Oakland Terrace Elementary School named 2020 U.S. Green Ribbon School

April 22, 2020

Oakland Terrace Elementary School has been selected as a 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. 

Oakland Terrace is among 39 winning schools across the nation that are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. Eleven districts and five colleges and universities are also being honored.

“I am very proud of the environmentally and socially conscious work being done by the students, staff and families at Oakland Terrace,” said Superintendent Jack Smith. “This national recognition is a reflection of our efforts to foster healthy and productive learning spaces for all students.”

Oakland Terrace, a two-way Spanish immersion school, engages students, staff and families in programs and activities that promote stewardship to improve the health of the environment. The school, which was first certified as a Maryland Green School in 2015 and recertified in 2019, incorporates environmental literacy and lessons into daily instruction and activities at every grade level. That instruction takes place in the classroom and outside of school. 

The school has a courtyard that accounts for approximately one-quarter of the entire green space of the property. The courtyard includes an outdoor classroom, colonial subsistence garden, pollinator garden, aquatic garden, woodland, and sensory garden. The school also maintains two rain gardens installed by the Montgomery County Department of the Environment’s Rainscapes for Schools Program. These rain gardens help filter water that washes from the hardscape surfaces of playground areas.

Student Green Teams design, create and display water conservation educational posters, manage recycling, and care for the gardens and outdoor classroom. Oakland Terrace partners with the Brookside Nature Center to offer professional development for teachers and coordinate field trip planning. Each grade level experiences different field trips at the nature center. Additionally, students participate in walking field trips to the local creek and the woods surrounding the school for environmental education, the nearby park for picnics and trash pick-up, as well as to local businesses.

Nearly 60 percent of Oakland Terrace students bike or walk to school. Additionally, Oakland Terrace participates in a Clean Air School Bus program to retrofit school buses, as well as a Safe Routes to School program. 

Representatives from the winning schools will participate in an awards ceremony tentatively scheduled to take place later this year.


Learn about the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School Program

See a report with highlights on this year’s honorees


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