For Immediate Release
April 23, 2014

Illinois School Named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

SPRINGFIELD – The U.S. Department of Education has named Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake a Green Ribbon Schools award winner for its strong environmental practices and curriculum. Woodland is one of 48 schools across the country being recognized this year under the three-year-old federal program. The early childhood and kindergarten school in Lake County is one of five schools in Woodland School District 50.

“Congratulations to the students and staff of Woodland Primary School for their exemplary efforts to promote environmental consciousness,” Gov. Pat Quinn said. “It’s important for all students to learn the values of going green and conserving our natural resources so we have a healthy environment for years to come.”

The 48 awarded schools were selected from submissions made by 30 state education agencies. The Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors schools that work to reduce their environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. 

“On behalf of the State Board of Education, I commend the staff of Woodland Primary School for their commitment to grooming a greener generation,” said State Board Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Their effort to conserve and reduce water usage is an excellent example of teaching students lifelong lessons that will have a continuous impact on their community and countless others as these students go out into the world.”

In September 2013, Woodland Primary School received the LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. The school has purchased more efficient water heaters and refrigerators, installed lights that turn on only when rooms are in use and reduced water consumption.

Woodland’s facilities also adopted green and sustainable policies, involving waste management, procurement and cleaning. “Reduce, reuse and recycle” are three words that are incorporated into the school’s everyday life. Electricity and natural gas usage at the school have decreased, saving energy and money.

The staff has implemented changes in the curriculum, including a unit on environment and resource preservation. In addition, the school’s physical education team implemented several wellness strategies for students and staff. The school introduced yoga and belly breathing techniques to help students recognize their feelings, calm themselves and become more focused. Staff volleyball games, walking challenges and step aerobics have also become part of the school culture and meet the federal award program’s goal to help improve health. The school’s wellness efforts aim to develop healthier individuals who are focused during both work and play.

“Today we celebrate this award as a school,” said Woodland Primary School Principal Stacey Anderson. “We are committed to our students and the community, to give them a sustainable future with better air quality, school pride, and a learning environment that symbolizes dedication to our environmental goals. From the first time Woodland District 50’s youngest students begin their school experience, they will be growing up green.”

Woodland Primary School, Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School in Oak Lawn, and Evanston Skokie School District 65 in Evanston were named Illinois Green School award winners in March and were submitted for the nationwide award program.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Mike Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, announced the winners Tuesday at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Award recipients will be honored at a recognition ceremony in July at the U.S. Department of Commerce, also in our nation’s capital.

This is the third year for the Green Ribbon Schools award addressing the environmental impact, health and education of our nation’s schools. Next year’s program will include a post-secondary category. For additional information please visit

Thomas J. Waters Elementary School, the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago and Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake were named Green Ribbon Schools in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education.

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