ALEXANDRIA, VA — May 16, 2018 — One Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school is among the schools named as the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program. The DoDEA School is Spangdahlem Middle School in Spangdahlem, Germany.
In total, across the country, 46 schools, 6 districts, and 6 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 schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 29 state education agencies. The list of 58 total selectees includes 2 charter, 6 non-public, and 2 magnet schools.
Spangdahlem Middle School (SpMS) is located in the Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany, which is known for its sustainability efforts and serves as an ideal model for teachers in promoting sustainability goals and education.
Research, evaluation, and responsible action are themes woven into math, science, health, art, host nation, geography, and language arts lessons to raise a problem solving generation with the necessary skills to control and effect change for a sustainable future. SpMS hosts regular visits from environmentally focused professionals and technology-focused career members of the Air Force.
The school implemented a “Flip the Switch” lights-out plan in the 2016-2017 school year and continued this educational campaign to reduce the use of electricity, as well as closely monitoring the use of water. Recycling plans have been implemented with paper products, and SpMS has worked with the local command to replace plastic ware in the cafeteria with reusable utensils, with a goal of eliminating the use of disposable utensils by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
Eighth grade health students developed a tool, the Green Tips Form, to bring awareness to habits that can help reduce impact on the environment and guide future student and family decisions. This collection of data highlights trends in sustainable habits and will guide future decisions about content integration into the curriculum. Health classes have also promoted movement breaks throughout the school day by choreographing their own dances to share with the student body. Partnerships with the community and local command have resulted in increased health and wellness education to students, promotion of meaningful fitness events, and favorable trends in student BMI data over time.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.