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What Is a Green School?
A Green School enhances student health and learning while conserving natural resources and empowering students to develop sustainable behaviors, enabling them to become the stewards of the future.
How do you become a Green School?
Becoming a green school is not a prescribed journey; it is a series of conscious actions that lead to more ecological and sustainable practices. By using this “GreenPrint™” as a road map, leaders, teachers and students, can begin to implement core practices immediately. Through long-term commitment to these core practices, schools and school districts work toward implementation of all benchmarks at the highest level.
Core Practice 1: Curriculum that Advances Environmental Literacy and Sustainability
- Environmental literacy & education for sustainability, as defined by local, state, & national standards, is integrated in all grades;
- All teachers use inquiry, problem, and project-based pedagogy to facilitate learning about global systems and relationships;
- Outdoor experiences and fieldwork support learning about complex systems, connecting humans with other humans and all aspects of the natural world;
- Content areas are integrated by using environmental and sustainability topics as the common theme; and
- STEM education supports a sustainable workforce for a green economy.
Core Practice 2: Stewardship and Service Learning
- Real world service learning projects explore solutions to local, regional, global problems and issues and teach 21century skills;
- Stewardship projects allow the student to take responsibility for their own school grounds;
- Place-based projects and practices that include, but are not limited to, school farms, forests, and gardens;
- All students are given the opportunity to participate in land restoration projects, such as native eco-system or brown fields remediation; and
- Teacher and leaders provide opportunities for students to make local and global connections.
Core Practice 3: Sustainable Facilities Design and Management
- Green facilities design and construction retrofit for existing buildings as defined by state, regional or national certification programs;
- Management practices, operations, and maintenance that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality and lighting, decrease waste stream and improve water conservation;
- Zero-waste or reduced-waste cafeterias;
- Use of non-toxic and eco-friendly supplies and materials; and
- Facility managers and teacher work together to use buildings, management practices, materials and supplies purchasing to teach about sustainability.
Core Practice 4: Health and Well Being
- Healthy eating programs that utilize locally sourced and whole foods;
- Curriculum and support for physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices;
- Fitness and recreation programs that include lifetime outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, biking, skiing, and camping;
- Healthy air quality practices and lighting that reduce illness and absenteeism; and
- Healthy and thoughtful relationships with others that support character development.
Core Practice 5: Strong Partnerships and Networks
- Long-term partnerships that support systemic change and ecological balance within the school and community;
- Strong alliances among groups of diverse cultural heritage to promote the greening of schools in all communities;
- Participation in the development of state and national green school networks;
- Participation in research and evaluation of student learning and best green school practices; and
- Collaboration with research-based curriculum and assessment models.
Green Schools National Network MISSION
The Green Schools National Network advances the national green and healthy schools movement by connecting like-minded and passionate education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and organizations.
GSNN is nationally recognized as the premier partner in advancing collaboration to integrate a green and healthy culture in schools to ensure that current and future generation of students are environmentally literate as well as practice and promote sustainability in their community.
Our AREAS OF FOCUS
● Education/Professional Development ● Resources and Information ● Networking/Collaboration
● Advocacy/Policy ● Research
ORGANIZATIONS CONTRIBUTING TO THE GSNN GREENPRINT DOCUMENT
Alaska Green Schools
Alliance for Climate Education
Association of Independent Schools
Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
Center for Diversity and the Environment
Denver Public Schools
Earth Partnerships for Schools
Environmental Charter Schools – California
Facing the Future
High Plains Environmental Center
Kansas Assoc. for Conservation & Environmental Education
Keep America Beautiful
Kokua Hawaii Foundation
Maine Green Schools
Mid-America Regional Council
Minnesota Department of Education
National Association of Elementary School Principals
Oregon Green Schools
Pine Jog Environmental Center
SIG Energy Initiative
Sustainable Schools Project
Triangle Energy Solutions
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
Washington Green Schools
Will Steger Foundation
Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education