students getting on propane bus in Huntley 158

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Huntley Community School District 158 in Huntley, Illinois is among the 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardees. 

Huntley Community School District 158 (Huntley 158) was nominated by the Illinois State Board of Education. The vision of sustainability and environmental awareness that has come to define Huntley 158 began nearly 14 years ago. The district prioritizes energy efficiency, which has led to an annual reduction in energy costs by more than half.

In fall 2020, Huntley 158 “flipped the switch” on the largest solar energy installation on school district property in Illinois. The project now produces clean, renewable energy to fuel all district buildings. Huntley 158 installed interactive solar kiosks in each building, which allows every student, staff member, and community member to digitally interact with the district’s solar initiative and learn about their impact. Students in grades K-12 also participate in diverse curriculum offerings that are based on ecology, socio-political knowledge, environmental issues, problem-solving skills, environmentally responsible behaviors, and hands-on experiences. 

“We are honored that Huntley’s commitment to a cleaner, more viable world is being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Huntley 158 Superintendent Dr. Scott Rowe. “Through reduction of water waste, investments in solar energy, propane buses, community health, and opportunities for our students to learn about the impact of sustainability, we are striving to create the community our children deserve.”

Across the country, 26 schools, 11 districts, and four 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. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 18 states. 

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 41 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.