The green schools movement is the most critical education reform initiative of our time. Through the Green Schools National Network (GSNN) membership program, you can show your support and become a catalyst for change for green schools everywhere.
GSNN’s membership program is designed for leaders (like you!) who use sustainability to drive innovation in their classrooms, schools, or school districts. As a member of the program, you will learn from and be inspired by the people who are transforming schools across the country.
Choose from 5 different levels of membership: Individual, Nonprofit, preK-12 School, School District, or Corporate. Each level comes with its own set of benefits and discounts, some of which include: professional publications, a subscription to Green Teacher Magazine, discounted Green Schools Conference and Expo registration, discounted and free professional development opportunities, networking opportunities, and discounted fees for GSNN school and district coaching.
Visit GSNN’s membership website to learn more and sign up.
The 1st Annual Get Out of the Classroom Field Studies Conference is set to take place August 3 – 4, 2017 in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The conference will take place at Northwest Passage High School, which has spent nearly 18 years planning and challenging students to learn beyond the classroom, from the local community to the global community. Join a talented group of educators, practitioners, and innovators who have explored learning environments with their students through field studies, urban travel, and wilderness expeditions. Learn more about registration.
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education works with schools and school districts to help them integrate Education for Sustainability (EfS) into their curriculum. Core services include consulting and leadership development (on-site and off-site); professional development and faculty coaching; curriculum design, assessment, mapping, and alignment; and school and community partnerships. The Cloud Institute holds an annual Summer Design Studio that enables educators, administrators, and program designers to learn how to design and embed EfS into curriculum, assessments, and programs.
Sustainability Education Conference: A Regional Gathering for Educators and Community Leaders
August 4 – 6, 2017
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York
This August, we invite you to join the Cloud Institute for an inaugural gathering of educators, administrators, business leaders, parents, students, and community-based organizations from the Hudson Valley and beyond to explore the potential for our schools and communities to learn and work together toward a shared and intentional future.
Through presentations, group discussions, and focused breakout sessions, we look at a whole-school approach to education—from curriculum and instruction to facilities and grounds—nested within whole communities, and how the two can be more deeply integrated and serve as resources for one another. Using the EfS framework, the successful Sustainable Jersey for Schools initiative, and other case studies, we explore the power of learning and the creative potential of our youth, and continue to identify how to best support our next generation of leaders.
Those from outside the Hudson Valley are welcome to join us to share insights and experiences and bring new understandings back home.
Visit the conference webpage for pricing and registration information.
Summer Curriculum Design Studio: Educating for a Sustainable Future
This year’s program will be held August 6 – 11 at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. In this 5-day design studio, educators, administrators, and program designers learn how to design and embed EfS into curriculum, assessments, and programs. Attendees get access to expertise, coaching, resources, and tools to design elegant curricula for classroom use, create protocols for professional development, or lay out action plans to implement EfS in schools and communities.
Through working sessions, learning circles, coaching, peer review, and optional workshops, participants are supported as they create and develop units and protocols that educate for sustainability.
Cost is $495, plus a $33 materials fee. Accommodation prices vary. Lean more about the summer design studio here.
Community Works Institute (CWI) supports and promotes exemplary teaching strategies and practices for K-16 educators and community programs that support students in becoming caring, responsible, and active members of their communities. CWI offers a variety of professional development opportunities for K-16 and community-based educators in the United States and internationally, including on-site training, retreats, coaching, and consulting. Their signature offering is a series of summer institutes that integrate field-tested service-learning best practices and principles of sustainability to engage K-16 students in academically based service that contributes to sustainable communities. The West Institute will be held in Los Angeles, California from July 24 – 28, 2017. Visit the website to learn more about this professional development opportunity.
At EcoRise, we believe in the power of teachers to ignite innovation and the potential of students to design a sustainable future for all. Our school-based program empowers youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities by teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Over 350 schools have implemented our full program and 1,800 teachers in 26 countries have accessed our educational materials. Our curriculum, classroom grants, ongoing training, and support engages educators and students in meaningful learning experiences. Our program empowers teachers to confidently champion sustainability and innovation in their classroom, while students cultivate 21st century skills and sustainable living practices.
- Online and in-person professional development, curriculum, and self-paced resources for green industry connections to K–12 educators, STEM educators, and Project-Based Learning teachers.
