Katella High, one of two OC Green Ribbon Schools, earns national recognition for environmentalism

Katella High School

Through its educational programs and campus upgrades, Katella High School in the Anaheim Union High School District has been modeling and educating students about the importance of being stewards of their environment.

And it hasn’t gone unnoticed. On Friday, the California Department of Education announced that Katella had received U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition after being named one of five “Green Achievers” by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

Only three other schools and one district in the state picked up the national honor. Altamont Creek Elementary School in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District in Alameda County, Suisun Valley School in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District in Solano County, and St. Martin of Tours Academy, a private school in San Diego County, were also recognized, along with the Merced Union High School District in Merced County.

Across the U.S., 27 schools, five districts and four post-secondary institutions were granted the ED-GRS designation.

Here’s more about Katella from the state:

The KHS Sustainable Garden and Learning Center serves as a place to extend teaching and learning in context with hands-on activities. Science courses use the site for lab experiments in soil quality testing, seed germination, and the water cycle.

KHS connects students with green careers by partnering with Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience Program and the City of Anaheim Public Utilities. Mentors work with students to inform and prepare them for what is needed to work for the City of Anaheim in various green careers such as urban planning, electrical engineering for energy conservation, water conservation strategies, and waste management.

In 2016, KHS was a recipient of the state’s Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools grant. The work funded by the grant established KHS as a water reclamation site designed to collect, filter, and recycle water from storms, irrigation, and clean-up. In addition, the campus landscape was upgraded to native plant species, drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, vegetative bioswales, and sanded pathways. The school’s “Katella Talks” program provides all students the opportunity to conduct research, create a speech, and present on a subject of their choice. Fellow students judge the talks for selection to be recorded and put on YouTube. Since the program’s beginning in 2015, there has been a significant increase in talks that focus on environmental issues and sustainability, including human population growth, climate change, and recycling.

For its efforts, Katella is also among 18 schools, two school districts and one county office of education to earn 2022 California Green Ribbon Schools awards, which were announced by Thurmond on Earth Day. Raymond Temple Elementary in the Centralia Elementary School District was also spotlighted through the program, which recognizes schools, districts and county offices for environmental excellence based on their applications for ED-GRS recognition.

“This year, California Green Ribbon Schools maintained sustainable practices and environmental education through the unprecedented challenges created by the global pandemic,” the state superintendent said. “Their flexibility and ingenuity helped them produce leading-edge models for improved indoor air quality, well-designed outdoor classrooms, and meaningful environmental education. I also want to recognize that more than half of our award-winning sites are within some of the state’s highest-needed communities. We are proud of how California’s Green Ribbon Schools provide our students with the skills needed to lead impactful environmental change in their local areas.”

Here’s the full list of this year’s Green Ribbon Schools:

Public Schools

  • Altamont Creek Elementary, Livermore Valley Joint Unified, Alameda County (Green Achiever)
  • Katella High, Anaheim Union High, Orange County (Green Achiever)
  • Suisun Valley Elementary, Fairfield-Suisun Unified, Solano County (Green Achiever)
  • Bella Mente Montessori Academy, Vista Elementary, San Diego County (Silver)
  • Captain Leland Norton Elementary, San Bernardino City Unified, San Bernardino County (Silver)
  • Eisenhower Senior High, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Silver)
  • Ernest Garcia Elementary, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Silver)
  • Jefferson Elementary, Carlsbad Unified, San Diego County (Silver)
  • Kelley Elementary, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Silver)
  • Meiners Oaks Elementary, Ojai Unified, Ventura County (Silver)
  • Nancy R. Kordyak Elementary, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Silver)
  • Parkview Elementary, Hueneme Elementary, Ventura County (Silver)
  • Twin Rivers Charter, Yuba City Unified, Sutter County (Silver)
  • Edward Fitzgerald Elementary, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Bronze)
  • Fulton and Alsbury Academy of Arts and Engineering, Lancaster Elementary, Los Angeles County (Bronze)
  • Henry Elementary, Rialto Unified, San Bernardino County (Bronze)
  • Raymond Temple Elementary, Centralia Elementary, Orange County (Bronze)

Local Educational Agencies

  • Merced Union High School District, Merced County (Green Achiever)
  • Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Santa Cruz County (Silver)
  • San Mateo Union High School District, San Mateo County (Bronze)

Private Schools

  • St. Martin of Tours Academy, San Diego County (Green Achiever)

For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award Program webpage.

The 2022 California Green Ribbon Schools Award Ceremony will be hosted at Katella High School on Thursday, April 28 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The event will be live-streamed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/AUHSDCommunications.