Lake Mills Elementary Goes to Washington

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Theresa Lehman

We were thrilled to celebrate Earth Day 2015 with the news that our project at Lake Mills Elementary School was honored as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

This award program focuses on inspiring schools to strive for 21st century excellence by recognizing schools that achieve exemplary sustainable practices and achievements in three pillars: reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and, providing environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.

Theresa Lehman, Miron’s director of sustainable services, was invited by Lake Mills Area School District (LMASD) to accompany Dean Sanders, district administrator, and school board members Dr. Richard Mason (president) and Robert Dimperio to Washington, D.C. to attend the Green Ribbon Award Ceremony and a reception hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Senator Patty Murray’s office.

The ceremony will be streamed live on June 3 from 1-3:30 p.m. via the following link:  Miron will post links to the video, photographs and remarks from the day after the ceremony.

Green Ribbon award candidates were nominated by 30 state education agencies, with honorees selected from 28 jurisdictions. The list of 81 total selectees includes 52 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include two charter and three magnet schools. Lake Mills Elementary was one of 35 elementary schools included among the 58 schools, 14 districts and nine post-secondary institutions chosen as honorees. 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 81 honorees can be found here.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) aligns with the Department’s cross-cutting goals for education, including improving student, staff and facility performance and increasing efficiency at the federal, state and local levels. The recognition award is part of a U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates and workforce preparedness, and reinforce federal efforts to increase energy independence and economic security.

Encouraging resource efficient schools allows administrators to dedicate more resources to instruction rather than operational costs. Healthy schools and wellness practices ensure that all students learn in an environment conducive to achieving their full potential, free of the health disparities that can aggravate achievement gaps. Sustainability education helps all students engage in hands-on learning, hone critical thinking skills, learn many disciplines and develop a solid foundation in STEM subjects.

The group has been invited by the Congressional Green Schools Caucus to provide a congressional briefing on strategies for implementing and financing advanced energy efficiency in K-12 schools on June 4. They will share their experience with piloting Elementary School in the LEED for Schools v4 Beta Program and will testify regarding the school’s benefits and performance; it is 50% more energy efficient than a code-compliant school and consumes 35% less water.

The Green Schools Caucus is a bi-partisan group of more than 60 House Members that promotes Green Schools and their educational, health, and economic benefits. The goals of the Green Schools Caucus are to raise awareness of the benefits of green schools, lead policy discussions on this topic, and provide Members of Congress with outreach resources.

Congratulations to the Lake Mills community, District, and project team on creating a high-performance, healthy 21st century learning environment that provides students with hands-on environmental educational opportunities. The Platinum LEED certified Middle School and the newly constructed Elementary School are wonderful examples of green schools that have demonstrated triple bottom line benefits. We admire Lake Mill’s sustainable leadership and are honored to be a partner on your sustainable journey. We look forward to seeing how Lake Mills will inspire other school districts to strive toward 21st century learning and sustainable excellence.

About Theresa Lehman

Dedicating her entire career to sustainable practice, Theresa has worked on more than 70 projects seeking LEED® certification utilizing the LEED®-NC, LEED®-CI, LEED®-CS, LEED®-EBOM, and LEED® for Schools green building rating systems. She has successfully certified projects that have earned LEED® certification at all four award levels including: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Her portfolio of LEED® projects includes many “Wisconsin firsts” such as the first State of Wisconsin LEED® certified project, the first healthcare facility, the first LEED®-EBOM Schools, the first LEED® for Schools project and the first zero-net energy / carbon neutral project–the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center–the “greenest building on the planet” according to Rick Fedrizzi, former President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.

Get in touch with Theresa Lehman
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