- For U.S.-based schools, we award micro grants to student-designed sustainability projects.
- Our committed partnership with like-minded institutions and corporate supporters to expand reach and impact.
Visit www.ecorise.org to learn more.
Green Schools Alliance is an international organization that advances student success and saves schools resources by fostering whole school sustainability. Originally developed as a network created by schools for schools, the Alliance has evolved to provide integrated and organized support to students, school professionals, schools, and districts to foster sustainability work.
Alliance programs are scaled and developed from member ideas to make them more accessible for other member schools. The Alliance conducts work via its international coalition of schools, rooted in the idea that collaboration among schools brings the greatest change for sustainable learning environments and communities. They:
- promote student success through leadership training, project-based learning, and a support system.
- inspire school professionals through access to training, resources, and a community of fellow sustainability champions.
- provide schools with tools to accelerate whole school sustainability efforts through collective purchasing power, access to resources, and reporting and recognition systems.
- offer districts the programs to leverage high-volume purchasing power, foster collaborative communication, and gather system-wide information on school efforts.
The Green Strides Webinar Series provides school communities with the tools they need to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education. It provides all schools access to the resources that help them move toward the Pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. Sign up for Green Strides Webinar Series email updates to receive information on future webinars.
Best Practices in School Gardens
Presenter: Mary Dudley
Wednesday, September 27th 2017, 7:30-8:30pm EST
To overcome the challenges and be successful, you need to keep a few basic principles in mind. Doing so will add to the overall sustainability of a garden and allow for the school community to participate in the project. Based on several years of research and experience with dozens of school gardens, Mary and her colleagues will share their list of basic steps and best practices for school gardens.
Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit organization educating for a sustainable future. That means learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the planet. Its home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark.
Shelburne Farms’ school programs staff support both student learning and professional development for educators. The ideas of place and sustainability are at the heart of its work. Shelburne Farms offers a variety of experiences that inspire deep connections to community, and a commitment to a healthy future.
The Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability, 10th Anniversary
Join us July 24 – 28, 2017 to celebrate our 10th Annual Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability. Spend five rich days with colleagues from around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of education for sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, part retreat. We develop the institute based on participants’ needs and assets; but we always ensure that you have an opportunity to develop connections between curriculum and community, work and dialogue together, and reflect in an inspiring setting that models sustainability and systems-thinking. Education for sustainability is at the heart of what we do at Shelburne Farms and with our PreK-12 schools, university, and community partners.
Cost $600. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes travel and graduate credit. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Learn more and register here.
Education for Sustainability Immersion
August 17 – 18, 2017
For those wishing to dive deeply into their education for sustainability work in a residential, retreat-like setting at Shelburne Farms. Evening programming will be held on Thursday night.
Cost $375. Includes meals and accommodations; excludes graduate credits. Limited to 15 participants. Scholarships are available to cover the course fee. Learn more and register here.
The Active Design Toolkit for Schools provides ideas and resources to incorporate active design into schools. Although the toolkit was developed to inform school design in New York City, many of the ideas presented in the toolkit can be adapted for use by schools anywhere in the country to improve the success, health, and well-being of their students. The toolkit was developed by the Partnership for a Healthier New York City in collaboration with New York City’s Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Education, and Transportation.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals, and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids. Their website contains information, tools, and resources for schools covering nutrition and health education, physical activity, and school wellness policies. The Alliance also runs a Healthy Schools Program, an evidence-based initiative to create and sustain healthy school environments. The program is being used by more than 31,000 schools nationwide.
CASEL is the world’s leading organization advancing one of the most important fields in education: the practice of promoting integrated academic, social, and emotional learning for all children, from preschool through high school. Visit their website for case studies, research, policy, and resources (including guides, videos, book recommendations, and informative materials) on integrating social-emotional learning in schools.
CLEAR partners with education systems to create and sustain trauma–informed models of practice that support integration of trauma informed practices into the school environment. Visit CLEAR’s website to learn more about this unique professional development opportunity, see a list of schools implementing the CLEAR model, and obtain more information about child trauma on their resource webpage. You can also download this CLEAR Trauma-Informed Schools White Paper: A Selected Review of Trauma-Informed School Practice and Alignment with Educational Practice.
The Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin – Madison conducts rigorous scientific research to bring new insights and tools aimed at improving the well-being of people of all backgrounds and ages, including children in K-12 school settings.
ChopChop Kids, the publisher of ChopChop Magazine, was founded in 2010 to inspire and teach children and families to cook real food together. Through its namesake magazine, ChopChop reaches more than two million families annually. The magazine is available in English and Spanish and offers nutritious, great-tasting, ethnically diverse, and inexpensive recipes, as well as interesting and little-known food facts, Q&As, and games. The magazine is distributed to schools to teach students about food, cooking, nutrition, and health. A complementary curriculum has been developed with classroom activities, printables, and lessons in math, science, ELA, and social studies that are aligned to national standards.
Empowering Education is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing comprehensive, mindfulness-based social-emotional learning to K-12 schools. Their products and services include: a standards-aligned, evidence-based K-8 curriculum Empowering Minds; engaging professional development opportunities; school-wide implementation guidance and coaching; school-family partnership assistance and programming; and Whole Child support consulting. Free samples lessons are available on their website.
Experiential Tools was founded by author and educator Jennifer Stanchfield to provide educators with quality, unique, and user-friendly methods to enhance learning, increase engagement, build community, facilitate group development, and engage learners in meaningful reflection and dialogue. Resources offered include consulting, professional development programs, workshops, books, and teaching and facilitation tools. Visit the website for a list of upcoming workshops.
Facing the Future is an international program, based out of Western Washington University, creating tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curriculum is organized around eight sustainability big ideas:
- Connecting with Nature
- Equity and Justice
- Health and Resiliency
- Local to Global
- Peace and Collaboration
- Respect for Limits
- Universal Responsibility
Facing the Future curriculum materials and resources are available for K-12 teachers, teachers in colleges of education, and for some community college and undergraduate classes. All materials are developed for teachers, by teachers, with best teaching and learning practices in mind and are aligned with Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and most state standards frameworks.
FoodSpan is a free, downloadable high school curriculum that highlights critical issues in the food system; stimulates debate about food system topics related to human health, the environment, equity, and animal welfare; and empowers students to be food citizens. It is aligned to national education standards in science, social studies, health, and family and consumer sciences. This curriculum was developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future as an outgrowth of its work to help build a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient food system.
The Forward Food initiative is dedicated to growing a healthier, more sustainable food system by placing an emphasis on plant-based foods. Their website provides resources for K-12 schools including recipes, product lists, sample menus, and a tool kit to help schools develop, implement, and market plant-based meal programs. You will also find more information about Meatless Mondays and free training for school districts.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program, created by the National Dairy Council and National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This free program offers funding opportunities for schools and an online Playbook full of school-tested action strategies to improve healthy eating and physical activity at schools and beyond. Fuel Up to Play 60 empowers students, with the support of adults, to take the lead in making healthy changes and to have a positive impact in their communities. Over 73,000 schools are involved, and 38 million students have been reached through the program nationwide.
In addition to their Playbook, Fuel Up to Play 60 offers a wealth of healthy eating and physical activity information, research, and tools on their website to enable educators to empower their students to adopt healthy behaviors and make healthy changes in the school environment.
Grades of Green was founded in 2008 by four California moms who wanted a better world for their children. This nonprofit provides schools with free and easy access to over 40 activities that aim to instill environmental values in students. Activities are broken out into categories, including air, energy, toxins, waste, water, and earth. The organization also has a Youth Corps Eco Leadership Program that mentors 60 selected second through twelfth grade students to become eco-leaders. Participation in the program is free, though students must submit an application to be considered.
This guide was developed to educate students about the amount of food they waste in their school cafeterias by conducting a waste audit. The guide steps users through planning and conducting a waste audit and provides strategies for reducing food waste and encouraging students to eat more nutritious food.
HealthCorps is a nonprofit that gives teens tools to improve physical and mental health so they can learn to live more productive and happier lives. The organization offers two programs: Living Labs, where a HealthCorps Coordinator is placed inside a high need high school to teach wellness related classes; and HealthCorps University, which provides one to two day professional development trainings in the HealthCorps curriculum for educators and key organizational personnel.
