Green Ribbon Schools

The Green Ribbon Schools Award from the U.S. Department of Education honors schools, districts and higher education institutions that save energy and reduce operating costs, create environmentally friendly learning spaces, promote student health, and incorporate environmental sustainability into the curriculum. Awardees receive a plaque for the school, local recognition, and an invitation to the national ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program is described at the Green Ribbon Schools website.

2020 Minnesota Awardee

School of Engineering and the Arts: Robbinsdale Area Schools 

The School of Engineering and Arts (SEA) is a kindergarten to 5th grade school in Golden Valley that is rooted in a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) philosophy. Since their program opened in 2012, they have been working to reestablish native plants, orchards and gardens. They have reduced water consumption and their solid waste diversion rate is 56 percent. The school does not use irrigation and focuses on native plantings. Seventy-five percent of the property is devoted to ecologically beneficial use. 

At least 50 percent of the school’s 201 minutes per week of physical education time is spent outdoors. Teachers are frequently found outdoors teaching required core content in math, language arts, music, art, physical education and science combined with outdoor experiences. The students tend to butterfly gardens, a pumpkin patch, a fruit orchard, a vegetable garden and the school forest. 

During their time at SEA, students learn from multiple environmental professionals including Minnesota Department of Natural Resources foresters, fisheries, invasive specialists and conservation officers; national, state and county park rangers and naturalists; and numerous scientists and engineers with a broad smattering of green career focuses. In addition to learning from professionals in environmental careers, students attend environmentally focused field trips multiple times each of their school years. Such locations include Mississippi River National Park for the Working Field Trip where students studied locks, dams and alternative energies; Three River Parks; the Minnesota Arboretum; zoos; the Minnesota Twins Stadium Green Tour; the Science Museum of Minnesota; Target Headquarter; and others.

View a summary of this school’s accomplishments at Green Ribbon School Award Highlights, page 89.

View U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools awardees.

View a list of past Minnesota awardees, including schools, districts and higher education institutions.


U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), in cooperation with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE), nominates candidates based on an application process. The timeline includes the availability of the application in early September, submission deadline of January, and announcement of the award in May or June. For further information, contact John Olson, MDE Science Specialist (651-582-8673).