Missouri Green Schools


Student Learning

Green Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes schools taking a comprehensive approach to greening their school. A comprehensive approach incorporates environmental learning with improving environmental and health impacts.

Becoming a U.S. Department of Education (US ED) Green Ribbon School is a two-step process. The first step is to complete a nomination form to be selected as a nominee by the eligible nominating authority in your state, in this case the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO-DESE).

If your school has addressed any of the following environmentally conscious actions, then your school may be a candidate for Missouri’s Green Ribbon Schools program!

  • improved its energy efficiency
  • reduced its water use
  • increased recycling
  • set up a Safe Routes to School program
  • serves healthy food in the cafeteria
  • provides health education in the curriculum
  • incorporates outdoor recreation in PE
  • teaches lessons about nature and sustainability
  • encourages teachers to get environmentally oriented professional development
  • partners with its community on sustainability issues

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be accepting nominations for this prestigious award from any public, private or charter Missouri school, pre K through 12th grade up to December 15, 2018

Once selected as a nominee by MO-DESE, the nomination form is sent to US ED which selects honorees from those presented by eligible nominating authorities nationwide.  Selection will be based on documentation of the applicant's high achievement in all three of the ED-GRS Pillars:

  • Pillar I: Reduce environmental impact and costs.
  • Pillar II: Improve the health and wellness of students and staff.
  • Pillar III: Provide effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Schools demonstrating progress in all three Pillars will receive highest rankings and stand the best chance of being nominated for national recognition. However, all schools that submit will be recognized at the state level.

Up to five schools can be nominated from a state.

Public, charter and private preK-12 schools can submit nominations.

Schools that have previously received recognition are not eligible.


Nominee Presentation Form

To submit a nomination, a school needs to fill out this document and obtain signatures from the school principal and their district superintendent. It should be saved as a document and returned by email to Jan Weaver at weaverjc@missouri.edu

Nominee Presentation Form

Nomination Form (this is different from the Nominee Presentation Form)

The nomination form is a document. Type responses into the boxes in the form and save it with the name GRS-your school name.

Download a copy of the Nomination Form here. It is a word document with boxes where you can fill in the required information.

When it is completed, save it as a document and return it by email to Jan Weaver at weaverjc@missouri.edu

Useful Tips

  • Do not be intimidated. The form is very comprehensive. Few if any schools will be able to answer every question. However, almost all schools will be able to answer 1/4 to 1/3 of the questions easily. If that is all your school can do at this time, set some goals for next year (which is one of the questions!). See the Ease of Accomplishment matrix for ideas of where to start.
  • Get buy-in. Make sure your principal is on board with your goal of submitting a nomination. If you are the principal, make sure your staff are on board. Check out this article on the benefits of green schools.
  • Enlist help. As soon as it is practical, contact your facilities management person, your landscaping person, your health services person, your custodial services person and your food services person and ask if they will fill in the parts of the form relating to their area of expertise while you are working on other parts.
  • Try to work on something every week. There are 58 questions/sections, so don't wait until the last minute to work on the form.
  • Engage your students. Perhaps they can interview other teachers about their "green" teaching, or map the ecological areas in the school yard, or keep track of how many students per car are dropped off.
  • Register your intent to submit. If you register (just need your name, name and city of school and your email), you will receive updates with answers to questions other schools have asked and reminders about the deadline.
  • Use the Directions! The directions have more detailed descriptions of what is expected for each question/section plus links to useful resources.
  • Contact Me (Jan Weaver). If you are stumped about what is expected, or how to get the information, send me an email at weaverjc@missouri.edu. I'll do my best to help you out.

(Please note, that because the form is a word document, some context specific terms are not recognized and underlined in red as misspellings, and other expressions are treated as ungrammatical and underlined in green. You can ignore these underlinings.)




The directions include some key advice, a list of the kinds of information you will need and step by step directions for each section.

Download a copy of the directions here


Scoring Rubric

There are four sections, a summary & cross-cutting questions, Pillar 1, Pillar 2 and Pillar 3. The summary and cross-cutting questions are worth 10%, and the other three sections are worth 30% each.

Download a copy of the rubric here


2017/18 Deadlines

Intent to Nominate - November 15, 2017 - Send an email to Jan Weaver at weaverjc@missouri.edu with your school name, names of members of your green team (at least one in charge of each pillar) and your goals for the coming year. Intention to nominate is not required in order to submit a nomination, but it will be extremely challenging for you to submit a nomination December 15 if you have not already met these conditions.

Nominations due to Missouri Green Schools - December 15, 2017

Deadline for submission to US ED - February 1, 2018




Send completed form to Jan Weaver at weaverjc@missouri.edu by the December 15 deadline.



Ease of Accomplishment Matrix

Yellow - probably already happening because of regulations, recommendations or obvious benefit

Blue - fairly easy to accomplish with minimal effort as perceptions of benefit tilt towards green practices

Green - stretch goals, but still doable over the long term

GRS Ease of Accomplishment Matrix



Missouri Green Schools is a program of the Missouri Environmental Education Association

MO Green Ribbon Schools Menu