The West Virginia Sustainable Schools (WVSS) award program is a recognition program for schools that exemplify a commitment to sustainable practices in the facilities as well as integrate those practices into the curriculum and community.  The program recognizes schools where staff, students, officials, and communities have worked together to produce energy efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments and to ensure the sustainability and environmental literacy of graduates.  All public and private schools in West Virginia are invited to apply for this state and national recognition.  The school selected for the highest WVSS award will receive $5,000 and second place school will receive $1,000 to improve, continue, or extend a part of their Sustainable Schools program.  Schools which receive the WVSS award may be nominated for consideration as a Green Ribbon School.


In 2019, Barbour County’s Junior Elementary School received a $5,000 grant with the West Virginia Sustainable Schools Award. The funding was used to purchase a set of mountain bikes for the school. The third and fourth grades have been using them to go on self-propelled field trips and during gym class since the spring.

Junior Elementary is focusing on bringing all the kids up to speed. About half of the kids are solid bikers and they have been riding all over the schoolyard; up and down the grassy hillside, around the steep, former “walking path” that winds around the playground, and loops of the parking lot. The other half of the kids have little-to-no background with bikes and are starting from the ground up in a long biking unit in gym class.

WV Sustainable Schools

Photos courtesy of Experience Learning

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Green Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer sustainability education to boost academic achievement and community engagement. The recognition award is part of a larger USDE effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.

The WVDE is partnering with other state agencies and organizations in the development of the WV Sustainable Schools program. Applying to the WV Sustainable Schools award program is the first step in your eligibility as a US Green Ribbon School nominee. All schools interested in being recognized as a WV Sustainable School should send an email expressing intent to Erika Klose at

Applications to receive recognition as a WV Sustainable School must be submitted as indicated by the deadline below. The WV Sustainable Schools advisory council will review the applications and announce awards. Up to four schools and one county will then be nominated to the USDE for the Green Ribbon School awards. The USDE expects to award approximately 50-75 awards. Additional information about the WV Sustainable Schools and U.S. Green Ribbon Schools awards and criteria and may be found in Awards and Criteria page.

Please direct all inquiries to Erika Klose at

Dates to remember

  • September – Application cycle opens

  • October – WVSTA Conference – WVSS will be in Vendor Area to answer questions

  • December 1 – Application deadline

  • January – WVSS announced

  • February – USGRS nominations due to USDE

  • Late spring – USGRS announced