EAST PROVIDENCE — The U.S. Department of Education announced its Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees for 2023, including East …
EAST PROVIDENCE — The U.S. Department of Education announced its Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees for 2023, including East Providence High School as one of the recipients from Rhode Island.
The new EPHS, which opened in August of 2021, was named a Green Ribbon School and the Jamestown School Department was honored as a District Sustainability Awardee.
"When you look at the level of knowledge and professionalism that our building committee possesses, along with the dedication still ongoing, I’m not surprised," East Providence School District Building Committee co-chairman Joel Monteiro said of the recognition. "I’m honored to be a part of this team, and I’m happy to see the collective efforts recognized on such a large scale. "
The $189.5 million project in city was recognized in part for the inclusion of the "Three Pillars" related to the award: Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs; Improved Health and Wellness; and Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education.
The pillars are comprised of the following elements:
Reduced or eliminated greenhouse gas emissions, using an energy audit or emissions inventory and reduction plan, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, conservation measures, and/or on-site renewable energy and/or purchase of green power;
Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation;
Reduced solid and hazardous waste production through increased recycling, reduced consumption, and improved management, reduction, or elimination of hazardous waste; and expanded use of alternative transportation, through active promotion of locally-available, energy-efficient and renewable energy options and implementation of alternative transportation supportive projects and policies.
High standards of Whole School Whole Community, Whole Child health, including health, nutrition, and outdoor physical education; health, counseling, and psychological services for both students and staff; family community involvement; and an integrated school environmental health program that considers occupant health and safety in all design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of facilities and grounds.
The new EPHS commitment to "green" components and technologies include the building's LED fixtures, daylighting, efficient HVAC systems, bioretention areas, pervious surfaces, and six electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, the high school features built-in recycle bins are located in every section of the building, and the school uses environmentally preferable cleaning products.
As well, the new EPHS has expanded its offerings of environmental/technical curriculum. It’s three greenhouses use soil, hydroponic, and aquaponic systems that provide Science students with the opportunity to cultivate a variety of crops that are then harvested and used by Culinary students to create quality meals for purchase by staff and the residents of East Providence. Students can also enroll in AP (Advanced Placement) Environmental Science or an environmental science pathway to engage in unique experiences, designed to promote the study of the environment, and to learn about environmental career pathways.
Other noteworthy aspects to the overall experience at EPHS highlighted in the report include its two full-time nurses, two social workers and a psychologist as well as the student athletic booster group “The Herd,” which helps promote a positive school environment.
“Our 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools have raised the bar for sustainable practices, energy efficiency, health and wellness, and hands-on learning experiences that enhance students’ problem-solving skills and foster a sense of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "I want to congratulate the educators, school leaders, students, families, and advocates engaged in this work for showing the nation that any school in any community can strive to be a green school, and in doing so, empower the next generation to build a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable nation.”