Award-Winning Green School
2017 award winner for sustainability efforts
Centreville ES is the only FCPS School to be named a US Department of Education 2017 Green Ribbon School for its sustainability efforts. It is also one of the only schools in the US to have 3 Eco Flags from the National Wildlife Federation and was named a Top Ten Green School by the NWF in 2015 (http://www.ecoschools.global/newsletter/2015/10/6/top-ten-eco-schools-in-the-usa).
Centreville Elementary uses the environment as a primary vehicle for student learning, offering opportunities to solve real-world problems through creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Students at the school are engaged in planning, constructing, using, and maintaining a wildlife habitat on school grounds that increase biodiversity, conserves water, minimizes the need for mowing, and serves as an outdoor classroom.
As part of the National Wildlife Federation-administered Cool School Challenge, students conduct energy, water, waste biodiversity, health, habitats, food, and transportation audits, followed by action plans based on the results. They create public service announcements and youth-oriented TED-style talks on the environment, work on outdoor education lessons to share with teachers, meet with custodians and cafeteria managers, and work with the principal to gather information and get approval for new initiatives.
Centreville Elementary has three outdoor classrooms, a walking trail, and a variety of gardens, one for each grade level. A green hour enables students to enjoy several hours of weekly outdoor education.
All of the environmental work at Centreville is tied directly to the Virginia Standards of Learning.
Centreville promotes healthy eating by partnering with a local farmer to offer organic market days. Students from grades three through six plan the gardens, take care of the gardens from planting to harvesting, run the store, order merchandise, take inventory, keep books, and use a cash register and scale.
Our school’s environmental efforts are led by our student/teacher Green Team. We use the National Wildlife Federation’s Environmental Pathways as a framework for our actions. Each student team takes on one of the pathways (ex. consumption and waste, water conservation, etc..). Students then create action plans for making changes to our school, based on environmental audits they conduct in the different areas.
We are currently 100 students strong (which is approximately 20% of grades 3-6), we also have approximately 20 staff members supporting each student team. The energy from these students is amazing. The come in, before school, because they want to make a difference for our environment, to take action.
Our staff leaders help them learn about the problems our Earth faces so that they can make informed solutions. Students have researched composting, how to save water at school, and more. They even worked on changing student practices from recycling to using a reusable water bottle, resulting in a grant from Eco Rise, one of our partners.
The green team gives students and staff the opportunity to share their passion for the environment, by taking the lead in making positive change happen. It teaches them how to have a voice and choice in what happens in their world. Empowering them to be leaders, collaborators, creative and critical thinkers, and communicators.