Professional Development

Be a Catalyst for Change…Become a Green Schools National Network Member

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.

Green Schools Conference and Expo

Early bird registration for the 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo is now open. Make plans now to join fellow green schools advocates in Denver, Colorado May 3 – 4, 2018 for the 8th annual conference and expo! Find registration packages and travel/hotel information here.

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

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.


Community Works Institute

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.

CWI is now offering super early bird rates for each of its 2018 summer institutes. Its East Institute will be held in Burlington, Vermont from June 25-29, and its West Institute will be held in Los Angeles, California from July 23-27. Visit the website to learn more about these professional development opportunities and to register. GSNN members receive a special discounted rate through December 20, 2017!


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.

We offer:

  • 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 to learn more.

EL Education Site Seminar at Evergreen Community Charter School

December 4 – 5, 2017

Asheville, North Carolina

During this 2-day Site Seminar, you will learn how Evergreen Community Charter School uses “The Natural World” design principle to connect core practices in the dimensions of Culture & Character and Curriculum. The seminar will emphasize Evergreen’s integration of environmental education through its learning expeditions, culture and values, use of school-wide initiatives and events, and use of its natural schoolyard environment.

Seminar includes:

  • Classroom visits highlighting EL Education curriculum practices
  • Workshops on designing expeditions with Common Core standards and dimensions of student achievement: Knowledge & Skills, Character, and High Quality Work
  • Focused discussion groups, including aligning EL Education, environmental education, social justice, and Common Core standards
  • Environmental education experiences that inspire ways to create outdoor learning spaces
  • Involvement in Evergreen’s Culture and Character traditions, including Crew and class meetings
  • Workshops on nurturing school culture and on using data, including student self-assessment, to support deeper learning
  • Conversations with parents about parent involvement, volunteerism, and sustaining school culture

Registration per Person

For schools in the EL Education Network: $450 payable to EL Education. Register online at

For schools NOT in the EL Network: $450 payable to Evergreen Community Charter School. Register by emailing

Detailed information on accommodations will be provided upon registration. The seminar includes lunch and snacks daily.

For more information, contact Marin Leroy, Environmental Education Coordinator at Evergreen Community Charter School by phone 828-298-2173 ext. 234 or email

Fullbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program provides funding for highly accomplished U.S. primary and secondary level teachers to take part in an intensive professional development program for three to six months abroad. Teachers of all subjects, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, curriculum heads, Talented and Gifted coordinators, Special Education coordinators, and media specialists/librarians may apply.

As part of the program, Fulbright Distinguished Teachers:

  • Design and carry out a capstone project overseas. Projects may relate to the teacher’s content area, curriculum development, educational policy, standards, or other key issues relevant to the home and host educational system abroad.
  • Study and observe international best practices in education.
  • Share professional expertise with educators and students in the host country.
  • Develop leadership skills and understanding of educational policy.
  • Enhance their ability to work in diverse and multicultural environments.

By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies, and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives.

Apply by December 13, 2017.


Green Schools Alliance

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.

Learn more about upcoming events and training programs.


Green Strides Webinar Series Calendar

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.

Green Teacher Webinar Series

Depaving: A New Way to Change Cities from Grey to Green

Presenter: Alix Taylor

Wednesday, Nov. 15th, 2017 7:30-8:30pm EST

There is a new movement afoot in communities across North America. Communities are coming together to remove unwanted pavement and create vibrant green spaces. The hands-on depaving process captures the hearts and energy of volunteers who work together to make schoolyards and neighbourhoods more livable and resilient. In her presentation, Alix will tell us more about the depave movement, and indicate what one needs to get involved in this important greening initiative.

Knowles Teaching Fellows Program

The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) was established in 1999 to increase the number of high-quality high school science and mathematics teachers with the ultimate goal of improving STEM education in the United States. The Knowles Teaching Fellows Program, the Foundation’s signature program, one of the most comprehensive fellowship programs in the nation for mathematics and science teachers starting their first or second year of teaching. During the five-year program, Fellows receive professional development from experienced educators and financial support for professional development, classroom materials, and more. Applications for 2018 Teaching Fellowships are due November 26, 2017 at 11:59pm PST.


