Los Altos High School is one of two Bay Area schools -- among five statewide and 27 around the country -- to receive U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition for their efforts to conserve resources and promote environmental literacy, federal education officials announced April 22.
Los Altos High School in Santa Clara County and the Nueva School, a private school with two campuses in San Mateo County, joined three Southern California schools as the state's honorees.
The Los Altos High Green Team environmental club's efforts in the community were highlighted as a reason to honor that school, as well as its on-site solar panels handling more than half of the campus' electricity needs and electric vehicle charging stations being offered to teachers and staff at no cost.
“Los Altos High School has long been a leader in environmental initiatives, focusing on all areas of our school operations from purchasing to energy conservation to recycling to the generation of clean, green energy,” said Principal Wynne Satterwhite, in a statement released by the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District.
“The role of students in these efforts has been significant,” she said. “Our Green Team students are passionate, well-organized, and have worked effectively and collaboratively with parents, teachers, and administrators to advance the priorities of our Go Green Sustainability Committee (GGSC).
Audrey Chang, the Green Team co-president, said the goal of applying for the award was not just to document the school's achievements, but as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement.
“We are proud to have school environments which not only protect the well-being of our community but also are efficient and help us serve as effective caretakers of natural resources,” said Superintendent Nellie Meyer.
For the Nueva School, which has a campus in Hillsborough for lower and middle school levels and one in San Mateo for upper levels, its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified Hillside Learning Center at the Hillsborough site and the entire San Mateo campus being LEED Gold-certified were cited as points in its favor along with programs to teach students environmental literacy.
"This significant achievement is a reflection of Nueva's genuine embrace of and commitment to environmental citizenship," Nueva's head of school Lee Fertig said in a letter on the school's website that also thanked "all the students, families, faculty, and staff who worked so hard to elevate Nueva to this level of recognition."