Principal Jodi Otte, Tim Burton, Bldgs and Grounds; with instructors Pat Collins and Tom Tengwall stand in front of the Green Ribbon logo.
by DENISE MARTIN
The Chisago Lakes Middle School has been named a Green Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education. Projects that have been done in and around the school are being recognized nationally for their educational and inspirational impact on students and the local community. This, along with Chisago Lakes middle school’s sustainable approach to energy use and reduction of school waste makes it one of America’s 2014 Green Ribbon Schools. U.S. Dept of Education Commissioner Arne Duncan in announcing the 48 Green Ribbon winners Tuesday via live webcast, stated that President Obama is keen on promoting energy saving initiatives at all levels and schools can especially play a role in this.
The 2014 honorees come from 27 states and nine private schools were included this year in the winners. Green Ribbon honors will be expanded and post secondary institutions will be able to compete next year, Duncan added. He said the Green Ribbon school is a “robust competition” that empowers teachers and engages students and he urged winners to share what they have done with other schools. Chisago Lakes Middle School has installed solar panels, rain gardens and an environmental classroom on its grounds. The projects were accomplished through community fundraisers and donations of materials and years of cultivating collaborative efforts. The school also meets award conditions by incorporating environmental learning into its curriculum, and supports sixth grade students attending Wolf Ridge Learning Center each winter. Various programs serve as a backdrop for a healthy lifestyle such as the health fair at the middle school annually.
The School Board meeting room was filled with district officials, the superintendent and business services director and middle school principal Jodi Otte to watch a live webcast announcement by Commissioner Arne Duncan Tuesday afternoon. Middle School instructors Tom Tengwall and Pat Collins were on hand briefly to enjoy the recognition as two teachers who have been strong advocates for environmental and healthful education opportunities. The Green Ribbon application was submitted by Chisago Lakes Buildings & Grounds Director Tim Burton. Two other schools in Minnesota were among the Green Ribbon winners; the Waconia District and Five Hawks Elementary in Prior Lake. The winners will send representatives to Washington D.C. in July to accept their awards.