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A San Diego County school was one of four in the state honored Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education with a Green Ribbon Schools designation for its efforts to curb carbon emissions and improve student wellness.

Solana Beach’s St. James Academy was nominated by the state Department of Education in March, along with three other schools and one school district. All five state nominees were honored by the federal agency, making California the only state with five honorees.

“They have truly embraced the challenge to create healthy, safe, sustainable and efficient learning environments for students, faculty and staff,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said of the honorees. “Their innovative approaches to learning will help students prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said: “Congratulations to these schools and district for engaging kids to understand and act on environmental issues. The great programs they’ve created help students gain the knowledge they need to lead the way on global-sized problems like climate change and local challenges like water quality.”

Other California schools earning the federal Green Ribbon distinction were Carrisa Plains Elementary in San Luis Obispo County; Eagle Rock Elementary in Los Angeles County; and Quail Lake Environmental Charter in Fresno County. The Rialto Unified School District was also honored.

In total, the U.S. Department of Education designated 35 schools, 14 districts and four postsecondary schools as Green Ribbon honorees. The winners were chosen from a pool of nominees from 28 states.

— City News Service

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