Carmel Clay Schools named Green Ribbon District for sustainability initiatives


Carmel Clay Schools has received the Green Ribbon District Sustainability Award for its efforts to improve the environment.

The U.S Dept. of Education on April 20 announced the 2023 recipients of the award. Across the nation, 26 schools, 11 districts and four post-secondary institutions were honored.

Andrea Falken, special advisor for infrastructure and sustainability at the U.S Department of Education, said the award recognizes educational institutions that show progress in sustainability, environmental impact and cost-savings, promoting student health and ensuring effective sustainability education.

Environmentally friendly initiatives in the CCS District Strategic Plan helped the district earn the honor, Falken said. One example is its use of smart technology and energy-saving strategies.

“They have all sorts of smart technology to make sure that all of their lights, water and computers all shut off,” Falken said. “They bought the first total electric school bus in the state of Indiana. Their other buses are (fueled by) propane.”

Another initiative is the Green Team in each CCS school. Ramona Rice, CCS supervisor of learning and Green Team founder, described the program as a group of students, parents and staff who encourage practices and initiatives that promote eco-friendly lifestyles within the school.

Rice said it was an honor for CCS to receive the Green Ribbon District Sustainability Award.

“It recognizes that sustainability is everyone’s responsibility,” Rice said. “It takes an entire team of people who are focused on a sustainability ethic to achieve something like this.”

The district will be officially presented with the award Aug. 8 during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.