12 schools earn ‘green’ rewards 🎦
Posted on 05/01/2019

What do old clothing, a butterfly memorial garden and paper recycling have in common? They are examples of environmental projects that engaged students in hands-on, authentic learning, that broadened students understanding of “being green.”

The Green Schools Recognition Program challenges schools to be aware of the environment around them, to incorporate sustainability into education and to create a sustainable future for students.


Not only does the Whole School Sustainability model fulfill grade-level standards, it provides a real-world, hands-on learning environment that correlates into improved student engagement and academic achievement. From designing a Net Zero Classroom to composting cafeteria food scraps to planting and maintaining school gardens to recycling, the intellectually stimulating lessons and activities help reinforce the core components of sustainability.

At the sixth annual awards luncheon GSRP schools celebrated their combined successes, like paper, aluminium and plastic recycling programs that saved the district $1.3 million in waste costs, and clothing recycling that diverted 73,000 pounds of tactiles from the landfill. Whether the school had one or many environmentally savvy projects, the 12 schools recognized made a difference in their communities.


The top three winners of the Green School Recognition Program are:

First place, $5,000 – Apopka Elementary

Second Place, $3,000 – Millennia Gardens Elementary

Third place, $1,000 – Bay Lake Elementary


Judge’s Choice Award winners received $750 each from named sponsors: Campus Beautification, Keep Orlando Beautiful - Zellwood ES
Community Partnerships, Charity Clothing Recyclers – Millennia ES
Energy Conservation, Lightyear Technologies – Zellwood ES
Habitat & Connections to Nature, Sea World Theme Parks  - Wedgefield K8
Healthy Lifestyle, AdventHealth Community Relations – Apopka ES
Innovation, Universal Orlando – Wedgefield K8
School Gardens, 4Rivers Foundation – Killarney ES
Waste Reduction, City of Orlando – Bay Lake ES
Water Conservation, OUC – Blankner K8

Schools also earned incentive awards for their energy and water efficiency. Schools that operated at 11 percent more energy efficient than the district goal (13.1 KWh/sq. ft) include: Apopka, Bay Lake, Dommerich, Meadow Woods, Millennia Gardens, Tildenville and Zellwood elementaries. They each earned $500. For operating at 6-10 percent more efficient than the district goal, Killarney Elementary earned $300. The schools that operated at 11 percent better than the district goal (21.35 Gal./sq. ft) in potable water efficiency include: Audubon K8 and Apopka, Bay Lake, Dommerich, Killarney, Meadow Woods, Millennia Gardens and Zellwood elementaries, also earning each $500.


In addition to the top three, judge’s choice and incentive awards, there are four levels of sustainability a school can achieve. The breakdown is as follows:

Great start – Killarney, Millennia, Tildenville and Zellwood elementaries

Schools of promise – Meadow Woods Elementary and Wedgefield K8

Schools of quality – Audubon Park School, Blankner K8 School and Dommerich Elementary

Schools of excellence – Apopka, Bay Lake and Millennia Gardens elementaries


"Ultimately, this is about encouraging our students to become conscious leaders and to understand how they contribute and impact the environment. This program provides yet another pillar to be the top producer of successful students in the nation,” said Jennifer Fowler, Environmental Compliance and Sustainability director.


Additional community partners for the program include: ecoPreserve, City of Orlando, City of Winter Park, Dragon Financial, Orange County, Valencia College and University of Florida.

To learn more about this program, contact Jennifer Fowler or Colleen Buckley.