Visit Will Focus on Outdoor Education

ATLANTA – On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Morningside Elementary School will be featured on the itinerary for the 2017 Green Strides Tour. Named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2017 for its efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach environmental education, Morningside is among several sites on the tour. This year’s tour, themed “Taking Learning Outside,” will be held at Morningside from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. The tour officially begins Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The tour brings federal, state and local officials, non-profit representatives, and other visitors from neighboring school communities to bring attention to how outdoor expands traditional learning into the real world. The 2017 tour will highlight how schools teach effective environmental education, stewardship, and civic values through learning outside school walls while making positive contributions to communities and the planet. 

Assistant U.S. Education Secretary Holly Ham announced this year’s tour at an annual ceremony in Washington, DC honoring 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, District Sustainability and Postsecondary Sustainability awardees.

The tour will highlight Morningside’s leadership in facilities, health and environmental education. As part of the national award distinction, Morningside is recognized for recently installing a $5 million HVAC unit that works simultaneously to both heat and cool the building, thus reducing the need for two separate units and reducing energy costs.

Morningside has also established a recycling program, worked to improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and provided effective environmental and sustainability education while incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. This includes everything from student lessons and activities in the garden and Morningside’s Trees Atlanta partnership, to its turf fields that conserve water and other initiatives that have become a part of the school culture.

Morningside also offers First Fitness Friday, when local nutrition and fitness experts hold workshops on how to live a healthier lifestyle, for students, parents and the community. The school oversees a garden for students to harvest fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs year-round. Morningside partners with a local farm-to-table company to provide organic vegetables, eggs and meats to families who enroll in the program.


“Morningside Elementary is extremely proud of the wonderful programs we have within our building,” Principal Audrey Sofianos said. “It is our continued focus on effective environmental and sustainability education, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and reducing environmental impact and costs that helped us become a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. We’re also very excited to host the Green Strides Tour. It is designed to bring attention to the practices and resources we are using every day and to celebrate, along with our school community, partners, and elected officials, the great sustainability work that takes place within our building.”

The Green Strides Tour visited some 18 states, completing over 95 events in 2013, 2014, and 2016 iterations.  More information on past tours can be found here.





About Atlanta Public Schools 

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 98 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us.