By. David DenHartog, Green Schools National Network

Inspired by Dr. Lisa Kensler’s book, Leadership for Green Schools (2018), a new online course dedicated to sustainability and green, healthy practices is being developed for K-12 school leaders. The course is being created in partnership with Green Schools National Network (GSNN) and Auburn University. Scheduled for launch in late spring 2019, the course will offer comprehensive direction and inspiration to innovative school leaders.

Recognizing that school leaders have full plates, integrating green, sustainable practices can seem overwhelming. Yet, we all know how imperative it is to accelerate green initiatives in schools. School leaders who are just getting started often have many questions. Where to start? What to emphasize? How to make this happen? These questions will be addressed by this course, looking at successful real-world examples while allowing for application to personal context.

The course consists of ten 60-minute modules, each filled with engaging content and personal connections. Dr. Kensler’s book, along with the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership, informed the course’s framework. GSNN, with their vast array of resources and example schools, designed the course to be practical and motivating. “Those that take this course will walk away with deep knowledge of sustainability for education, along with a synthesis of key next steps to put into action,” says GSNN Executive Director Jennifer Seydel.

Featured throughout the course’s modules are leaders from a variety of schools in GSNN’s Catalyst Network, front-runners in the field of education for sustainability nationwide. These leaders offer insight and personal examples, helping participants acknowledge success stories and acquire ideas of how to transfer successful practices. One featured leader is Geoff Deigan, Executive Director at Prairie Crossing Charter School. Deigan shares aspects of his expertise and offers, “Hopefully, leaders can take ideas from our school, embed their own twist locally, and along the way help us improve as well.” Recognizing that school improvement is an ongoing journey, the course is designed to help accelerate momentum, specifically in regard to becoming a model green, healthy school.

As participants make their way through the course, they will build a summary infographic that outlines a road map for integrating green and healthy practices into curriculum and instruction, school culture, and physical operations. Each module connects to one of these three broad areas, offering insight and opportunity for application. Participants will also design a “Green Keys” document that highlights core practices and intentions. All work is integrated into the modules and balances the immense amount of content available with the reality of a school leader’s full schedule.

Once launched, this online professional development course will be a great opportunity for any and all who intend to lead the charge in creating green, healthy, and sustainable schools. The asynchronous learning design allows participants to maneuver through the course at their own pace, aligning learning time with personal schedules. Ultimately, those who take the course will walk away with a deeper understanding of the green schools movement and the role they play, both on a personal and communal level. Stay tuned for more details and how to enroll later this spring.

Author Bio

David DenHartog is a consummate learner who has been leading education transformation for over two decades. Deeper learning has defined his educational journey, both personally and professionally. David spent over 10 years working with Expeditionary Learning (EL Education) both as a Principal and School Designer and continues to advocate for experiential education in his current role as Director of Innovative Learning for the Green Schools National Network. Energizing schools to further healthy, caring environments and building strong relationships and authentic connections while fostering curiosity and compassion fuel David’s ceaseless commitment to excellence in education and green initiatives.