White House Rural Council Agencies Tour Alabama Schools to Listen, Learn Best Practices for 'Education Built to Last'

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Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White and U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director Andrea Falken will visit U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in Talladega, Ala.,with federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency Green Schools Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice on Wednesday and Thursday, July 10-11, to see and discuss the ways school facilities can enhance the conditions for learning.

White, Falken, and other federal officials will tour Fayetteville High School and Winterboro High School beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT on July 10, before meeting State Superintendent Bice on July 11 to visit Munford Elementary, Middle and High Schools and host a regional listening session. The first leg of the Department's Education Built to Last Facilities Best Practices Tour includes rural 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. In the coming weeks, the tour will also visit New England, the Great Lakes and the West Coast.

Students attending U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools experience and learn about the latest technology that makes their schools safe and healthy learning environments. President Obama also believes that 99-percent of students should have access to high-speed broadband Internet through his ConnectED plan to accelerate and sustain student achievement regardless of where they attend school.

The Alabama visit will include tours of school buildings and grounds, conversations with students and teachers regarding environmental education and project-based learning, and discussions with key partners and energy management personnel. In addition, state and district facilities personnel and stakeholders from Alabama and other states in the region were invited to attend the listening session portion of the event at 12:30 p.m. on July 11, at Munford Schools. The listening session will allow facilities experts in the region to share best practices on school facilities.

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.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program is supported by multiple federal agencies and received awards from both the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools and the Center for Innovation and Environmental Leadership in 2011. President Obama has encouraged federal agencies to work together in new and exciting ways to maximize existing resources.

In 2011, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council to address the challenges and opportunities in rural areas.. The same federal agencies supporting the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools also serve on the White House Rural Council, where they are building on the Administration's economic strategy to sustain and grow the economy throughout rural America.