Anisa Baldwin Metzger, Center for Green Schools Fellows Manager
Last month, more than 30 school district staff, consultants and volunteers from across the country came together at USGBC's National Headquarters for a training session with the newly appointed Center for Green Schools UTC Fellows.
The Fellowship program, in its inaugural year, provides school districts with a fully funded sustainability expert who collaborates with school district leadership on initiatives to make their schools healthier, more sustainable learning environments. This year's two fellows, Phoebe Beierle in the Boston Public School District and Farah McDill in Sacramento City Unified School District, kicked off their three-year fellowship with a national network of supportive leaders, passionately committed to a shared vision.
From the moment the group arrived, it was obvious that these were individuals dedicated to the mission of the fellowship program. Leith Sharp, Founding Director of Harvard University's Office of Sustainability, led the first day's discussions, supported by school district case study presentations from Virginia Beach City Schools, LA Unified School District and Portland Public Schools. The attendees were eager to share their struggles and triumphs with each other, and Ms. Sharp skillfully led a conversation that was insightful, practical and inspiring.
The program has already proven to be a competitive one. Invitations to apply to attend the Green Schools Fellowship Training were extended to a select group of individuals, both USGBC green schools advocates and Green Schools Fellowship applicant school districts, and nearly 50 applications were received. The resulting group was a great mixture of school district staff, with additional community and parent volunteers. Overall, the training for the Green Schools Fellows was a success. What began as an effort to support these individuals led to the discovery of a valuable network that the Center for Green Schools will utilize and expand in the coming years.