OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – The U.S. Department of Education has named Shadow Valley Elementary in Ogden a Green Ribbon School for excellence in efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. 

Just 27 schools from across the country were given this honor by the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

“The pandemic has driven home the vital importance of school buildings and grounds; health and wellness; and hands-on authentic learning,” says Cardona in a press release.  “I congratulate the selected schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions, which are, through their sustainability practices, offering healthy, safe, efficient school environments and protecting our planet.  Not surprisingly, many of our honorees support students in underserved communities, proving once again that green schools’ practices, encompassing best practices school operations, health, and environmental learning, are critical tools to advance equity.”

Student at Shadow Valley show off their “Earth Day Promises.” (Courtesy of Ogden School District)

Principal Vincent Ardizzone tells ABC4 that he and his students were excited and thrilled to receive recognition from the U.S. Department of Education on Earth Day. According to Ardizzone, the entire school takes pride in environmental sustainability and enjoys the learning process involved with it.

“We are a STEM school, and it’s a little hands on and has opportunities for students to interact,” Ardizzone tells ABC4. “It’s apart what we believe will be necessary for the students to grow and be contributors to society.”

A magnet STEM school in the Ogden School District, Shadow Valley was highlighted for its work in building a sustainable school environment as well as for its project-based learning programs on air quality levels. The school has done a variety of projects with its students to make green initiatives fun and engaging for its students. Students at Shadow Valley have collaborated with students at Weber State University to design and build an electric green car to race in the Mountain West Grand Prix, for example.

Students hard at work at Ogden’s Shadow Valley Elementary (Courtesy of Ogden School District)

Also, each day during the morning announcements, the air quality is read by the student newsgroup to create awareness. One sixth-grade class at the school is working on monitoring the air inside the school while researching new ways to improve the quality. These are small examples of the many ways the school is working to be environmentally friendly in addition to building the students’ interest in green technologies and strategies.

Shadow Valley has been open and teaching students with its innovative curriculum since 2010.