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The purpose of the Green Schools Initiative is to reduce the consumption of natural resources, and embed environmental responsibility in the culture of OPS. To date, 100% of the schools/programs and administrative offices participate. Students collect recycling, serve as energy managers, pick up litter, plant trees, and participate in related community events.  After six years, OPS has seen a positive culture change, has dramatically reduced its environmental impact, and has accumulated approximately $7.3 million in cumulative cost reduction and avoidance and avoided the greenhouse gas emissions 74,000 Mt of CO2 equivalent to the emissions produced by burning 395 railcars of coal.

Dr. Turnquist on GSI

"The Green Schools Initiative is motivated by a dedication to sound fiscal and environmental stewardship. It represents a commitment to responsible management of material resources and to the health of the school district as well as the larger community. All members of the OPS family are urged to join together in this initiative out of respect for the environment and a dedication to efficiency in all operational practices."

Dr. Antoinette E. Turnquist
Chief Operations Officer


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

OPS Winners


Miller Park Elementary

Lothrop Science Magnet



King Science Magnet



District Award

Fontenelle Elementary



Gomez Heritage Elementary

Wilson Focus School



Davis Middle



Chandler View Elementary

Northwest High Magnet School



Green Schools Initiative News

Green Schools Initiative News

2013 Green Ribbon School Bookmark

Now in its second year, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) has expanded, recognizing school districts, in addition to schools, for their work to ensure sustainable, healthy school environments and effective environmental education.  King Science is one of the 2013 Green Ribbon Schools award winners!

OPS Waste Audit/Recycling Contest Bookmark

OPS Waste Audit/Recycling Contest
In 2012, The United States Green Building Council (local Flatwater Chapter) provided OPS with grant funding for materials and education to help start recycling programs in all OPS high school cafeterias. As part of the grant requirements, a waste audit was conducted using samples of trash from all seven OPS high schools.

2013 ENERGY STAR Awards Bookmark

Congratulations to the district's 2013 ENERGY STAR Award winning schools!

These schools are setting a high standard for energy efficiency and living up to that standard. Kudos to everyone involved in these efforts!

Effective and Efficient Use of District Resources in Furniture and Equipment Bookmark

The Omaha Public Schools’ Surplus Furniture & Equipment Operation has not only saved the District over $500,000 annually, but provides an extraordinary example to schools across the nation.

2013 Trailblazing Teacher Bookmark

The USGBC issues Trailblazing Teacher Awards to 10 teachers twice a year to teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to bring environmental sustainability into the classroom. OPS's own Kristine Denton of King Science & Technology Magnet won the Spring 2013 award for her aquaponics work with students.


In March 2015, OPS confirmed new goals as part of its Green Schools Initiative, a program designed to guide the reduction of consumption of natural resources at OPS. These goals set targets for resource reduction and track the progress in each goal, which can be viewed on the Dashboard.


The original goals were either out of date or no longer relevant. Paper and engagement will no longer be tracked.  There is not enough data available to give an accurate representation of paper usage in the District. In addition, the paper ordering is often uneven, with large orders one semester and small ones the next, making it difficult to discern patterns and areas of opportunity for reduction which is a primary reason for tracking a metric. The District has also reached the goal for engagement with all schools having implemented Green Teams.

The table below shows previous goals and new goals. The new goal metrics were chosen with consideration for OPS’ growth and the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Award program metrics. The Green Ribbon Award recognizes schools that reduce their environmental impact, improve the health and wellness of schools and occupants, and provide environmental education. OPS won the 2014 District Green Ribbon Sustainability award and four individual schools have earned Green Ribbon awards over the last three years. Showing progress towards these goals illustrates the district’s commitment to resource reduction and improving the health and wellness of the District.

The table below describes the previous goal, the new (or updated goal), and the savings experienced to date. The Emissions goal is new whereas the paper usage and engagement goals are being eliminated. The time frame for each goal is 2019.

OPS Green Schools Initiative Goals and Savings


Previous Goal

Savings to date


New Goal

Energy Star

District wide Energy Star rating of 70

$3.9 million in energy costs

District wide Energy Star rating of 62.5

District wide Energy Star rating of 70



36,500 MtCO2 * emissions prevented

1.58 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions

1.36 MtCO2 per occupant per year in emissions

Water Consumption

District average of 11.1 million gallons per month


2,469 gallons per occupant per year

2,400 gallons per occupant per year


34,000 cubic yards of recycling

$47,000 in avoided costs

24% of District waste diverted to recycling

30% of District waste diverted to recycling

Waste Reduction

110,000 cubic yards of waste per year

(see above)

(see above)

(see above)

Paper Usage

7,300 cases purchased per year


8,150 cases purchased per year


Engagement-Green Teams

100% of schools with Green Teams


100% of schools with Green Teams


* MtCO2 stands for metric tons of carbon dioxide, a common metric to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

Potential Impact

If OPS were to meet the goals above, it would have the following impact each year:

  • The emissions reduction equivalent of removing 1,900 passenger cars from the road
  • Saving 1.4 million gallons of water
  • Diverting 8,000 cubic yards of waste to recycling