LBUSD awarded for environmental excellence

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The Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has been named a 2024 California Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Honoree by the California Department of Education (CDE) for the district’s environmental excellence and demonstrated achievement of the three pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program. 

Thurston Middle School students sow seeds during their US history lesson. Photo courtesy of LBUSD

LBUSD received a Gold Level recognition from the CDE, which honors California Green Ribbon Schools based on the following criteria: Bronze Level for 55.0% to 64.9% achievement, Silver Level for 65.0% to 74.9% achievement, and Gold Level for 75% or better.

“In our journey toward carbon neutrality by 2030, we have engaged our staff, students, and families in a shared mission to create a sustainable environment. By integrating environmental education and sustainability into our curriculum and operations, we are reducing our carbon footprint and instilling in our students the values and skills they need to lead in a changing world,” LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria said. “This recognition reflects the hard work and dedication of our entire district, from our board of education and administration to our teachers and students.”

In April 2022, the LBUSD Board of Education adopted Resolution 22-04 to support Earth Day, climate action, environmental literacy and sustainability. This resolution brought about an Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Task Force to evaluate and improve the district’s sustainability practices. The task force identified three primary goals aligned with the California Green Ribbon Pillars: reducing environmental impacts, improving health and wellness and providing effective environmental education.

The district ushered in a Coordinator of Environmental Literacy at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year to align with the sustainability goals. 

The new position is responsible for integrating environmental literacy across all disciplines in the district. 

The Coordinator of Environmental Literacy collaborates with schools to execute California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs) through sustainability initiatives and partnerships with local government and community organizations.

The school district has developed the Director of Facilities role to include sustainability to support operational efforts.

LBUSD aims to achieve carbon neutrality and 100 percent waste diversion by 2030. The district tracks sustainability progress through various benchmarks, such as energy and waste management plans. 

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