Stephens Co. Schools Receive Award From Green Building Council

A state chapter of a national organization recognizes Stephens County Schools for their efforts in the area of environmental conservation.

School system officials traveled to Atlanta earlier this week to receive an award for Innovation in Sustainability from the Georgia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said that the school system received the award in part thanks to its energy management and conservation system that has been in place since 1999.

“We have six buildings that are Energy Star buildings,” said Whiten. “Our new high school is a LEED (certified) building. We have a sustainability dashboard where we track energy, water, and wastewater reductions. We also have done energy audits in each of our schools.”

However, Whiten said it is not just those efforts that earned this recognition, but the way in which the school system includes conservation as part of educating students.

“Our schools have recycling programs,” said Whiten. “We have a school that has a school garden. Students are brought into a lot of hands-on activities through that garden. Even though as a school system, we emphasize energy and water reduction, we are passing those lessons along to our students. Hopefully in the future, they will be very conscious of these kinds of activities.”

Whiten said that the school system is very honored to receive the award.

The school system also announced Tuesday that Toccoa, Liberty, and Eastanollee Elementary schools were recognized as Title I Distinguished Schools this year for high student academic achievement scores. According to Whiten, each of those schools received $10,000 to spend as it needs on Title I purposes.