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Catholic school receives national recognition

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LA MESA — The U.S. Department of Education has named St. Martin of Tours Academy in La Mesa as one of the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.

The school, which serves 220 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, is the only winner from San Diego County and one of four in California. The school joins 26 other schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions across the country being honored for innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

In 2015, St. Martin of Tours Academy became the first Catholic elementary school in the nation to be declared a Fair Trade School, offering events and curriculum related to fair trade practices, and replacing products on campus for global sustainability.

The school performs among the top 25% of similar buildings nationwide, based on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking. It invested in a rooftop solar system designed to supply all energy required for the school’s operations and participates in net energy metering that exports surplus clean energy to the grid. Landscaping on campus was replaced with drought-tolerant native plants and rocks.

Students engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities that explore the environment, climate change, sustainability and ecosystems. They demonstrate their acquisition of subject material by engaging in “real-world” challenges.

Junior high students participated in a regional SeaPerch challenge, an underwater robotics program that teaches students how to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle. In partnership with the City of La Mesa and their local waste hauler, the school composts food and yard waste. It also participates in local beach clean-ups twice a year.

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