Introducing a few of our friends!

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Over the past month we have had the opportunity to re-connect with some of our current partners, and forge relationships with some new partners. Today I wanted to highlight two of our friends to you!

The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA, formerly ITEA and before that AIAA, American Industrial Arts Association) is the professional organization for technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators. The organization’s mission is to promote technological literacy for all by supporting the teaching of technology and promoting the professionalism of those engaged in this pursuit. ITEEA strengthens the profession through state and national legislative efforts, professional development, membership services, publications, and classroom activities.

ITEEA has been around for a long, long time.  In fact, they are celebrating their 75th anniversary at their Annual Conference scheduled for March 7-9, 2013 in Columbus, OH.  If you are in the technology and engineering field or work in a STEM-related department, you could learn a great deal by attending their annual conference.  To learn more, visit

For membership and general information, visit


The Green Schools Alliance’s vision is to create a  global community of schools working together across boundaries to achieve an environmentally sustainable future.

They offer lots of great resources to schools and students. Coming up this Spring they have three conferences that you may be interested in getting involved with.  If you are in the New York area, check out the Ban The Bag Conference happening on March 2. There is the Green Schools Conference for Georgia Schools taking place in April, and just around the corner is the 2013 Green Schools Alliance Regional Conference happening at Besant Hill School in California on February 16.

You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website and watching this video.



Everyone is Excited for Healthivores Contest

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We are well underway with the 2013 Healthivores Video Game Contest, and the GRS team are not the only ones bursting with excitement.  Everyday there are more and more teachers and students getting involved with the contest.  With laptop computers up for grabs for teachers and students, everyone is putting their best foot forward.

We have had such amazing support from our partners and media.  Check out some of these great articles.

A Green Ribbon School receives “Energy Star” from EPA

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Schuylerville Central School District in New York, a Green Ribbon School, received Superior Energy Performance recognition from EPA this past Fall, earning an “Energy Star.”

“Receiving the 2012 Energy Star certification means the district performs in the top 25 percent of organizations/businesses with similar facilities nationwide and that Schuylerville meets strict energy efficiency levels set by the EPA. Energy Star certified buildings typically use 35 percent less energy than average buildings and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“We’re very excited about the Energy Star certification. We’ve been working hard in all of our buildings to find every possible way to conserve energy,” said Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Peter Riggi. “The last phase of our construction project is focused on projects related to energy conservation, so savings will be multiplied in the future.”

Schuylerville improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire campus, including the following initiatives:

    • Improved scheduling of building usage outside of the regular school day
    • Constant monitoring of temperatures and HVAC systems and ensuring boilers are working at maximum efficiency
    • More efficient use of air conditioning
    • Installation of occupancy detectors, so lights automatically turn off when a room is not in use

Riggi also credits Schuylerville’s Green Ribbon School Team for helping the district earn this designation. “Members of the Green Ribbon School have provided many additional energy-saving ideas and have made the campus a much more environmentally friendly place to be,” he commented.

EPA’s Energy Star energy performance scale helps organizations assess how effectively their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. The program was introduced by the EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Over the past 20 years, American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from Energy Star.”

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Berry Elementary receives ‘Green Ribbon Schools’ award

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Houston ISD News Blog – October 26, 2012 – Berry Elementary School received a “Green Ribbon Schools” Award recently from a national program of the same name in recognition of its leadership in touting green initiatives on campus.

 The school was one of only 63 campuses chosen from among 13 states and Guam to win the award, and Berry was selected for achieving the online community’s highest level of participation during the 2011–2012 school year.

