U.S. Secretary of Education Names Lake Washington School District a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee
Redmond, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Lake Washington School District (LWSD), is among the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardees.
Lake Washington School District was nominated by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Since the 2005–06 school year, we have reduced electricity usage per square foot by 30 percent. Domestic water usage has been reduced 30 percent per student.
Sustainability efforts in Lake Washington School District rely on the participation of every student and employee. Parents, community organizations and volunteers are valuable partners. LWSD's vision is “Every Student Future Ready.” This vision requires understanding and taking responsibility for the effect of one's decisions and actions, as well as contributing to a better future for the next generation.
District sustainability efforts contribute to future readiness through: Implementation of a comprehensive districtwide resource conservation management program; green building practices; kindergarten through 12th-grade curriculum and student learning focused on sustainability/environmental concepts; and professional development for teachers and staff.
LWSD integrates environmental literacy into school culture. For example, a waste audit at Peter Kirk Elementary School, in partnership with King County Green Schools, found that the school recycles correctly 96 percent of the time. Natural outdoor spaces enhance curriculum, like during Wetlands Week at Emily Dickinson Elementary. Students remove invasive plant species and learn about the important role wetlands play in the ecosystem. Students at Emerson High School learn about green sustainable design technology in a career and technical education course. They built a hoop house and raised beds for the school's urban garden.
“Our students and staff are leading by example in their cafeterias and classrooms,” said Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent. “With the help of supportive parents and community members, Lake Washington School District is doing its part to protect the environment for students today and in the future.”
LWSD is teaching today's students about sustainability, while using green building practices to construct the schools of tomorrow. By 2020, 27 percent of the district schools' heating will come from high-efficiency geothermal, including 75 percent of heating in its high schools. LWSD has the largest solar energy capacity of any district in the state at 615 kilowatts. School building projects must meet detailed requirements to receive funds from Washington State's School Construction Assistance Program, including the incorporation of natural lighting, which reduces electricity costs and enhances student learning environments.
The Lake Washington Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) Council established a district PTSA sustainability committee last year. The committee collaborates with the newly established district green team, which includes district staff from Support Services and administrators representing instructional programs.
Across the country, 35 schools, 14 districts and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
About Lake Washington: Lake Washington School District is a high-performing public school district serving Kirkland, Redmond, and Sammamish, Washington. It is the third largest district in the state of Washington, with nearly 30,000 students in 54 schools.