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Environmental Charter Middle School Seeks Votes in Contest to Win $60,000 Grant

INGLEWOOD, California, Nov. 09 - /EWire/ -- Online voting just got underway and now Environmental Charter Middle School (ECMS) students are urging their families, friends, neighbors and social network connections to vote for their school in a contest, which if won will result in a $60,000 grant to ECMS. “Winning this grant would be a significant shot in the arm for our fledgling program” According to Alison Suffet-Diaz, Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) founder and executive director, ECMS is one of three finalists in the “Where Should We Bring Positivity Next?” contest sponsored by Energizer and EcoMedia, a CBS company. “Competition is very stiff and our need is great. We need all the votes we can muster,” she noted. ECMS, which opened in Sept. 2010, currently serves 200 students and is expected to grow to 330 students in Fall 2012. It quickly outgrew its original facilities. Having recently entered escrow on a new site in Southwest Los Angeles, the school is seeking funds to help with much-needed renovations to convert a former church into a model green school campus*. ECMS’s contest entry stated: “Funding will energize our school and community, while reducing our carbon footprint. Help us install solar panels on our new campus in an underserved area of Los Angeles. The panels will bring awareness, clean energy, and a healthy learning environment for today’s students and generations to come. Learn more at” Kami Cotler, principal of ECMS, emphasized the importance of the overall learning environment in ECMS’s teaching model. “Our vision is to create a vibrant school culture where students develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes that prepare them for success in high school college preparatory courses as well as prepare them to be effective stewards of their community. Teachers act as facilitators of inquiry, seeking real-world examples and unique, hands-on learning opportunities that bring the subject matter to life for their students and giving students a window into what is possible for their future,” she elaborated. “The school’s physical environment – the classrooms, the buildings, and the grounds – act as a teaching tool that connects students to the world around them.” ECMS primarily aims to serve students from Gardena, Calif., whose only other nearby public middle school option is over-crowded and under-performing. The school seeks to attract families that share the school’s core beliefs about how learning best occurs, including active collaboration between families and the school. Moreover, ECMS’s educational program addresses students of all abilities in a manner that meets the individual needs of every student. “Winning this grant would be a significant shot in the arm for our fledgling program,” Suffet-Diaz said. “Not only will it enable us to fast track some critical renovation projects and make bigger strides toward providing the improved learning environment that our students need and deserve,” she added, “the funds will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of becoming a model green school campus.” The contest evolved through partnerships CBS EcoMedia has formed with large public institutions and municipalities across the United States. In its partnership with Energizer, EcoMedia has identified critical programs it believes will improve the environment in local communities. Voting will end at noon (PST) Wed., Nov. 30, 2011. The winning project will be announced Wed., Dec. 14, 2011 on the Energizer hub on CBS’s website ( *ECMS intends to renovate the site in accordance with LEED specifications established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system. About Environmental Charter Schools: The mission of Environmental Charter Schools (ECS) is to inspire students to discover their own sense of purpose, to equip all students with the knowledge and skills to graduate from college and to empower them to become quality stewards of their community and world. On top of their challenging classroom programs, students are required to apply concepts and skills gained in class to problem-solve local civic and environmental issues and take action to make a measurable impact. Students also participate in outdoor educational challenges to develop self-confidence and leadership skills. The first school was formed in 1999 by founder Alison Suffet-Diaz along with a group of parents, educators, businesses and non-profits to meet the educational challenges in a low-income area of southwest Los Angeles. The second school, a middle school, opened in September 2010. In 2010, ECS was a finalist in consideration for President Obama to attend and present a graduation speech. Please contact us to arrange a personal tour of the ECMS campus or for an interview with founder Alison Suffet-Diaz.

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For more information or to vote, visit (One vote per project per registered user per day.) BBPR, Inc. Sandra Loden, 310-488-2676


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