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Prospect Sierra Nominated as 2013 Green Ribbon School

The independent El Cerrito school is one of four nominated for national honors by State Supt. of Instruction Tom Torlakson on Friday.

Prospect Sierra School, a private K-8 school with two campuses in El Cerrito, was nominated Friday to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Awards.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also nominated Charles Evans Hughes Middle School of Long Beach, Journey School of Aliso Viejo, Redding School of the Arts and Ventura County’s Oak Park Unified School District.

This is the second year of the recognition program, and awardees are expected to be named on April 22, which is Earth Day.

At Prospect Sierra, students are active in reducing environmental impacts, according to a press release from Torlakson's office.

"Students at the private Prospect Sierra School in northern California are committed to improving their campus and community," the release said.

"Students designed and implemented a 180-gallon rainwater harvesting system to serve the school garden. Students also planted trees in a multi-year creek restoration project, and enjoy meaningful outdoor learning experiences at every grade level.

"Prospect Sierra is recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools as a model 'School of the Future.'”

Prospect Sierra's elementary school is at 2060 Tapscott Ave. and its middle school at 960 Avis Drive, both in El Cerrito. Its current enrollment of more than 460 students is drawn from many parts of the East Bay.

The Green Ribbon Schools program aims to encourage schools to improve their energy efficiency, create healthy environments for students and staff, and enhance their work to effectively prepare graduates for 21st century careers, according to a press release from Torlakson's office.

It honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways, the release said.

California is one of 39 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education expected to nominate schools and/or a district for the federal recognition, the release said. Each participating state can nominate one district and up to four schools, one of which must be a private school. One must also be a school with at least 40 percent of its students eligible for free and reduced-priced lunch.

Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web site or Torlakson's initiative at Schools of the Future.

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