U.S. Department of Education to Visit Schools in California, Oregon and Washington as Part of 'Education Built to Last' Facilities Best Practices Tour

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ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director Andrea Falken and other senior Department officials will visit 16 green ribbon award-winning schools in California, Oregon and Washington, Sept. 16-20 on the next leg of the 'Education Built To Last' Facilities Best Practices Tour to see and discuss ways that school facilities can enhance the conditions of learning. Falken will be joined by Hal Plotkin, senior advisor to the under secretary; Helen Littlejohn, western states regional director of communications and outreach; Linda Pauley, public affairs specialist for the Northwest; and Tom McKenna, teaching ambassador fellow.

Education Department officials will be joined by Ronna Bach, division director of special nutrition programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Michael Ladd, regional public affairs director, USDA, at Journey School in Aliso Viejo, Calif. State and local officials are expected to join them at other stops as well.

The Department's 'Education Built to Last Facilities Best Practices Tour' features schools that exhibit best practices in school building and grounds design, construction, operations and management to support health, equity, educational outcomes, energy efficiency and cost savings in our nation's public schools.

On Sept. 16-17, the team will visit schools in California: Journey School in Aliso Viejo, Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale and Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach on September 16; Longfellow Elementary School and Charles Evans Hughes Middle School, both in Long Beach, will be visited on Sept. 17. In Oregon on Sept. 18, they will visit Willamina Elementary School in Willamina, Catlin Gabel School and Sunnyside Environmental School, both in Portland, and Gladstone High School in Gladstone. On Sept. 19-20, they will visit schools in Washington: Sacajawea Elementary School in Vancouver, Camelot Elementary School in Auburn and Millenninum Elementary School in Kent on September 19: Secondary Academy for Success in Bothell, Tahoma High School in Covington, Tahoma Jr. High School in Ravensdale and Glacier Park Elementary School in Maple Valley on Sept. 20.

The visits will include tours of school buildings and grounds, conversations with students and teachers regarding environmental education, health and sustainability, and discussions with key partners and energy management personnel. In addition, during the tour, all state and district facilities personnel from the region are invited to attend and participate in listening sessions in which they share best practices on school facilities and provide input to the U.S. Education Department.

The 'Education Built to Last' Facilities Best Practices Tour began in mid-July with visits to several schools in rural Alabama. At the end of July, the tour team wound its way through the New England area, stopping at schools in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. On Aug. 13, the tour made stops at four schools in New York and New Jersey, then visited schools in southeastern Wisconsin Aug. 22-23. Schools in Washington, D.C. will be visited Sept. 25 on the final leg of the tour.

The ED-Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees are recognized for reducing their environmental impact, including energy use, waste and water; creating healthy learning environments and fostering wellness practices; and providing effective environmental education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st century, including STEM, green careers and civics. A report with highlights on the 78 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.