Three Maryland schools — including one in Severna Park and one in Ellicott City — are on the tail end of the 2014 Green Strides Best Practices Tour organized by the U.S. Department of Education.
The 2014 tour, dubbed “Healthy Schools, High Achieving Students,” began in August and ends this month. The Maryland schools are on the concluding leg of the tour, Oct. 8, and include Folger McKinsey Elementary in Severna Park, Dunloggin Middle in Ellicott City and Francis Scott Key Middle in Silver Spring.
During the tour, federal, state and local visitors have brought attention to how school facilities, health and wellness, and environmental education affect equity and achievement. In addition, the tour will highlight best practices that schools, systems and states are using to improve the overall wellness, productivity and achievement of students and educators through health, safety and educational improvements.
“Healthy, safe and sustainable facilities combined with wellness practices like outdoor physical activity, nutritious food and hands-on environmental learning form a strong foundation for a quality education,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, adding that Green Ribbon honorees are leading the way in incorporating best practices.
Senior officials from the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will join U.S. Department of Education at the schools tomorrow between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The tour will be at Folger McKinsey Elementary at 9:30 a.m.; Dunloggin Middle at 11:30 a.m.; Robinson Nature Center in Columbia at 1 p.m. and Francis Scott Key Middle at 3 p.m.
Maryland schools have been active in the Green Ribbon Program, and the state has had honorees selected in each of the three years that the program has been in existence.
“We look forward to hosting the U.S. Department of Education and putting a spotlight on our wonderful schools,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery, who will attend the visit at Dunloggin Middle. “There are innovative environmental and wellness efforts taking place throughout Maryland. Students understand the importance of these efforts as well as anyone.”
The Healthy Schools, High Achieving Students tour includes stops in West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Colorado and Minnesota before culminating in Maryland.