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U.S. Secretary of Education Names Sandy Grove Middle 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

posted Apr 25, 2016, 9:16 AM by JODIE BRYANT   [ updated Apr 25, 2016, 9:44 AM ]

Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss joined U.S. Secretary of Education John King to announce that Sandy Grove Middle in Hoke County is among the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. 

Sandy Grove Middle was nominated by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  Sandy Grove Middle was designed with LEED Platinum standards in mind and will save Hoke County approximately $37 million over the next 40 years. The 76,000-square foot facility combines energy conserving practices with onsite renewable energy generation to produce more energy annually than the school requires. The curriculum at Sandy Grove was developed to engage students in material science, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and geochemistry. The staff has embedded the school building’s sustainability features into the curriculum to provide hands-on activities and research-based projects for students to apply in real-world scenarios. The students learn about solar energy, energy and water conservation, air quality, geothermal, and recycling.

“We are honored to have Sandy Grove Middle School named as a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Sandy Grove Middle is 1 of 47 schools across the nation to be named. It is the nation's first energy positive, LEED Platinum designed, leased public school. It is also one of the highest performing green schools in the nation, currently producing 33% more energy that it uses. The design of the facility using solar power will continue to reduce the negative environmental impact and utility costs associated with operating a school,” said Freddie Williamson, Superintendent of Hoke County Schools. “I am thankful to the Hoke County Board of Commissioners and Hoke County Board of Education for having a vision for the future and leading in the areas of innovation and design. Going first always has its risks, but quality planning will offset the risks, allowing you to move forward as indicated with the success of Sandy Grove Middle.”

In total, across the country, 47 schools, 15 districts, and 11 postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.  King and Goldfuss made the announcement at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, DC.

The schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 27 state education agencies.   The list of 73 total selectees includes 41 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include three charter and eight magnet schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 27 elementary, 18 middle, and 14 high schools, with several schools having various K-12 configurations.  Fifty-one percent of the 2016 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.  

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