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There are approximately 800 students at PMS. That's over 1,600 green thumbs! And they just received one big thumbs-up from Uncle Sam!

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that F. Niel Postlethwait Middle School is among the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award winners and one of only two selected from Delaware.

“These schools have done exemplary work to help prepare the rising generation for the careers and challenges of the 21st Century.” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a press release.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award honors schools, districts, and institutions for reducing environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness and offering effective sustainability education.

"This award acknowledges your school’s commitment to sustainable practices. We commend your school for its leadership in facilities, health, and environmental education." wrote U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools director Andrea Suarez Falken in an email to PMS science teacher Todd Klawinski.

Mr. Klawinski, the school's scientific secret weapon, helped established an "Eco-Team" club at PMS to give environmentally conscious and motivated students an outlet to share their ideas to make a difference in the school and community. The group meets monthly and discusses ideas they have to make the school, campus, and students more environmentally friendly.

"Today is a great day, not only for our school being recognized as a Green Ribbon School, but for all the students, faculty, and staff of the Caesar Rodney School District. We have ventured down a pathway to being a Delaware public school model for sustainable living and lifelong learning, and for raising our students to become conservation minded adults as they continue down their own pathways to success." remarked Mr. Klawinski.

The school features an outdoor classroom, complete with a learning deck, raised vegetable garden and compost bins, which allows students to enjoy the outdoors and make connections between the environmental science content they learn in the classroom and the natural world around them.

“I’m extremely proud of our students and Mr. Klawinski. Through their efforts, and with the support of the Caesar Rodney School District, our school community has been provided with a highly interactive, and very diverse, outdoor learning environment that supports sustainable living and conservation practices.” said Postlethwait principal Derek Prillaman.

The 2017 Recognition Awards Ceremony is Wednesday, July 19, 2017 held at the U.S. Department of Commerce's Herbert C. Hoover Building Auditorium in Washington D.C.