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James N. Gamble Montessori High School is one of the nation's 27 Green Ribbon Schools awarded this year for promising sustainability practices, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes Green Ribbon Schools that strive to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff and provide effective environmental and sustainability education, according to the website. Gamble Montessori was the only Ohio school recognized in 2021. 

"I am incredibly proud of our students, teachers, staff, parents and community. We have infused respect and appreciation for the natural world into the Montessori based education we provide our students," Gamble Montessori High School principal Taylor Porter said in a Thursday news release. "This manifests in multiple ways, including through our Agricultural Education program, the gardens, orchards, and entrepreneurship that fuel our annual Montessori Market, and best in class water purification, smart lighting, and energy efficient facilities."

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The Montessori Market started in 2019. Students enrolled in the agriculture program most recently held an event on April 10 with dozens of local Westwood vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, candles and honey. Some products are available year-round online.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the 2021 Green Ribbon Schools on Thursday. He said the award was created to encourage school districts to incorporate wellness practices, sustainable school facilities and hands-on learning as means to increase student achievement.

"The healthiest, most inspiring school facilities and grounds can and should be a tool to deliver equity, creativity and quality for students and educators," Cardona said.

"This is even more important as we work to recover from a global health pandemic where all schools have been forced to confront issues of school air quality, nutrition and outdoor learning more directly than ever."

James N. Gamble Montessori High School before its move to a building on Werk Road in 2019.

Gamble Montessori, located in Westwood, serves over 500 students in grades 7-12. Its' first graduating class was in 2011. The school moved to the former Mercy High School building on Werk Road in 2019.

"The work done by Gamble Montessori High School is a wonderful example of the academic and operational innovation and leadership happening each day at Cincinnati Public Schools. We know that green academics and practices, including being a good steward of the resources in our community, are critical components of educating the next generation of leaders," superintendent Laura Mitchell said in the release.

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