National Farm to Cafeteria Conference – Save the Date

The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held April 26-27, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event convenes stakeholders engaged in farm to cafeteria activities who are working to source local food and promote a culture of food and agricultural literacy across the country. Registration will open in January 2018. Check for updates.

NOAA Teacher at Sea Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Teacher at Sea Program provides teachers with hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea with world-renowned NOAA scientists, thereby giving them unique insight into oceanic and atmospheric research crucial to the nation. The program provides a unique opportunity for kindergarten through college-level teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships to work under the tutelage of scientists and crew.

Since its inception in 1990, NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program has enabled nearly 700 teachers to gain first-hand experience of science and life at sea. By participating in this program, teachers profoundly enrich their classroom curricula, enhance their approaches to teaching science, and engage their local community with knowledge that can only be gained by living and working side-by-side, day and night, with scientists who contribute to the world’s oceanic and atmospheric scientific research.

Applications are now being accepted for their 2018 season. Learn more about the program, eligibility, and how to apply here. The deadline to submit applications is November 30, 2017.

Ocean Exploration Trust Fellowship

The Ocean Exploration Trust’s Science Communication Fellowship Program immerses formal and non-formal educators in the Nautilus Corps of Exploration and empowers them to bring ocean exploration – specifically in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – to a global audience via the Nautilus Live website. Science Communication Fellows bring their expedition experience back to their own classrooms, organizations, and communities in the form of engaging lesson plans and activities centered around their time at sea aboard Nautilus and other vessels. Applications are due January 15, 2018.

Shelburne Farms 

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.

Upcoming Programming

ABCs of Farm-Based Education March 2018

March 9 – 11, 2018

Are you looking to build a farm-based education program, or inspire your existing programming? At this workshop, you will fill your toolbox with kid-tested, educator approved activities, as you join a community of peers from around the region. Spend three days in hands-on, discussion and activity-based learning and explore Shelburne Farms’ dairy, farmyard, garden, and forest classrooms. Experience activities from Shelburne Farms’ publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder as we discuss ways to engage school groups and farm visitors. In addition to activity sharing and program development, we will discuss tips for creating a safe learning environment and will have ample time for getting to know one another and our respective farm-based education sites. Learn more and register here.

Teach Earth Fellowship from Earthwatch Institute

Teach Earth is built upon the principle that every individual can contribute to a sustainable planet, regardless of scientific background or skill. Each year, Earthwatch Institute selects talented teachers from all subject areas to participate in a 7-14 day immersive learning experience, working side by side with world-class scientists on field research expeditions around the world. From the edge of the Arctic to the coast of Maine, these teachers collect data on climate change, ecology, wildlife, and more. Teachers have an opportunity to learn the scientific process first hand and help to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Teachers return to the classroom with new perspectives and knowledge, invigorated and inspired to share the experience of real discovery with their students.

Visit Earthwatch’s Institute website to learn more about qualifications and award details and to fill out an interest form. The 2018 Fellowship Application period runs from September 25, 2017 to January 8, 2018.

General Resources

Experiential Tools: Resources for Teaching and Group Facilitation

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 

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
  • Interconnectedness
  • 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.

Grades of Green

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.

Learning Lab

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.

Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment: School Chemical Cleanout Campaign Toolkit

Schools using chemicals in their curriculum need to ensure that students, staff, and teachers are safe. This toolkit offers numerous resources on how to conduct an inventory of stored chemicals as well as safely store and dispose of hazardous chemicals; a list of chemicals that should never be purchased; and how to develop a long-term chemical safety plan. Additional state resources, videos, state-by-state legal considerations, and helpful forms (e.g., inventory including hazardous chemicals) are also included in the toolkit.

Real World Design Challenge

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams address a challenge that confronts our nation’s leading industries. Students utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. RWDC provides students with opportunities to apply classroom lessons to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace.

