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Journey: First School in County to Win Green Ribbon

The Aliso Viejo charter school is the county's first to win this federal ecology award.

Journey School in Aliso Viejo won a federal Green Ribbon Award Monday, making it the first school to do so in Orange County.

The school won thanks to its five gardens, zero-emissions field trips and classroom topics that teach composting, harvesting rainwater and many other eco-themed subjects.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that started in September 2011. Journey is a free charter school and also the county's only Waldorf-inspired public school.

The school was one of four from California to win a Green Ribbon this year.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the Green Ribbon winners enrich their students' lives:

Students who have had the chance to improve the air, or grow a vegetable, or capture the rain will never look at the world the same way again. I hope all California students get this chance to learn how to protect the Earth and all those who live here.

Here are some other ways Journey shows its green stripes:

  • They partnered with Tanaka Farms, which delivers baskets of fresh organic produce weekly for faculty, students, and parents.  
  • Kindergarten students prepare daily organic snacks that include organic fruits or vegetables, grains such as quinoa, and fresh bread.
  • Eco-leadership projects: Eighth-graders create and build projects to benefit the school and local community. Fifty percent of the projects last year involved green technologies (solar panels, electric bikes, plastic bag ban/reduction, etc.)

Since being founded in 2000, Journey has tripled in size. It grew from 90 students in the first year to 298 in the 2011-2012 school year.

The Journey School moved from San Clemente High School in 2004-05.

What do you think of Journey School's latest honor? Tell us in the comments below.

Pete Karaiskos April 24, 2013 at 01:24 PM
"What do you think of Journey School's latest honor? Tell us in the comments below." The Journey School's latest honor comes at the price of the disrupted education of many, many students. The Journey School is one of the most complained about Waldorf charter schools in the country. Please read the reviews and comments of parents who weren't very satisfied with their experience at the Journey school here: http://thewaldorfreview.blogspot.com/2012/05/journey-charter-school-reviews-by.html Schools like this should not be rewarded. They fail way too many students.
nmp April 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM
@Pete Karaiskass: It's true, there are parents that are unhappy at Journey. It's also true there are parents that have left because they were unhappy about Journey. This is very unique to this school. No other school in the nation has any parents that are unhappy. No other school in the nation have parents that have left because they had complaints about the teachers, administrators, other parents, or anything else. Absolutely none! I went to your blog and read the comments about Journey. Some were valid to a certain degree. Most were irrelevant and obviously biased. Am I happy at Journey? Yes. Am I 100% happy? Obviously not, and if anyone thinks they are going to be in heaven when they enroll their kid to any institution they lack serious critical thinking skills. Journey has had 1000s of students graduate in the last few years and what you have is a miniscule amount of complaints from parents that have quit.I can't imagine intelligent adults making judgements about the school based on your blog. The blog is biased, cowardly, and discourages any real discussion. Seriously man, you're disgruntled, which I suppose is ok- we all feel that way sometimes, but to go and advertise your immaturity all over the internet at your age...? Journey absolutely deserves the Green Ribbon Award!
applesnkids April 25, 2013 at 06:55 PM
What an accomplishment! As parents of current Journey students, we whole-heartedly recommend the school to prospective parents. Interesting that the negative poster is a "former" Waldorf parent who promotes his own blog...I wouldn't quite say his opinion is truth. By promoting his own blog and choosing to post only negative comments (comments that were made by only a couple parents posting as others multiple times) hardly makes his blog unbiased. Do the research. Families tend to stay at Journey and it is a fantastic school.
Aliso Viejo Parents April 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Our kids have learned so much about botany, biology, the environment, cause and effect, building and architecture (the children built many of the structures on the property themselves!), community, responsibility, and citizenship all based on the eco-themed subjects they teach at Journey. Many of the local schools have 'gardening', but Journey took a holistic approach to the subject so that students had real hands-on learning experiences on all aspects of our eco-system and our impact on it. Our two boys, in 6th and 4th grade, are excited about learning again after years at another local, public school. And they don't just stop learning once the bell rings - kids are looking up more information on their own that can contribute to the conversation, and learning, of eco-literacy. It's *this excitement* that has helped with their other subjects, such as math, English, and other traditional subjects. I heard that Journey had a few rough years, and I'm very happy to see the huge improvement with the new leadership, administration, staff and involved parents. We are focused on our children's future, not just test scores. The kids are very excited about their hard-earned Green Ribbon Award, as are we! Thank you, Journey!
Aliso Viejo Parents April 25, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Actually, we've had multiple parents leave Journey because of the time/cost of travel (some students travel over an hour one-way!). They try a local school in their area, only to come back within a few months. They love the school, as do we. We work hard as a community to make it the school we wish it to be, we don't put our efforts in a blog outlining what's wrong (without offering to help make it better). We show our children that only action can help change the world - not just loud voices.

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