California Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Program

The California Green Ribbon Schools Recognition Program, now in its 10th year, offers encouragement, guidance, and recognition to schools desiring to become better stewards of the environment, conserve resources (and reduce costs!), teach and model sustainability, and promote the health and well-being of students, teachers and staff. Each year, the California Department of Education recognizes schools, both public and private, that have demonstrated significant progress toward achievement of these goals. Additionally, up to five public schools (or public school districts, or county offices of education) and one private school are nominated for recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as National Green Ribbon Schools.

School leaders can learn more about the program by perusing the CDE’s “Green Ribbon Schools Award Program” web page, at the link appearing below:

Representatives of interested schools should complete a brief online survey, found at the link appearing below, at the earliest possible opportunity. They will then receive an application which must be completed and submitted no later than 12:00 P.M. PST on November 2, 2022.

Link to survey web page:

CAPSO has partnered with the CDE from the program’s inception to administer its private school component. We have been more than fortunate that Dr. Paul Chapman, former Head of School at Head-Royce School in Oakland, and a nationally recognized innovator and leader in the field of sustainability education, has administered this portion of the program on CAPSO’s behalf from the very outset, and will do so yet again for the 2022-23 school year. In fact, it was Dr. Chapman’s creative vision and persistence that led to the establishment of a state-level Green Ribbon School program in California. Best of all, Paul graciously makes himself available to answer questions and furnish guidance to private schools interested in participating. He can be reached via email at:

Private school applications are reviewed and scored by a panel of judges assembled by Dr. Chapman and approved by CAPSO. Those meeting or surpassing various score levels are awarded “California Green Ribbon School” recognition at one of three levels: bronze, silver, and gold. If warranted, one private school is nominated for recognition as a “Green Achiever,” which also carries a nomination for National Green School recognition by the USDE. Schools whose scores initially fall short of a recognition level are encouraged to resubmit applications the following year. Many have done so and, with guidance from Dr. Chapman and others, have succeeded in achieving recognition and “climbing” the recognition-level “ladder” in subsequent years. All recipients of the California Green Ribbon School designation are recognized by both the CDE and CAPSO at an annual in-person program held in the spring.