Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Similarly, investing in our schools yields dividends far beyond just the students who attend the school and the teachers and employees who work there. Making sure our educational institutions measure up to the kind of quality environment and education we want to provide for our children is a priority, and that means making the investments that will work towards making every school a green school.
The average public school building in the United States is over 40 years old, and many are much older. More than 15,000 of them have air that was deemed unsafe to breathe, leading to chronic conditions such as asthma and causing students to miss days in class.
There are many resources out there to help parents, teachers, administrators and communities to make upgrades and repairs that will improve learning, create local jobs and create tangible examples of how a cleaner economy will work for us.
Check out these great resources below to see how you can start making green schools work for your community:
Green Ribbon Schools
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition award honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), civic skills and green career pathways.
Center for Green Schools
U.S. Green Building Council
The Center for Green Schools works directly with teachers, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to create programs, resources and partnerships that transform all schools into healthy learning environments.
Green Apple Day of Service
The Center for Green Schools, U.S. Green Building Council
The Green Apple Day of Service, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects.
National Wildlife Federation
Started in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with support by the European Commission, Eco-Schools is now an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum.
Get started on the Seven Steps program today!
Building Minds, Minding Buildings
American Federation of Teachers
Launched in 2006, AFT’s “Building Minds, Minding Buildings” initiative recognizes that the school environment cannot be separated from the academic agenda, and high standards must be reflected not only in high quality teaching and a challenging curriculum, but also in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of our nation’s schools.
Learn more about this effort on their website.