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Congratulations to Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy - Green Ribbon Awardee

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. We are so pleased to share that Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy, in North Windham, CT, has been honored as the Green Ribbon Awardee from Connecticut.

Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy was designed and built as a green school focused on sustainability attributes, including bio-contributive landscaping with native plantings and schoolyard habitats and eco-friendly outdoor spaces conducive to outdoor learning and environmental education. Barrows has maintained a green, sustainable school that continues to demonstrate progress in the three Pillars of Connecticut Green LEAF and National Green Ribbon Schools. They have achieved National Wildlife Habitat certification for their school grounds. The school is a Monarch Way Station with butterfly friendly gardening and pollinator pathways. Teachers and staff encourage students to “forest bathe” as they walk the trails around the school. Outdoors spaces serve as learning labs that encourage inquiry and discovery, from growing window box seeds to managing outdoor gardens to innovative aqua and hydroponic agriculture. Now that they have achieved National Green Ribbon status, Barrows’ goal is to look beyond what they have accomplished to ensure mindful growth to achieve deeper sustainability within the three Pillars.

Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four 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.  “This year’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School honorees have raised the bar for sustainability, healthy and safe school environments, and hands-on learning experiences that connect students of all ages to the world around them,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As we recover from a pandemic that highlighted the need to modernize school infrastructure, improve ventilation, and create versatile indoor and outdoor learning spaces, we have an opportunity to invest in sustainable practices that enhance student learning, health, and well-being. At the Department of Education, I’m proud that we’re proposing to establish a new Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability to support state and local leaders on these efforts, and that we have named a Special Advisor to this vital work.

Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy will be honored in person this summer by The U.S. Department of Education at the national Green Ribbon Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Special thanks go to Barrows Assistant Principal Robert Kallajian for leading the school’s award-winning application.

Please join COEEA in congratulating everyone at Barrows Academy on their wonderful green accomplishment!


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