Registration is open until November 17, 2017. Students on the national winning team will receive $50,000 scholarships from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Culture of Sustainability Resources

ASCD School Culture and Climate Resources

ASCD has compiled a listing of articles, books, webinars, online courses, and videos covering a range of school culture and climate topics. is an organization of passionate people advocating for integrity, honesty, respect, and other core ethical values to be fused into education for the betterment of our nation. They offer an evidence-based framework for implementing and evaluating character development through their 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. On their website, you will find resources on key topics like service learning and school climate; lesson plans and best practices; training opportunities; and information on their Schools of Character program.

Developing and Assessing School Culture: A New Level of Accountability for Schools

This white paper from the Character Education Partnership serves as a call to action for building positive school cultures. It cites findings from recent research and case studies, defines the attributes that make up a positive school culture, and identifies three conditions for building positive school culture.

The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus

From MIT Press (note: much of the information in this book can be translated and applied in K-12 schools): Colleges and universities offer our best hope for raising awareness about the climate crisis and the other environmental threats. But most college and university administrations need guidance on the path to sustainability. In The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, Mitchell Thomashow, a former college president, provides just that. Drawing on his experiences at Unity College in Maine, he identifies nine elements for a sustainability agenda: energy, food, and materials (aspects of infrastructure); governance, investment, and wellness (aspects of community); and curriculum, interpretation, and aesthetics (aspects of learning). He then describes how Unity put these elements into practice. Connecting his experiences to broader concerns, Thomashow links the campus to the planet, reminding us that local efforts, taken together, can have a global impact.

School Culture Recharged: Strategies to Energize Your Staff and Culture

From ASCD’s website: Why do some schools succeed while others struggle? Why do policies and programs often fail to deliver what they promise? In this follow-up to their insightful School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It, authors Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker offer practical advice and strategies that help you build positive energy to reinvigorate your school’s culture and staff.

Written as a standalone guide, School Culture Recharged clarifies the difference between culture and climate and zeroes in on key school improvement efforts, including

  • Moving from the culture you have to the culture you want;
  • Using the school’s culture to improve teaching, job satisfaction, and morale;
  • Maximizing the intentions of professional learning communities; and
  • Developing organizational habits—rules and rituals—that can contribute to positive change.

For education leaders at all levels, this book delivers a compelling message: Understanding and harnessing the transformative power of school culture can propel your school into the kind of place where teachers want to work, administrators can focus on what matters most, and students can thrive.

School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It

From ASCD’s website: Your school is a lot more than a center of student learning—it also represents a self-contained culture, with traditions and expectations that reflect its unique mission and demographics.

In this groundbreaking book, education experts Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker offer tools, strategies, and advice for defining, assessing, and ultimately transforming your school’s culture into one that is positive, forward-looking, and actively working to enrich students’ lives.

Drawing from decades of research on organizational cultures and school leadership, the authors provide everything you need to optimize both the culture and climate of your school, including

  • “Culture-busting” strategies to help teachers adopt positive attitudes, outlooks, and behaviors;
  • A framework for pinpointing the type of culture you have, the type that you want, and the actions you need to take to bridge the two;
  • Tips for hiring, training, and retaining teachers who will actively work to improve your school’s culture; and
  • Instructions on how to create and implement a successful School Culture Rewiring Team.

Though often invisible to the naked eye, a school’s culture influences everything that takes place under its roof.

Whether your school is urban or rural, prosperous or struggling, School Culture Rewired is the ultimate guide to making sure that the culture in your school is guided first and foremost by what’s best for your students.

Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education

From A unique collaboration between the celebrated management thinker and Fifth Discipline author Peter Senge and a team of renowned educators and organizational change leaders, Schools that Learn describes how schools can adapt, grow, and change in the face of the demands and challenges of our society, and provides tools, techniques, and references for bringing those aspirations to life.

