Lesher Middle School, an International Baccalaureate World School, has received two very special awards for 2014.
On June 26, Principal Tom Dodd and teachers Jenna Ellingson, Janice Martinez, and Jo Dixon attended the National Schools to Watch Conference in Washington, D.C. At the ceremony, Lesher was recognized as one of four 2014 Schools to Watch in Colorado and one of 116 nationwide through the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. The basis for the designation was four-fold: Academic Excellence; Developmental Responsiveness; Social Equity; Organizational Supports and Processes.
Soon thereafter, on July 22, teachers Rob Breshears, Jo Dixon and Allison Pearse accompanied Principal Dodd to Washington for the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) Green Ribbon Schools ceremony held at the Department of Commerce. Here, Lesher was recognized as one of three 2014 Green Ribbon Schools in Colorado and one of 48 in the nation. White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mark Schaefer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne in presenting honorees with a plaque and banner.
The Green Ribbon School award recognizes schools for exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education including civics and green career pathways.
Acting chairman Boots said, “The 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are leading by example for the rest of the country. As they take important steps to improve public health and reduce environmental impacts, like cutting carbon pollution and improving water quality, today’s honorees are also increasing efficiency and cutting costs. That’s exactly the kind of leadership we need to build a cleaner and safer world.”
Secretary Duncan praised the Green Ribbon Schools and, in part, said, “Today’s honorees are leading the way on incorporating best practices to reduce facility costs and increase achievement, health and equity for all schools, not just aspiring green schools.”
And Assistant Secretary of Commerce Schaefer noted that, “We live in a time when ecosystems and the forces that influence them are rapidly changing. Now more than ever, we need to prepare youth for a world in which their understanding of, and participation in, decisions about resource conservation, environmental protection and sustainable development will define the quality of their lives. This is why U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is so important to individuals, communities, schools and businesses across America.”
On Aug. 13, Lesher was further recognized in Denver by the Colorado State Board of Education. And, on Sept. 17, Lesher was part of the USDE Green Strides Green Ribbon Schools Best Practices Tour.
Principal Dodd said, “This recognition from the Colorado and U.S. Departments of Education is a validation of the hard work our students, staff and parents have done and continue to do to create a healthy and sustainable learning environment at Lesher through knowledge and actions that will hopefully continue beyond our school campus and into their lives. As an IB World School, thinking globally and acting locally is what we do. We love being green!”