Happy New Year! I always look forward to the opportunities a New Year presents and 2016 has me excited for the possibilities that lie ahead. Green Schools National Network (GSNN) is starting down a new path this year in advancing the green schools movement. One of our key initiatives is the establishment of a formal network of schools and school districts to enable the sharing of best practices and ideas around green, healthy, and sustainable schools. I am happy to announce that we have taken a small, but significant step forward.
The assessment model for sustainability education, as proposed in the National Action Plan for Sustainability Education (p.25), requires us to think beyond the current models of high stakes tests. It challenges us to consider the skills developed in problem solving, systems thinking, deep conceptual understanding, creativity, and innovation. It suggests that we reflect on how attitudes and values related to diversity in the human and earth community, conservation, and preservation help us make decisions and set priorities that will impact our future. In addition, it makes the case that the model must to be responsive to the needs of all students, particularly those from underrepresented groups who are most directly impacted by unsustainability.
As part of our new strategic plan, GSNN will lead an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of proficiency based assessments and student engaged assessment as they relate to graduating students who are both college and career ready AND who have the skills to co-create a sustainable future. We have invited 7 non-profit/university partners and 9 middle and high school partners from across the country to join us in this project!
In the coming year, we will launch numerous learning communities for schools and school districts that will allow us to better define how green, healthy, and sustainable schools are implementing student centered learning practices that support college and career readiness while also providing the foundation for sustainable citizenship. We have taken the first step on this journey…here’s to many successful steps ahead!
Happy New Year!