By Mary Margaret Stewart, assistant editor
The U.S. Department of Education’s 2017 Green Strides Tour is stopping at Morningside Elementary School on Sept. 20.
Morningside was deemed a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education “for its efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach environmental education.”
This year, the tour is theme is, “Taking Learning Outside.”
The objective of the Green Strides Tour is to show the impact of learning outside of the classroom.
According to a recent press release from Atlanta Public Schools, the tour will demonstrate “how schools teach effective environmental education, stewardship, and civic values through learning outside school walls while making positive contributions to communities and the planet.”
The tour will look at the elementary school’s leadership in facilities, health and environmental education.
Morningside was recognized as a Green Ribbon School for:
– Installing a $5 million HVAC unit, which combined the heating and cooling units to cut down on energy expenses
– Starting a recycling program
– Making strides towards a healthier staff and student body, such as offering First Fitness Friday, which is nutrition and fitness workshops for the community
– Providing effective environmental and sustainability education, such as lessons about the school’s year-round garden and the school’s partnership with Trees Atlanta
– Working in a student garden all year to produce fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. The school is part of a farm-to-table initiative to give organic vegetables, eggs, and meats to local families
– Incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways, like using turf fields to conserve water
“Morningside Elementary is extremely proud of the wonderful programs we have within our building,” Morningside Principal Audrey Sofianos said. “[We continue to] focus on effective environmental and sustainability education, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and reducing environmental impact and costs.”