Since July 2011, the Center for Green Schools has been placing three-year sustainability Fellows in school districts with the help of corporate sponsors. We know that school districts are doing everything they can to provide their students with a quality education and a safe place to learn. With capital and operating budgets stretched thin, there are often more challenges than there are funds to address them.
In order to bring this program to selected school districts, the Center for Green Schools works with district leadership to find the funding to select, train and support their Green Schools Fellow. The program provides partner school districts with a dedicated, on-site expert who collaborates with leadership and staff to bring sustainable and environmentally responsible practices into schools.
Read on for a few answers to some of the frequently asked questions about this exciting and impactful program!
Which districts are eligible?
Districts must be able to demonstrate high-level commitment to healthy, high-performance schools through district policies, board resolutions, and other similar indicators. Districts must have specific suggestions for projects and initiatives on which district leadership would support and advance the Fellow’s work. Strong preference will be given to large, urban school districts in order to impact the greatest number of students. Preference will also be given to school districts that serve a high-need population.
How do we apply?
The Center for Green Schools accepts Letters of Interest from school districts on a rolling basis. Letters will be carefully reviewed by USGBC staff, and eligible school districts will be contacted for more information and clarifications. If an interested and eligible district is in a location not currently of interest to a funding partner, USGBC will work with the district regionally to locate a funding source for the following year. USGBC staff work hand-in-hand with chosen school districts to finalize the job description and workplan for the Fellow.
Can multiple school districts apply together?
School districts that would like to join together to apply for a Fellow can submit a Letter of Interest, signed by senior level officials from both or all districts, that includes additional information to explain the logistics of hosting the position between multiple districts. USGBC will need assurance that districts have a positive and productive history of working together. Issues such as where the Fellow’s office will be housed and how his or her time would be divided need to be addressed in the Letter of Interest.
What will USGBC provide?
For three years, the Center for Green Schools will provide an extensive training program for Fellows, including:
- Attendance at the annual School Sustainability Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
- Targeted professional development
- Bi-weekly conference calls with Center for Green Schools staff and other Fellows
- Individual check-in calls with Center for Green Schools staff
- Attendance at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo
- Attendance at local green building continuing education seminars and conferences
- Annual visits from Center for Green Schools staff to school district offices
The Center for Green Schools will employ the Fellow, providing full salary and benefits for two years. In the third year, employment will transfer to the school district, and the Center for Green Schools will provide funds to cover half of the Fellow’s salary. The training and travel program will remain fully funded during the third year.
What is the participating school district expected to provide?
The school district will be expected to provide an environment conducive to the work of the Fellow. High-level commitment to the goal of healthy, high-performance schools for every child is therefore essential. The school district will be expected to provide the Fellow office amenities such as a desk, phone, and supplies. It will also be asked to provide the Fellow a reasonable activities budget of $5000 per year to implement programs and invite participation among faculty, staff and students.
What kind of individuals will be accepted as Fellows? Can the individual already be a member of the school district staff?
Individual applicants to the Fellowship program are evaluated in a rigorous process that includes thorough reference check, judging of essay responses, and individual and group interviews. Preference is given to applications with a graduate degree in Organizational Sustainability, Environmental Science, the Building Sciences, Public Health or a related field; or equivalent, extensive, and relevant workplace experience. USGBC will pay for one district representative to travel to Washington, DC to participate in selection during the interview process.
Fellows are intended to provide additional support to districts. The funds allocated for the program are not meant to subsidize a position that may already exist in the school district. School districts that already have a Sustainability Officer are invited to apply to receive an additional sustainability leader to boost efforts already in place.
Will the Fellow hired have all the necessary screening to work in school district offices?
USGBC will work with the school district to screen all finalists in whatever manner required by the particular school district.
Who supervises the Fellow? Who determines Fellows’ working hours?
USGBC will draft an agreement with the school district that delineates the appropriate division of supervisory duties.
Can an underperforming Fellow be terminated?
If USGBC and the school district decide that the Fellow is not performing to the level expected of him or her, the Fellow will be terminated and another Fellow will be hired in his or her place. The hiring may be delayed to coincide with the Fellows’ training cycle.
We may have a local corporation or foundation interested in funding a Fellow for our school district specifically. Is that allowed, and how do we proceed?
Please contact the Green Schools Fellowship Manager, Anisa Baldwin Metzger, [email protected] if you speak with a company or organization that would like to fund this program at your district. We encourage school districts to seek local funding, and we will be happy to assist in the effort. We can provide informational materials, participate in discussions concerning the nature of the Fellows program, and aid in the process of securing a commitment from the funder. Each entity that funds a Fellowship is invited to specify regions or particular school districts for which the funds should be applied.