The school completed at least four projects related to green building, recycling, conservation, the outdoors, health, nutrition and fitness, including:

    • Water Police—Designed to reduce the use of plastic water bottles on campus through an information campaign. Students patrolled the campus looking for people carrying plastic water bottles and issued citations containing facts about why plastic bottles are a poor use of a nonrenewable resource and suggestions for better container choices. Students tracked and recorded their data to see if their efforts were making a difference, and in just eight weeks reduced the number of citations issued by 75 percent.
    • Bird Strikes Investigation—Concerned about the number of birds that were hurt or stunned flying into the school’s windows, first grade students charted data to track where this phenomenon was happening the most on campus and moved to prevent additional strikes through the strategic application of window decals and the installation of bird houses affixed with suction cups. Students continue to monitor the decals and bird houses to determine their effectiveness in preventing bird strikes.
    • Healthy Snacks for All—This project was sponsored by the Berry ES Parent Teacher Organization, who arranged for healthy snacks such as apples, pears, and oranges to be given to students twice a week just before dismissal. The campaign has shown that students respond positively to healthier options, as evidenced by fewer candy wrappers and soda bottles in trashcans and recycle bins. Since the majority of Berry students are considered to be economically disadvantaged, this is the first time students are regularly eating fresh fruit as snacks. As a result of this exposure to different types of foods, students are now requesting more fruit with their breakfasts and reaching for the fruit plates offered during lunch in the cafeteria.

“I am very proud of my teachers for integrating authentic, meaningful, problem-solving activities into everyday learning,” said Principal Deborah Silber. “And I am proud of our families for embracing environmental advocacy. That is so important for the future of our students.” Green Ribbon Schools is challenging the 648 elementary, middle, and high schools in its 40-state community to create a “Greenprint” for 2012–2013 and become even greater success stories.

The national “Green Ribbon Schools” recognition and award program is collaboration among organizations committed to helping children develop their full potential by connecting with the wonders of nature. Sponsors include the AMD Foundation, the Brown Foundation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas and individual contributors. The program includes the Healthivores® contest to promote healthier lifestyles.


Fuentes Elementary Named TX Green Ribbon School

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Hays Free Press – Oct 19, 2012 – “Leading the way in the Hays Consolidated ISD move to environmentally sound practices, Susie T. Fuentes Elementary School received the Texas Green Ribbon School Award this fall. About the award, Stars Principal Regina Butcher said, “I am so proud of our students, our teachers, our staff members and all of our families. This was definitely a dream of mine when I came to Fuentes and we have only just begun the journey!”

Butcher came to the campus just over a year ago following a stint as Assistant Principal at Negley Elementary. She quickly shared her zeal for things environmental and that enthusiasm naturally dovetailed with the portion of Hays CISD’s 5-year strategic plan that addresses conservation. Strategy 6 in the plan says, “We will infuse instruction with environmental stewardship and integrate sound environmental practices into facility design, constriction, and operation.” That charge is increasingly prioritized in the district and Fuentes Elementary is one of the most visibly and demonstrably committed sites in the district.

According to the awards website, the Green Ribbon School Award, went to only 16
elementary schools in Texas, recognizing “schools participating in activities that promote and encourage a healthy environment.”

The recognized activities must fall under the award’s “Four Cornerstones,” those areas including Eco-Campus, Health and Fitness, Nature Adventure and Natural Classrooms. The seven-member “Fuentes Green Team” of Butcher, librarian Alma Medina, and teachers Kris Brown, Karee Bursiel, Kelsey Haltermann, Candace Robertson and Jayme Salinas oversee the ongoing efforts to touch each of those areas.

During the 2010-2011 school year those campus efforts included lessons on what they could do about overconsumption, what landfills are, and activities titled Waste Free Wednesdays, Green Hour, Schoolyard Scavenger Hunt, and teacher, staff and student health and fitness challenges in Fitness Stars. The Stars’ Natural Classroom included field investigation with a tree journal and “forest for learning” as well as nature electives titled “Be a Rockhound” and “Caterpillar Finger Play.”

Butcher and her fellow Fuentes Green Team members said their participation in the Green Ribbon Schools program allows “health, education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills, technology and ‘being green’ to combine to propel an entire school towards a happier, healthier and smarter future.”

The outward signs of this green wave at Fuentes aren’t hard to spot. The school’s Star mascot is now portrayed in the campus logo as a blue and green, star-shaped earth, with a sprig of greenery growing around its girth. Not too coincidentally, the Hays CISD slogan, “A Place Where Ideas Grow,” also sports a budding green leaf. By design, receipt of the Texas Green Ribbon School Award recognizes that Stars at Fuentes are being brought into the 21st century fully cognizant of the growing needs of the planet.”

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