Shenandoah County Schools are Green Schools Challenge winners

Shenandoah County’s public schools have been named a first place winner in the Virginia School Boards Association Green Schools Challenge.

Susan Smith, public relations and textbook coordinator with Shenandoah County Public Schools, said, the Green Schools Challenge is “a friendly competition to encourage schools to implement environmental policies and practical actions to reduce the division’s carbon emissions.”

She said that the association identified three first place winners across the state. Shenandoah County was the winner for school divisions having a student population between 5,001 and 10,000 students.

This competition was open to all 132 school divisions in Virginia and the Green Schools Challenge award was presented to Karen Whetzel, school board vice chairman, at the VSBA annual convention held in Williamsburg on Nov. 18-20.

“It’s always wonderful when our employees can save money as well as helping the environment. I am proud of everything Shenandoah County school employees from the superintendent on down, and the students have done to achieve this award,” she said.

“It took teamwork to reduce the amount of electricity and water used consistently. Students have learned a lot in the process,” she added.

To be a part of this challenge, Cynthia Page, director of finance for Shenandoah County Public Schools, submitted a 109-page application.

Among those pages was information on how the schools are going green, including:

  • The planned net-zero classroom at North Fork Middle School.
  • Central High School’s nature trails and partnership with the Virginia Forestry Service.
  • Strasburg High School’s beautification club.
  • Ashby Lee Elementary School’s partnership with Dominion Power and James Madison University’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy.
  • Signal Knob Middle School and Peter Muhlenberg Middle School’s partnership with Friends of North Fork.

“This recognition is really for the entire school division as there were certain items at the school level, division-wide practices implemented by our maintenance and transportation departments, as well as policies adopted by the School Board,” she said.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com