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Hillendale Named Green Ribbon School


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U.S. Secretary of Education Names Hillendale Elementary a 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Hillendale Elementary School in Chadds Ford, PA is among the 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. 

Hillendale Elementary School (Hillendale) was nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Hillendale is a bustling kindergarten through fifth grade school set in the beautiful landscape of Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 2013, it piloted a stormwater management project on the campus, planting over 600 trees and thousands of native plants, creating a woodland path, establishing a pollinator meadow, constructing a trail that links these elements together, and filling these spaces with environmental education signage. Hillendale reduces environmental impact and costs by tracking energy data through the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager portal and working with the district’s sustainability committee on more sustainable lighting, HVAC equipment, and procurement.

Hillendale offers a wide variety of curricular and extracurricular wellness activities and opportunities for both students and faculty, including clubs, wellness days, and fitness challenges. During the 2022-23 school year, staff embarked on a multiyear commitment to learning best practices in teaching about and within nature in their outdoor classrooms, in partnership with Stroud Water Research Center. The school has three formal and several additional outdoor classroom spaces utilized daily by the school community. Both indoors and outdoors, Hillendale’s staff provides students with interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability learning opportunities embedded into the kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum. The unique campus and homegrown curricula help students learn about varied ecosystems. Hillendale partners with many local organizations to provide environmental and sustainability education programming, such as field trips, and to improve the campus’ environment with cleanups and restoration projects.

“On behalf of the entire Hillendale school community, we are incredibly honored be recognized as a National Green Ribbon School,” stated Mr. Josh Leight, Hillendale Principal. “Our commitment to reducing our school’s environmental impact, improving health and wellness opportunities for all stakeholders, and bettering our sustainability and environmental educational offerings is paramount to our purpose as a school community as we act as stewards of our beautiful campus. Hillendale’s commitment to sustainability, environmentalism, and wellness has been a collective effort many years in the making; this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many incredible individuals acting as a dedicated school community.”

Across the country, 26 schools, 11 districts, and four 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. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 18 states.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found on the Awards Page. A report with highlights on the 41 honorees can be found on the Performance Page. More information on the federal recognition award can be found on the Purpose Page. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found on the Green Strides Website.

Hillendale’s reignition as a 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School is the culmination of months of work on the application that was thoughtfully and thoroughly completed by an incredibly dedicated committee made up of staff, administrators, parents, local experts and community partners.

“We hope that our recognition as a National Green Ribbon School will inspire other schools and communities to prioritize “green” initiatives,” shared Mr. Leight. “We would be honored to partner with other schools in the region to share this important work to create a better future for all!”