesy of MBUSD

The Manhattan Beach Unified School District was one of five individual schools or districts in the state to be nominated for federal recognition of its green practices and education last month.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson suggested the school district be considered for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program, which recognizes schools that both teach and demonstrate environmental awareness.

“I commend these schools and districts for reducing their environmental footprints and engaging students using sustainability and the environment as the context for learning,” Torlakson said. “Their efforts are helping to build healthier, more resilient communities and a more prosperous California.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District and the San Francisco Unified School District, Bay Farm School and Bishop O’Dowd High School in the San Francisco Bay Area were also nominated.

To qualify, schools had to submit applications that showed they had reduced the environmental impact of their campuses; improved the wellness of students and staff; and taught environmental awareness through the disciplines of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), civic engagement and green career pathways.

MBUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews called the district a “true national green leader” and praised Grand View Elementary for “leading the way” with its recognition as a national Green Ribbon School in 2012.

Since a baseline was taken in 2009, the district has reduced non-transportation energy consumption by 33 percent, it said in a press release. It has also decreased its emission of greenhouse gases by 44 percent. All but one of its campuses participate in Waste Management’s food recycling program, which turns food waste into energy, and which was recently expanded throughout the city. It also cited the recent installation of solar energy panels at Mira Costa High School, the installation of energy efficient LED lights throughout the district, a policy against cars idling, Walk to School Wednesdays, Trash Free Lunches and the use of sustainable, non-toxic and environmentally-friendly cleaning products as part of its environmental efforts.

The district was the first to debut programs from Grades of Green and GrowingGreat, which uses gardens to teach STEM and nutrition. Both programs are dependent on parents.

“The parents of MBUSD have been spectacular, and we could not have done this work without their leadership,” said Matthews.

The superintendent also thanked the teachers for helping “students to be more conscious of their environment” and the students for taking “a little extra time to be green and make a better future life for themselves and others.”

The U.S. Department of Education will announce the national winners on Earth Day, April 22. ER

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Written by: Easy Reader Staff

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