Since 2011, the Center for Green Schools (the Center) has managed and supported a growing network of K–12 school district sustainability staff from across the United States. Members of the School Sustainability Leaders Network, now over 200 strong, play an important role in working to transform their school systems to use resources more efficiently, foster healthy policies and practices and help students be environmentally literate when they graduate.
Sustainability staff act as connectors between departments and keepers of knowledge that draws the lines between building performance and health. Each one’s success on the job is crucial to the well-being of thousands of children and adults. Supporting these staff can support an entire system of positive action at a school district.
The Center facilitates a robust social network and offers professional development opportunities that have been designed with the unique needs of this group of changemakers in mind. Members of the network receive free support in various ways including annual in-person training events, competitive scholarship and fellowship positions, education through webcasts on best practices and daily connections and resource sharing through Yammer.
“I truly appreciate all that the Center For Green Schools has done for me over the past four years. The annual summit is the highlight of my year and where I do some of my best planning and program development. The Center staff have helped me grow as a sustainability professional in such significant ways, and the network I have been exposed to has been invaluable.“ —Gregory M. Sponseller, Jr., Sustainability Analyst, Horry County Schools
School Sustainability Leaders Network offerings
Green Schools Fellowship
Since 2011, the Green Schools Fellowship Program has been placing three-year sustainability directors in school districts to focus on resource consumption, green building, environmental health and more. This program helps school systems make the case, through proven results, for staff capacity to address sustainability. The Center is looking for donors to make new fellowship positions possible.
School District Scholarship
Existing school district staff who allocate at least 50 percent of their time to sustainability-related work are eligible to apply for an annual competitive School Sustainability Scholarship. Scholars receive all expense paid trips to three conferences, including Greenbuild, the Green Schools Conference and Expo and the School Sustainability Leaders Summit. Scholars also receive targeted education and professional support on a bimonthly basis.
The application period for the scholarship program is open each summer for two months. The online application is released through an article on the Center for Green Schools web site each year.
Annual School Sustainability Leaders Summit
Every year, network members gather in person for the annual School Sustainability Leaders Summit, which features 1.5 days of leadership development training and networking. This event provides a dedicated and supportive space for K–12 sustainability leaders to focus on bigger programming goals, gather best practices from their peers and engage in hands-on activities led by expert presenters. Hosted in conjunction with the Green Schools Conference and Expo, the summit takes place in new locations each spring.
Virtual learning and networking
On a regular basis, network members can take advantage of webcasts on topics such as reuse and repurposing of materials, electric school buses, teacher and custodial PD strategies and energy conservation.
Members stay in touch on a daily basis through a social networking platform called Yammer, where they can access the latest news, events and opportunities in the green schools industry. Members also use the platform to gather input and access resources from peers who are working on similar initiatives. Contact us to get connected to these learning and networking opportunities.
If you are involved in sustainability programming at a school or school district, we would love to hear from you and welcome you to join the School Sustainability Leaders Network!
We are also interested in hearing from you if you are interested in hosting a Green Schools Fellow or in supporting this network as a sponsor.
Contact us to get connected.