CAPE MAY -- The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Cape May City Elementary School in Cape May is among the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.
Cape May City Elementary School (CMCES) was nominated by the New Jersey Department of Education. CMCES serves 150 students, 42 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
The school is a certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Earth Club students, who oversee the edible school gardens and the composting and recycling programs, are currently completing their Sustainable Food pathway through Eco-Schools USA.
CMCES has participated in Sustainable Jersey for Schools, beginning in its inaugural year, earning a bronze and two silver certifications. This partnership has also resulted in three grants totaling $6,000 to support recycling, composting, and gardening programs.
In 2012, CMCES was awarded Silver for the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge, one of only two New Jersey schools to attain this distinction that year. Breakfast is served in classrooms to all students daily. Families are encouraged to take advantage of an in-school celebration ordering system from the school cafeteria, which offers healthy options.
In addition to daily P.E., students participate in weekly swimming instruction in grades 3–6, an annual field day, a triathlon, fall Walk-a-Thon, and regular brain breaks, such as full school “Stop, Smile, and Move” activities and classroom specific Go Noodle programming.
Located on 36 acres of diverse habitat, including field, forest, and salt marsh wetlands, CMCES school is fortunate to have such a rich backyard to support student learning, exploration, and appreciation of the natural world.
“I am extremely proud with the hard work that my faculty, staff, students, parents, and community have put into this initiative. They have truly created a culture in our school that is environmentally focused. For many years our students and faculty have participated in projects of various sizes in the ongoing effort to help our students understand the value and meaning of what it means to “Go Green”. To get recognition from both the state and federal level is truly an honor for our little school by the seashore," stated Zachary H. Palombo, Principal.
“This is such a wonderful honor for our school community! Our dedication to provide environmental education, opportunities for civic engagement, along with exemplary heath and wellness initiatives is very exciting to celebrate. I am thankful that the Department of Education in New Jersey supports this program and encourages the work that schools are doing for sustainable futures,” stated Sandy Sandymeyer-Bryan, a teacher.
"Across the country, 39 schools, 11 districts, and five 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," Sandymeyer-Bryan continued.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 27 states. The selectees include 28 public schools, including three magnet schools and four charter schools, as well as 11 non-public schools. Forty-five percent of the 2020 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.
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 55 honorees can be found here.