HealthCorps’ curriculum provides turnkey skills to integrate health and wellness into an organization’s current programming, and represents lessons from over a decade of work and research in many of America’s most challenging high schools. The curriculum has been refined and developed since 2003, is aligned to National Health Education Standards, and has been vetted through a board of medical experts. The curriculum is free and can be downloaded from HealthCorps’ website, where you can also read about program success stories, view videos, and find healthy recipes.
The first years of a child’s life can have a profound impact on future learning, behavior, and overall well-being. The Central Iowa ACEs 360 Steering Committee is leading efforts to raise awareness of the life-long impacts of childhood trauma and to support initiatives working to prevent or mitigate its effects. Their website lists a number of links curated for K-12 professionals including teachers, aids, administrators, school counselors, staff, and others who work closely with educators or school-age youth.
The In Defense of Food curriculum is a companion to the PBS documentary In Defense of Food, using activities and film clips to give students tools to think critically about food. Students learn why it is important to eat healthfully, investigate how food companies influence their food choices, and create action plans for changing their eating habits. They become motivated to eat real food, and excited to share what they have learned with their family, friends, and community. The curriculum is designed for middle school after-school programs, and can be adapted for students from age ten through adulthood in a wide range of settings.
A product of the U.S. Green Building Council’s The Center for Green Schools, Learning Lab provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action.
Discover best-in-class content, training, and tools. Access their curated catalogue of lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current educational standards, and were created by educators, for educators.
Mindful Schools is nonprofit training organization that offers online and in-person courses, multimedia content, informative articles, and a network of mindful educators spanning all 50 U.S. states and 100+ countries.
MindUp is a product of The Hawn Foundation and was developed to help children build personal resilience, develop positive behavior, and improve learning and scholastic performance. Grounded in the pillars of Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Mindful Behavior, and Social-Emotional Learning, the program consists of 15 lessons that are tailored to a child’s age group and development level. Each lesson offers students mindful strategies that can increase self-control, focus, empathy, and optimism. Visit the MindUp website to learn more about the lessons, pricing, and to view related research and white papers.
The National Association of Physical Literacy (NAPL) aims to inspire a healthy, active world in which all people have the ability to move, the confidence to play, and the desire to affect genuine wellness for generations to come. The global leader of physical literacy programming, certification, training, and curriculum, NAPL is a resource for K-12 schools looking to infuse more movement into every facet of the school day.
Physical Activity Design Guidelines for School Architecture is a practical tool that provides architects, designers, school planners, educators, and public health professionals with strategies for making K-12 school environments conducive to healthy physical activity. The design guidelines include specific strategies in 10 school design domains that support active school communities and enable students to adopt healthier physical activity behaviors.
From Amazon’s website: In The Power of a Plant, globally acclaimed teacher and self-proclaimed CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) Stephen Ritz shows you how, in one of the nation’s poorest communities, his students thrive in school and in life by growing, cooking, eating, and sharing the bounty of their green classroom.
What if we taught students that they have as much potential as a seed? That in the right conditions, they can grow into something great?
These are the questions that Stephen Ritz―who became a teacher more than 30 years ago―sought to answer in 2004 in a South Bronx high school plagued by rampant crime and a dismal graduation rate. After what can only be defined as a cosmic experience when a flower broke up a fight in his classroom, he saw a way to start tackling his school’s problems: plants. He flipped his curriculum to integrate gardening as an entry point for all learning and inadvertently created an international phenomenon. As Ritz likes to say, “Fifty thousand pounds of vegetables later, my favorite crop is organically grown citizens who are growing and eating themselves into good health and amazing opportunities.”
The Power of a Plant tells the story of a green teacher from the Bronx who let one idea germinate into a movement and changed his students’ lives by learning alongside them. Since greening his curriculum, Ritz has seen near-perfect attendance and graduation rates, dramatically increased passing rates on state exams, and behavioral incidents slashed in half. In the poorest congressional district in America, he has helped create 2,200 local jobs and built farms and gardens while changing landscapes and mindsets for residents, students, and colleagues. Along the way, Ritz lost more than 100 pounds by eating the food that he and his students grow in school. The Power of a Plant is his story of hope, resilience, regeneration, and optimism.
Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Developed by classroom teachers, this approach gives K-8 educators the skills they need to help students build academic and social-emotional competencies. Visit their website to learn more about the broad array of consulting services and professional development opportunities they offer, including one-day and multi-day workshops; on-site, whole school professional development and consultation; teacher certification; and free online resources.
