On June 19, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council gathered leaders, stakeholders and advocates from 30 education-related organizations to envision a future in which students, educators and everyone who supports them are prepared for their role as global citizens. With generous support from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, attendees worked for seven straight hours to craft a shared vision for what success around sustainability education in the U.S. looks like, and proposed hundreds of recommendations, organized within eight strategic subsets, for the pathway to reach that desired future state.
Center Director Rachel Gutter at the June sustainability curriculum convening. Photo credit: Ana Ka'ahanui
Representing school districts, curriculum developers, technology vendors, publishers, research institutes and sustainability champions, the group reached consensus around the case for rapidly increasing the presence of sustainability themes in K-12 education. Inspired by a paradigm in which education builds and strengthens bridges between students, schools and communities; where students and educators work together on authentic problem solving; and student performance is improved in the classroom and beyond, the collaborative set its sight on a future in which all K-12 students graduate literate and equipped to make decisions in the “4Es:” environment, economy, equity and ethics. Looking to past education and sustainability turning points for insight on the path forward, attendees agreed that in order to reach this vision, a cross-sector collaborative should lead the charge to build capacity and integration across these subsets:
- Economic drivers
- Integrated content/curriculum
- Pre-service teacher education
- Professional development
- Public awareness
- Student assessment
- Teacher evaluation
We are incredibly grateful for the individuals who joined us in Washington, D.C. this month who committed to collectively advancing this incredibly important work. The Center for Green Schools will continue its role as convener, engaging new and existing audiences to transform our schools into high-performing places, inside and out.
Attendees on June 19 represented a slice of all stakeholders, and though tremendous progress was made, we want to hear more! Through this blog and the comment function, we will collect additional feedback on all elements of the national action plan over the next 4-6 weeks in order to ensure that this plan represents the deep wisdom, experience and intentions of stakeholders across the country. This fall, again with the support of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and with contributions from experts in the field, the Center for Green Schools will publish the national action plan as a result of the June convening, public comment and additional research and collaboration.
On July 8, we’ll look for your feedback on the draft vision statement and sub-categories introduced above. After collecting and synthesizing your input, we will issue the revised vision and categories. We’ll use the same process for coming to consensus around the national action plan recommendations and the national action plan itself.
Please visit the official national action plan public comment page at centerforgreenschools.org/nationalactionplan over the coming weeks to weigh in on draft content. Be sure to share the page with your networks as well!