The new revised and updated edition offers practical advice for overcoming the many challenges that face our communities and educational systems today. It shows teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members how to successfully use principles of organizational learning, including systems thinking and shared vision, to address the challenges that face our nation’s schools. In a fast-changing world where school populations are increasingly diverse, children live in ever-more-complex social and media environments, standardized tests are applied as overly simplistic “quick fixes,” and advances in science and technology continue to accelerate, the pressures on our educational system are inescapable. Schools That Learn offers a much-needed way to open dialogue about these problems – and provides pragmatic opportunities to transform school systems into learning organizations.

Drawing on observations and advice from more than 70 writers and experts on schools and education, this book features:

  • Methods for implementing organizational learning and explanations of why they work
  • Compelling stories and anecdotes from the “field” –  classrooms, schools, and communities
  • Charts, tables, and diagrams to illustrate systems thinking and other practices
  • Guiding principles for how to apply innovative practices in all types of school systems
  • Individual exercises useful for both teachers and students
  • Team exercises to foster communication within the classroom, school, or community group
  • New essays on topics like educating for sustainability, systems thinking in the classroom, and “the great game of high school.”
  • New recommendations for related books, articles, videotapes, and web sites
  • And more


Schools That Learn is the essential guide for anyone who cares about the future of education and keeping our nation’s schools competitive in our fast-changing world.

Sustainable Schools Project Tools and Resources

A program of Shelburne Farms, the Sustainable Schools Project works with schools to cultivate responsible, informed citizens who are engaged in building sustainable communities. The Project’s tools and resources webpage includes numerous resources related to education for sustainability, best practices, curricular examples, and a listing of partner organizations with complementary resources (including several GSNN partners!).

Grants and Awards

2018 KidsGardening Youth Garden Grants

Since 1982, KidsGardening has awarded Youth Garden Grants to 5456 schools, nonprofits, and youth programs across the United States contributing over 2.9 million dollars in funding to youth gardening initiatives.

The 2018 KidsGardening Youth Garden Grant is designed to support school and youth educational garden projects that enhance the quality of life for students and their communities. Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. Twenty-five (25) programs will be awarded grant packages and become members of the KidsGardening Fellows Program, receiving opportunities to promote their programs, network with other grant winners, and seek personalized guidance from KidsGardening education specialists. Winners are selected based on demonstrated program impact and sustainability.

Applications for 2018 KidsGardening Youth Garden Grants must be submitted by December 8, 2017.

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants

The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years. The Foundation has funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youth around the world – actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of environmental stewards and change-agents.

ecoSolution Grants range from $500-$2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. Visit the website to learn more about eligibility and restrictions, and to fill out an application.  The next deadline for applications is January 31, 2018.

FY18 USDA Farm to School Grants

The purpose of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. For FY2018, USDA offers the following grants:

  • Implementation grants are intended to help schools, school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts to scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Implementation awards range from $50,000 – $100,000.
  • Planning grants are for schools or school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts that are just getting started on farm to school activities. These funds are intended to help these entities organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by embedding known best practices into early design considerations. Planning awards range from $20,000 – $50,000.
  • Training grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities to support trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains or trainings that provide technical assistance in the areas of local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and/or integration of agriculture‐based curriculum. Training awards range from $20,000 – $50,000.

Deadline for application submissions is December 8, 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.


NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Program 

Shell and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have partnered to recognize outstanding middle and high school programs for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction utilizing limited school and laboratory resources. The Shell Science Lab Challenge showcases the work of teachers who submit innovative, replicable strategies to deliver quality lab experiences with limited equipment/resources, and award teachers/schools with additional tools, resources, and rich professional development opportunities needed to support high-quality science teaching and strengthen their existing capabilities. To be eligible:

  • Applicants may be individual teachers or teams of teachers of science in grades 6-12, in the United States and Canada, representing their schools.
  • A teacher is limited to one application per year (whether submitting as an individual or team applicant).
  • A school may submit an unlimited number of applications.

The Shell Science Lab Challenge national winners will be honored during a black-tie dinner gala on March 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. The grand prize winner will receive a lab makeover support package valued at $20,000.

Applications are due by 11:59PM EST on December 15, 2017 via online submission.