LAWNDALE, CA (April 26, 2010) – Environmental Charter High School (ECHS), in Lawndale, CA, was recently named one of six finalists in President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ High School Commencement Challenge. To kickoff the next round of the contest, ECHS invites Californians and the country to watch the compelling student-created videos and cast their vote at the White House web site beginning today. Voting is live from 8:00a.m. EST, Monday, April 26, 2010 through Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:59p.m. EST at www.whitehouse.gov/commencement.
ECHS also held a press event on Monday, April 26 at 10:30a.m. PST. At the news conference, ECHS students and staff, along with actor/activist Rosario Dawson, Global Green USA and other invited guests cast their votes for ECHS, the only school in California named a finalist and the only green school. The online premier of the student-created contest video was also shown with live student reaction, as they had yet to see the final cut. The event was held at ECHS, 16315 Grevillea Ave, Lawndale, CA 90260.
The top three finalists of the online public vote will be presented to President Obama for his final selection on May 4, 2010.
“I congratulate the finalists for demonstrating effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career,” said President Obama. “I look forward to visiting and speaking at the winning school later this spring.”
With 92% of last year’s graduating class accepted into a four-year university, ECHS is one of the country’s highest performing college prep schools and a model school for the country. In fact, ECHS’ Green Ambassador program, which empowers youth to be agents of change in their communities and the world by working to tackle critical environmental issues, is being implemented by other schools around the country.
"Congratulations ECHS on making the final 6! The students of ECHS are incredible inspiration, and are living proof that a green school and curriculum help improve test scores and lives," said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen. "Children learning about how ecosystems work at a school also produces a phenomenal number of college bound grads and is just one more example of how green schools can transform lives and neighborhoods, not to mention be a smart, real solution to climate change."
“We appreciate each and every vote and hope we have the opportunity host President Obama at this year’s commencement,” added Alison Suffet-Diaz, founder & executive director of Environmental Charter Schools. “We look forward to sharing with him how we approach learning, what a green school is all about and what it takes to motivate today’s youth to go out and make a difference in the world.”
ECHS is one of six public schools selected to compete for a presidential commencement address from Obama. The Commencement Challenge invited the nation’s public high schools to submit applications. Over one thousand applicants were judged based on the schools’ performance, four essay questions and supplemental data. To become a finalist, in their essay ECHS focused on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Environmental Charter High School (ECHS): (http://www.echsonline.org)
Environmental Charter High School is a public charter high school serving Lawndale and surrounding communities in south Los Angeles. ECHS offers a rigorous college prep program that is made relevant by guiding students to critically examine and take action to solve environmental challenges in their local communities. The award-winning high school has outperformed 80% of comparable high schools in its state API ranking – a key performance indicator.
ECHS and its Green Ambassadors program have been honored with the EPA Environmental Award, the California Service Learning Leader Award, the California Charter Schools Dissemination Grant, and Green Teacher of the Year Award.
Global Green USA: (http://www.globalgreen.org)
Global Green USA, the American arm of President Gorbachev’s Green Cross International, is the only national environmental group headquartered in Southern California and is a national leader in creating smart green building solutions to climate change. For more than 15 years, Global Green has helped green nearly $20 billion nationally in affordable housing, school, and municipal building construction that saves energy, reduces CO2 emissions, improves health, and creates green jobs.
As a direct result of Global Green’s National Green Schools Initiative, 20,000 students who were in overcrowded and rundown schools across the U.S. now attend classes in healthy classrooms in state-of-the-art green schools. Soon, that number will triple. For the past five years, Global Green has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District to help green its $14 billion in new school construction. Now, Global Green is expanding its initiative with the goal of insuring that within a generation all students can learn in healthy, high performance classrooms. After Hurricane Katrina, Global Green opened an office in New Orleans to help spearhead the green rebuilding of the city, and thanks to a grant from the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, is demonstrating how to sustainably rebuild New Orleans’ schools.
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