Professional Development


Save the Date!

The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) is coming to Atlanta in 2017.

Submit a proposal to present at the largest gathering of K-12 green schools advocates in the country.

GSCE is now accepting proposals from industry experts including educators, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and corporate entities who are eager to share their knowledge, experience, and efforts to create green, healthy, sustainable teaching and learning environments.

Green Schools Conference and Expo
March 21–22, 2017
Atlanta, Georgia

The deadline for submissions is Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. ET. View the Call for Proposals Document, Submittal Guide, and Program Policies to learn more.


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, 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.


2016 Cornell Systems Thinking Symposium 

Green Schools National Network is proud to cosponsor the 2016 Cornell Systems Thinking Symposium, held December 6, 2016 on the Cornell University campus (limited seating available).  The event will also be live steamed for those who cannot attend in-person.

The 2016 symposium will focus on the application of the fourth wave of systems thinking to a diverse set of critical problems, with special attention devoted to complex problems in both public policy and water.

The symposium’s unique format features impactful 10-minute TED-style talks and award-winning multi-media content. The symposium combines academics with seasoned practitioners working on complex problems to discuss their experiences applying the 4th wave of systems thinking (DSRP). After a keynote presentation by Cornell faculty and systems theorist Derek Cabrera, the 7 recipients of the 2016 USDA ThinkWater Fellowship will explain how the application of DSRP has influenced their ongoing doctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty research. In addition, top graduate students from the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs will present the results of applying DSRP to the public policy challenges they study. In the afternoon, a variety of expert practitioners in their field—from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Department of State to Coordinator of Arizona Project Wet (youth environmental education programming) to Extension-based outreach coordinators to leaders in water research and policy at the state and national level—will share their insights from applying systems thinking in their work.

Visit the website to learn more and register.


Citizen Science Association 2017 Conference 

The 2017 Citizen Science Association Conference will be held May 17-20 in St.Paul, Minnesota.  The conference provides a venue for citizen science researchers, practitioners, community members, and theorists to come together and share knowledge and best practices in the interest of advancing the field of citizen science.  Educators engaging in citizen science in their classroom are encouraged to attend and take advantage of the workshops, events, and networking opportunities offered during the conference. More information about registration, hotels, and travel can be found on the conference’s website.


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 trainings, 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 2017 summer institutes.  Its East Institute will be held in Burlington, Vermont from June 19-23, and its West Institute will be held in Los Angeles, California from July 24-28.  Visit the website to learn more about these professional development opportunities and to register.


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 1, 2016.


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.

All of the Alliance’s 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.


Shelbourne 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.

Shelbourne 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.  Shelbourne Farms offers a variety of experiences that inspire deep connections to community, and a commitment to a healthy future.

Shelbourne Farms has a new e-book, Educating for Sustainability: Case Studies from the Field, PreK-12.  Featuring nine case studies, the book sheds light on promising practices in Educating for Sustainability and offers a compelling vision of what education can be: a pathway to create healthy and just communities, successful lives, and a more livable world.

Learn more about the e-book in this blog post.


Teach Earth Educator Fellowships 

Teach Earth is built upon the principle that every individual can contribute to a sustainable planet, regardless of scientific background or skill. Each year, talented teachers are chosen from all subject areas to work 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 the 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.

A Teach Earth Fellowship includes the full cost of your assigned expedition, including meals, accommodations, and on-site transportation. Fellows also receive a travel award grant to offset out-of-pocket travel expenses to and from the expedition site. Travel award value varies by project location.

After completing an interest form, qualified teachers will be invited to apply by December 18, 2016.




Beyond Benign 

Beyond Benign is a nonprofit that is dedicated to providing future and current scientists, educators, and citizens with the tools to teach and learn about green chemistry to create a sustainable future.  The organization offers professional development, education, and online training for educators to teach them about green chemistry and how to implement it in their classrooms.  Educators can access and download a variety of materials from Beyond Benign’s website including curricular materials for middle and high school classrooms.


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.


Healthy Schools Campaign’s Green Clean Schools 

The Healthy Schools Campaign’s (HSC) Green Clean Schools web portal is the place for all things green cleaning. It brings together practical information and easy-to-use resources from HSC’s multi-faceted strategy to support green, sustainable school cleaning programs nationwide.

This website builds on the tremendous success of HSC’s Quick + Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools, first released in 2006. In addition to the Five Simple Steps to Green Cleaning popularized by the guide, this web portal highlights a strategic approach to policy change and the power of recognizing successful green cleaning programs.

Resources include videos, green cleaning guides, a green clean product directory, and information on policy, recognition, and third party certification.


Healthy Schools Network’s Green Cleaning Resources 

Healthy Schools Network has assembled a toolkit on green cleaning for healthy schools.  The toolkit includes posters, webinars, tip sheets, and check lists to help your school start and maintain a green cleaning program, as well as learn more about how green cleaning can help reduce air pollutants, chemical exposures, and asthma and promote better attendance and student achievement.