School Food Focus is a national collaborative that is igniting change in school food systems by connecting districts and food businesses across the supply chain to put healthy meals on kids’ school plates. The organization supports school food leaders with tools and resources to build demand for healthy food, including fact sheets, case studies, tips, and a tool kit that can be found on their website.
SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let’s Move! Active Schools, and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.
SHAPE America has developed guidelines for physical activity and physical education in schools, and their National Standards for K-12 Physical Education serve as a foundation for physical education programs across the country. You can access both standards and guidelines on their website, in addition to helpful resources, tools, and professional development opportunities to help make physical activity a core component at your school.
This guidebook, a project of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy, demonstrates how to use systems concepts and tools to apply systems thinking to environmental education curricula using lessons from Project WILD, Project WET, and Project Learning Tree for grades 9-12.
The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school. Their website contains information on what is a trauma-sensitive school, as well as resources, research, and guidelines for creating and advocating for trauma-sensitive school environments.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides tips, resources, and case studies to assist schools in creating and/or strengthening wellness policies. A model wellness policy is available to download and adapt to meet your school’s unique needs.
Grants and Awards
The Chef Ann Foundation has teamed up with Skoop, a performance nutrition brand, to launch Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools. These $2,500 grants help schools increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and veggies and nutrition education. Any district or independent school that participates in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply. Grants are determined on an ongoing basis depending on available funding. More information about grant requirements and submitting a proposal can be found on their website.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini Grant Program was established to provide accessible funds to schools, organizations, and agencies for pre-K-12 Environmental Education to educate students about their local watersheds and how they can become environmental stewards and make a difference in watershed health. To accomplish this goal the program supports meaningful outdoor learning experiences around a watershed issue investigation including field trips, fieldwork, student-led action projects, and schoolyard habitat projects as well as building teacher capacity to implement environmental education including professional development trainings and programs to advance environmental literacy in the Chesapeake Bay region. Up to $5,000 will be awarded to projects in Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, or the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Due to high demand for field trips and other school-related requests, the Trust offers two Mini Grant Environmental Education deadlines: August 4, 2017 and January 12, 2018. The Trust will not accept applications after 5pm on the day of the deadlines.
FirstEnergy proudly supports classroom projects and teacher professional development initiatives focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). One of the ways they support these activities is by offering STEM education grants of up to $1,000 to educators at schools and youth groups in communities served by its electric operating companies, other areas where they have facilities, and where they do business. More than 1,000 educators and youth group leaders have received classroom grants since the program began during the 1986-87 school year. Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are now available and must be submitted by September 22, 2017.
GetEdFunding is a curated collection of grants and awards created by education professionals for education professionals. Its database was designed to be easy-to-use and reliable, and all grant and funding opportunities are updated daily. Users can search by six criteria, including 43 areas of focus, 8 content areas, and 14 twenty-first century themes and skills, including environmental literacy. Once registered on the site, users can save grants of interest and return to them at any time.
Do you teach in an elementary school classroom? Do you have an innovative idea for improving math or science instruction in your classroom? Is your idea project-based learning with measurable outcomes? What do you need to make learning math and science fun for your students?
K-5 teachers are invited to apply online for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. With a Toshiba America Foundation grant, elementary teachers can bring their best new teaching ideas to life.
Grant applications are due on October 1st each year.
Grants are also available for teachers in grades 6-12 who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Applications for grants less than $5,000 are accepted at any time. For grant requests of more than $5,000, application deadlines are February 1 and August 1 (or first business day of February and August).
Voya Foundation grants are focused on Financial Resilience. We work to ensure that youth are equipped with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expertise and the financial knowledge necessary to compete in the 21st century workforce and make smart financial decisions that lead to a secure retirement.
We accomplish this by accepting year-round grant applications from organizations that:
- Provide innovative and experiential K-8 STEM learning opportunities to promote an early interest in STEM career fields, and improve teachers’ capabilities in STEM; or
- Provide financial education curriculum to grade 9-12 students focused on navigating major financial milestones including student debt, credit, home ownership, financial products and services/financial capability, and family needs.
Learn more about applying for a Voya Foundation Grant.