U.S. Secretary of Education Names Chiaravalle Montessori 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
Bethany Caldwell


Peace education in a LEED Platinum facility

May 17, 2017, (Evanston, IL) — The U.S. Department of Education announced that Chiaravalle Montessori in Evanston, IL is among the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. 

Chiaravalle Montessori was nominated by the Illinois State Board of Education. Through the completion of the North Wing, a multi-story, LEED Platinum replacement for an aging annex, Chiaravalle reduced environmental impact and costs through sustainable features including geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaics, a green roof, use of rapidly renewable materials, and a high-performance building envelope.

Students enjoy improved health and wellness in an active school where they can move throughout their day. They sit on the floor, at tables, or use standing desks, and have freedom to use the entire building as their learning space instead of being seated at a single desk for many hours. Students as young as three years old can decide to take a movement break by grabbing a gym pass whenever they feel the need to move.

Effective environmental education continues as an integral part of its toddler through eighth grade programming. One focal point on campus is the Learning Garden, the school's organic community garden space. The garden is tended by students, faculty, and parent volunteers. Students harvest produce for food prep by classrooms or to be shared at the Parent Café in exchange for a donation.

“We are embracing the Montessori responsibility of being caretakers of the Earth,” commented Head of School Robyn McCloud-Springer. “We strive to be a model green school that prioritizes wellness and cultivates an environmentally informed community who cherish and protect our planet’s natural resources.”

Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine 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. 

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 39 public schools, including five magnet schools and one charter school, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 63 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.  


A Note on ED's Name for Use in Communications

ED's award is called "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools" and has "District Sustainability Award" and "Postsecondary Sustainability Award" categories, in addition to the original school award. It is abbreviated ED-GRS.  "Green Ribbon Schools" without the "U.S. Department of Education" is not ED's award, but instead is a separate program overseen by another organization. A selected school is a "Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School." A selected district is a "Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardee." A selected postsecondary institution is a “Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee.  There is no "National," “Award,” or "Program" in the title.  There is no apostrophe or hyphen after Education.




For more information about Chiaravalle, please visit www.chiaravalle.org or call 847–864-2190.

For more information about 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, please visit https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/performance.html.

For highlights on the 2017 honorees: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/highlights-2017.pdf


About Chiaravalle Montessori

Founded in 1965, Chiaravalle Montessori provides a modern Montessori education that inspires independent, compassionate, and innovative thinkers to children in Evanston, Chicago’s north side and surrounding suburbs. The school is a non-denominational, Montessori, independent, co-education school for children ages 16 months-14 years. Chiaravalle is jointly accredited by the American Montessori Society [AMS] and the Independent School Association of Central States [ISACS].