Kromrey receives Green Ribbon award

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Kromrey received its Green Ribbon School award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 19.

Superintendent George Mavroulis, Kromrey principal Steve Soeteber and KMS enrichment teacher Brian Miles, who was played a key role in the application process, attended the ceremony.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Thursday, May 4 that Kromrey was among the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. The other state school recognized was Houlton Elementary School in the Hudson School District. In addition, the Washburn School District and UW-Stevens Point also were honored.

"One of our guiding principles as we develop our long-range master planning for facilities is to make sure they incorporate sustainability practices and provide learning opportunities for students,'' Mavroulis said. "Kromrey is a great example of what we can do when we make that a priority.''

Check out this video produced by the District's media production department that was submitted as part of Kromrey's application:

In all, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. Kromrey was nominated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

"This is a great honor and source of pride for our school community, in recognition of Kromrey's long-standing commitment to the environment and environmental education,'' Soeteber said.

Kromrey was awarded Energy Star certification (2016, score of 91) and U.S. Middle School Design Project of the Year 2016. The school also received the Wisconsin Technology Education Association Middle School Program of the Year in 2015 and was named Best Place to Work by Madison Magazine in its annual rankings that same year.

"The application process for Kromrey involved 18 months of gathering data on energy and water conservation, health and wellness, and environmental education infusion,'' said Deb Weitzel, a retired MHS science teacher who the District hired as a consultant and played a big role in the application proces for Kromrey and West Middldeton. "It's a well-deserved honor for another school in this U.S. Green Ribbon-honored district.''

Weitzel also said the District is working to submit an application for Northside by the Dec. 1 deadline.

Even before construction of the new school from 2013-15, Kromrey achieved Energy Star certification in its old building every year from 2008 to 2013.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 39 public schools, including five magnet schools and one charter school, as well as six non-public schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 63 honorees can be found here.

Kromrey is the fourth District school to be honored since the awards were implemented in 2012. West Middleton was recognized as a Green Ribbon School in 2016, while Park (2014) and Middleton High School (2012) have also been recognized. In addition, the District was honored in 2015.

All of the schools were honored 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.

Wisconsin's honorees were nominated by the DPI after attaining the highest level of achivement in the state's Green and Healthy Schools program. Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin is offered through a partnership between the departments of Public Instruction and Natural Resources, along with the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. It supports and recognizes schools for such goals as reducing environmental impacts and costs, improving health and wellness of students and staff and providing environmental education.

Wisconsin has had 19 schools and four Districts honored since 2012. Middleton-Cross Plains Area is the only district in the state to have multiple honorees in that time. Overall, there have been 340 schools and 61 school districts recognized nationally for their sustainability efforts.

“Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement. “This year’s Green Ribbon honorees are working on environmental literacy and connections to the community through place-based, hands-on learning. Be it in a school garden, a conservancy out their back door, or on the shores of nearby Lake Superior, these students are connecting what they learn every day with our great state.”