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Academy of the Sacred Heart Awarded the ‘2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools’ Award

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the Academy of the Sacred Heart is among the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. 

sacred heart a green ribbon school

Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions are honored this year for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. Honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 19 states. 

“Earning the ‘2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools’ award is an accomplishment of which we can all be proud. Our faculty, staff, and students made a commitment to improve our procedures and shift our attitudes so that we could all contribute toward making our community and environment more sustainable. We will continue to be a leader in our community and an example of good stewardship of the Earth,” says Micheline Dutil, Head of School for the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Green Ribbon School Distinction

The aim of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the award recognizes schools, districts, and IHEs that:

  1. reduce environmental impact and costs;
  2. improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and
  3. provide effective environmental and sustainability education

Combined progress in ALL three of these areas, known as Pillars, serves as the basis for the award recognition.
Another key function of the award is helping to facilitate state and local collaboration around school facilities, health, and environmental education. States are asked to show the U.S. Department of Education how their nominees are progressing in all three Pillars and encouraged to work with partners to develop their selection process. 

This prestigious award was designated for the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s dedication to sustainability. The school established the Sustainable Hearts program in 2019, to instill transformative, community-wide action and environmental stewardship. 

sacred heart a green ribbon school

Students engage in composting, gardening, and Pontchartrain Beach cleanups and volunteer for nonprofit organizations at home and abroad that promote sustainability. 

Students Engage in Sacred Heart Sustainable Hearts Initiative

The Innovation Lab promotes design thinking methodology to problem-solving, such as engineering an entirely renewable energy source powered city or researching fast fashion and designing up-cycled clothing. Students in The Innovation Lab exercise design thinking, empathy, and civic values by participating in social entrepreneurship projects, such as designing campus storm-water management solutions. 

They study the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, build birdhouses, make sustainable Mardi Gras decorations, prepare holiday food boxes, and participate in the National Geographic GeoChallenge to take action as champions for people and the planet. Sacred Heart’s Digital Media students dedicate 35% of their weekly show to sustainability. Students in Environmental Science courses study public-owned natural resources, biodiversity and invasive species, and environmental disasters and governmental policies and produce a school-wide newsletter with concise sustainability lessons. 

Renovations to historic structures dating to the 1800s have brought upgraded controls and mechanical systems, water bottle filling stations, as well as container gardens and rainwater collection features. 

Sacred Heart routinely conducts waste and transportation audits; sponsors various collection drives: plastic bags, glass, aluminum cans, furniture, uniforms; and composts food waste with a local company. The cafeteria offers reusable trays and metal cutlery and contracts with food service that prioritizes the availability of healthy, sustainable choices.

sacred heart a green ribbon school

The Academy of the Sacred Heart is the only New Orleans School to receive this distinction this year. Only 2 other schools in the Greater New Orleans area have been awarded: Ben Franklin (2016) and Belle Chasse Academy (2017). 

The Academy of the Sacred Heart joins the ranks with top universities including University of Virginia (2015), Louisiana State University (2017), American University (2022), and University of Wisconsin (2022). Academy of the Sacred Heart joins other Sacred Heart Network school Duchesne Academy (2020) in this prominence. 

The U.S. Department of Education will celebrate our accomplishment during two recognition ceremonies: June 15, 2022 in Baton Rouge, LA and July 26, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

In August 2022, the Academy of the Sacred Heart will host an award unveiling (more information to come on this opportunity). This award is only given once to each institution. 

More information about the program and the information specific to ASH (Select a state to see the nomination packages for 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools) >


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