ISSA Clean Standard: K-12 Schools

 The ISSA Clean Standard: K-12 Schools establishes a framework to help schools objectively assess the effectiveness of the cleaning process at their facilities, thereby contributing to the quality of the indoor environment for the benefit of students and staff. Based on the philosophy of “Clean, Measure, Monitor” and an emphasis on high-performance cleaning, the Clean Standard: K-12 focuses on:

  • The desired levels of cleanliness that can reasonably be achieved;
  • Recommended monitoring and inspection procedures to measure the effectiveness of cleaning; and
  • How to use the measurement and inspection results to assess and improve cleaning processes and products, ultimately resulting in a clean, healthy, and safe learning environment.


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.


School Cafeteria Discard Assessment Project 

The School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP) was developed by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) – in collaboration with the School Nutrition Foundation – to quantify both food waste and related wastes (eg. recyclables, to landfill) generated in cafeterias at K-12 schools nationally. The project aims to gather information regarding the quantity of waste generated in school cafeterias and obtain an understanding of how this waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away.

Would you be willing to help? We are looking for trendsetters who want to make the environment cleaner and greener while at the same time educating students.  Your participation will help guide policy and future initiatives to minimize waste generation and maximize sustainability for schools across the nation.  Specifically, we need elementary, middle, high schools and combined schools (eg. private, charter) to participate in the program.

Watch this short video to learn more about the SCrAP Program and visit the website to register your school.  Participating schools can submit their questionnaires through the end of March 2017.




Captain Planet Foundation 

The Captain Planet Foundation is accepting the next round of applications for small grants totaling $500-$2500.  Grant activities must be project-based, performed by youth, and have 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, 2017.


EPA’s Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators 

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to honor, support, and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods.

  • Teacher awardees will receive a Presidential award plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further the recipient’s professional development in environmental education. Teacher awardees will also receive a congratulatory letter from a senior official from EPA and/or the White House.
  • The teacher’s local education agency will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs (and not for construction costs, general expenses, salaries, bonuses, or other administrative expenses).
  • Honorable Mention recipients will receive certificates of recognition.

Applications due March 1, 2017.


FY17 USDA Farm to School Grants 

In this funding cycle USDA anticipates awarding approximately $5 million in grant funding to support efforts that improve access to local foods in schools. Grant funds will be made available on a competitive basis, subject to availability of federal funds. Applicants may apply for a Planning grant, Implementation grant, Support Service grant, or Training grant. Planning grant awards will range from $20,000 – $45,000 and implementation grants and support service grant awards will range from $65,000 – $100,000. Funding for training grants is expected to range from $15,000-$50,000 and will be funded at the following levels:  state focused project awards will range from $15,000 to $25,000 and regionally / nationally focused project awards will range from $25,000 to $50,000. For all four types of grants, the federal share of a project cannot exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the project, as required by the HHFKA. Therefore, the applicant must provide at least 25 percent of the costs of the total project. The total project cost is the federal grant request amount plus the applicant match.

Learn more about the grant program here.  Deadline for application submissions is December 8, 2016.



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.


Honeybee Conservancy Sponsor-A-Hive Bee Grants 

The Honeybee Conservancy’s Sponsor-A-Hive program bestows beekeeping grants to help people safely set up, maintain, and observe on-site bee sanctuaries at schools, community gardens, and green spaces across the United States.  The program will bestow material grants in the form of honey bees, mason bees, and/or leafcutter bees; their homes; bee keeping equipment; and information on how to care for the bees.  Bees are strategically placed in locations where they can bolster bee populations, advance science and environmental education, and pollinate locally grown food.  Grants also provide a Sponsor-A-Hive Teacher’s Kit, which is full of lesson plans and worksheets to teach students more about their bee home. It is designed to build reading and science skills, raise environmental awareness, and empower students to help the bees.

The application deadline for 2017 Beekeeping Grants is November 11, 2016 at 5pm PST.


The NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership Grants

The NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership Grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes:

  • Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes, conferences, or action research.
  • Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff.

Grants awards are $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study.  Applications may be submitted anytime throughout the year and are reviewed three times a year, every year.  Deadlines for applications are February 1, June 1, and October 15.


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, representing their schools, 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 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California, 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 January 23, 2017.


Project Polar Bear Contest 

Project Polar Bear is an international competition between student groups taking action to fight climate change. With the guidance of an advisor, groups compete by creating a plan for a project that will help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and engage their communities. This can be a plan for a new project or a proposal to continue an existing project.

Students and advisors will track their progress throughout the competition through photos, research, and on social media. The culmination of the project is a formal proposal to the PBI judging team. The top three high-scoring teams will receive a grant of $1,000, $750, and $300, respectively, to continue their projects.

The contest is open to students 18 years of age or younger working in small teams or big groups. Each team must have an adult advisor, typically associated with a school, home school, zoo, museum, aquarium, science center, green club, or other-liked minded organization.

Registration for the current contest is October 1-November 25, 2016. Teams will work on their projects through March 15, 2017. Winners will be announced on April 21, 2017 in celebration of Earth Day.


The Shell Science Teaching Award 

A partnership between Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), this award recognizes one outstanding classroom teacher (grades K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and the community through exemplary science teaching.  The recipient of the Shell Science Teaching Award will receive $10,000, as well as an all-expense-paid trip (along with the two finalists) to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. All three will be honored at the Awards Banquet. The recipient will also be recognized at the Teacher Awards Banquet. The 10 semifinalists will receive certificates of distinction.  Completed applications must be received by January 6, 2017.