Modesto City Schools Recognized as California Green Ribbon Schools Gold Level District

Modesto City Schools Business Services and Board Trustees Accept CA Green Ribbon Schools AwardState Superintendent of Public instruction Tony Thurmond announced that Modesto City Schools is one of only 14 school districts in the state to earn a 2024 California Green Ribbon Schools Award.  

“We are immensely honored that the California Department of Education has acknowledged our entire school district for this sustainability award,” said Modesto City Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Noguchi. “Each of our 34 school sites has made significant progress in fostering environmental stewardship and imparting to our students the vital importance of caring for our planet.”   

California Green Ribbon Schools AwardThe California Green Ribbon Schools award program mirrors the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition award at the state level. It evaluates applications originally submitted to the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program, identifying schools and school districts in California that excel in environmental practices. Schools are evaluated on three key areas: resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education. Modesto City Schools earned the prestigious California Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Gold level honor, indicating exceptional performance with a score of 75% or higher in all categories. 

“This award serves as a testament to the relentless dedication of our schools, educators, and support staff in fostering student engagement, enhancing academic performance, boosting graduation rates, and nurturing workforce preparedness. It also underscores the collective commitment of both state and federal initiatives towards advancing energy independence and fortifying economic stability,” said Tim Zearley, Associate Superintendent of Business Services. “ 

Modesto City Schools is being recognized for its commitment to reducing the district’s environmental impact and costs in areas of energy, water, waste, alternative transportation, and greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as for fostering sustainability throughout its educational community.  

MCS Board Members and District Administrators receive Gold Ribbon Schools Award in Claremont, CA

In just the last few years, MCS has established a Sustainability and Adaptation Department, installed solar parking structures and Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environments (SOLE), reduced its energy and utility consumption while measuring savings, converted half of its bus fleet to electric school buses, and appointed 34 "Sustainability Lead Teacher Champions” to support sustainability initiatives at each school site.  

“Through these dedicated endeavors, we’re not just fostering a positive change in our immediate and global surroundings. We’re also nurturing the well-being of our students, teachers, and staff while opening doors to environmental literacy, green career paths, and boundless opportunities,” said Gilbert Blue Feather Rosas, Director of Sustainability and Adaptation. 

More about the California Green Ribbon Schools Award Program 

Across the state, 20 schools, 14 districts, and two county offices of education are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. 


By applying for the Green Ribbon Awards program, schools and districts join a statewide network of resources and support, all working toward a better future. 

For details on California’s ED-GRS honorees, please visit the CDE Green Ribbon Schools Award Program webpage


More about Modesto City Schools 

MCS is comprised of an elementary district (K-8) and a high school district (9-12) with a common Board of Education and administration. MCS enrolls about 30,000 students across 34 schools and is ranked the 25th largest school district in California by enrollment. Seven other school districts feed into MCS at the high school level. Students are distributed between 22 elementary schools (K-6), four junior high schools (7-8), seven high schools (9-12), and one alternative high school (9-12).