State Board Calls for Green Ribbon Schools Applications

GRS blank

Green Ribbon Schools Program Seeks to Highlight Illinois’s Schools and Districts Commitment to Environmental Education and Sustainability

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is proud to announce the launch of the application process for the 2023-24 Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Award. This program is designed to recognize and celebrate the unwavering commitment of Illinois schools, districts, and higher education institutions to environmental education and sustainability.

"Schools dedicated to green initiatives are instrumental in molding our students into responsible stewards of our planet,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders, “We take pride in acknowledging schools that have made remarkable strides in reducing their environmental impact, promoting health and wellness, and offering sustainability education. Hosting the Illinois green Ribbon Schools program is just one way we can celebrate green initiatives across the state." 

"We are so excited to continue our collaboration with ISBE to bolster excitement for sustainability in schools through the Green Ribbon Schools program,” said Katie Kaluzny, associate director at Illinois Green Alliance. “Green schools are vital in fostering healthy environments, enhancing the learning experience, and nurturing climate and sustainability stewardship in future generations" 

The Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Award is sponsored by ISBE in collaboration with the Illinois Green Alliance and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Eligible schools that have implemented best practices in energy efficiency, water and waste management, healthy school environments, and environmental education are encouraged to apply. 

Recipients of the Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Award will be nominated by ISBE for national recognition through the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program. The U.S. Department of Education typically announces its winners on Earth Day, April 22, and extends invitations to an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

Last year's Illinois Green Ribbon awardees, Prairie Trails School of River Trails District 26 in Mount Prospect and Huntley Community School District 158 of Algonquin, were honored for their exemplary efforts in promoting environmental sustainability and responsible global citizenship within their school communities. Prairie Trails School earned distinction for implementing the nation's first net-zero, energy-renovated school, while Huntley School District 158 was recognized for their water waste reduction, investment in solar energy, community health initiatives, and opportunities for students to explore the impact of sustainability. 

Interested applicants are encouraged to participate in ISBE's TWE & TOY Awards informational webinar on Wednesday, September 26, to gain insights into the awards process and explore how their school communities can engage with ISBE's Green Ribbon Schools program.

All application materials must be submitted by 5 p.m. on December 22, 2023. For submission materials and inquiries about the awards program, please contact