Press Releases


Newport's Claiborne Pell Elementary School and Greene Charter School in West Greenwich Receive National Green Ribbon Awards

Providence, RI – The United States Department of Education announced today (April 22) that two Rhode Island schools have won 2014 Green Ribbon School awards. They are the Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Newport, and The Greene School, a charter public school in West Greenwich.

Green Ribbon Schools are recognized "for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways."

The Pell School, which is lodged in a new facility that opened at the beginning this school year, was acknowledged for the many design features in the building such as reflective roof materials, low-velocity ventilation system and optimal orientation for daylight. In addition, the school was recognized for its environmental and outdoors program including the garden-to-table initiative and Fitnessgram, a fitness assessment and reporting program for youth.

The Greene School was honored in part because of its focus on environmental literacy. Teachers deliver the majority of the curriculum through environmental topics that are focused on energy, biodiversity and sustainable development. Students also learn through multidisciplinary "learning expeditions," such as the 100 Mile Radius Dinner, which culminates in a meal prepared with local foods.

"I am pleased that the United States Department of Education has once again recognized our schools for excellence in building design, energy conservation and our ongoing work toward making Rhode Island a leading state when it comes to environmental protection and instruction," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "I congratulate the students, teachers, and school leaders at the Greene School and Claiborne Pell Elementary School on receiving 2014 Green Ribbon Awards."

"Just as we want our school buildings to be energy-efficient and to have minimal impact on the environment, we also want our students to learn from their first years in school how to understand, respect, and protect the environment," said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. "This process is well under way in many of our communities, and I commend the students, teachers, and community members in Newport as well as the Greene School community for their commitment to environmental awareness and to excellent school design and construction."

"Across Rhode Island, many of our teachers and students are deeply engaged in exciting environmental projects, ranging from community gardens to energy audits to wildlife protection," said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "The two schools that the U.S. Department of Education has recognized today – the Claiborne Pell Elementary School and The Greene School –represent some of the best ongoing work in our communities to teach schoolchildren about the world in which we live and to ensure that our school buildings are models of green design. Congratulations to the students, teachers, school leaders, and community members who have earned these awards today!"

"The Claiborne Pell Elementary School is the elementary school for all Newport students, so from the moment our students enter our public-school system they are learning about the importance of being environmentally aware," said Colleen Burns Jermain, superintendent of the Newport schools. "With our state-of-the-art school building and our environmental programs we are helping to make our children environmental stewards of the future. I thank RIDE and the community for their support."

"We are honored as a learning community to be selected as a 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School," said Deanna Duncan, head of The Greene School. "Our school's mission is to explore the interdependence of human and natural systems. We believe strongly in the work we do to develop citizens and leaders engaged in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to local and global challenges."

Nationally, only 39 public schools received Green Ribbon awards. With these awards, six Rhode Island public schools have won Green Ribbon awards over the three years of the program. The previous winners are Classical High School, the Nathan Bishop Middle School, and the Providence Career and Technical Academy, all in Providence; and The Compass School, a charter public school in South Kingstown.

For more information, contact Elliot Krieger, Office of the Commissioner R.I. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, (401) 222-8471, or email

Related links

Share this: