Three of Georgia's public schools have been named national Green Ribbon Schools for 2017, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week. Gilbert Elementary School in Walker County, Kinchafoonee Primary School in Lee County, and Morningside Elementary School in Atlanta Public Schools were all honored with the Green Ribbon designation, which recognizes schools and districts that exercise a comprehensive approach to creating "green"environments by reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education for students.

 "I couldn't be prouder of these schools – and their students and staffs – as they receive this national distinction," State School Superintendent Richard Woods. "Georgia's schools continue to chase excellence and put innovative practices into place,and I'm pleased to see that recognized. I'm also very proud of Ms.Ford-Jenrette, who as our Recognitions Manager has helped thousands of Georgia's schools, students, and educators receive a much-deserved ‘thank you'for their work."

 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 non-public schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The post secondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.

Through a partnership involving the Georgia Department of Education, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Captain Planet Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia, the Clean Air Campaign and the University System of Georgia, three schools and a college were nominated to compete for the national award.