The Green Schools Conference and Expo is coming up! From March 21–22, education, facilities and green building leaders and advocates will gather in Atlanta, Georgia, for professional development, networking and advancement of the green schools movement.
Here are the top five reasons to come to GSCE 2017, broken down for educators, administrators and facilities and building professionals:
- Get ideas for how to make the outdoors your classroom. Learn how you can develop a sense of place for your students in nature, using natural resources and sustainability to teach science and writing. Come away with a toolkit of new teaching habits that are designed to immerse your students in the natural world.
- Tackle the challenge of helping students to apply new concepts. Hear ideas on how to use data to empower student action, and learn how to craft projects that engage students in the concepts of sustainability and stewardship to the environment and their communities.
- Explore how to address math and literacy standards while exposing students to nutritious eating habits with a food preparation and taste test. Strategize ways to make lessons in gardening, the environment and nutrition relevant to students of all levels, and come away equipped with a model lesson that can be calibrated to fit your students.
- Maximize student engagement by using the context of the entire school environment and community at large. Break down the barriers and receive direct instruction in how to make sustainability cross-curricular, student-centered and empowering and fun for learners of all ages.
- Learn to use Visible Thinking Routines and Human-Centered Design to create a mindset of sustainability in your school community. Actively participate in sample activities you can replicate in your own classroom, and collaborate with others in your content area to brainstorm resources and best practices. Problem-solve obstacles you face within your professional learning community, such as time restraints, siloed curricula and the focus on high-stakes testing.
- Go beyond “buy-in” to integrate sustainability with all of your faculty and staff. Learn from experts who have defined an evidence-based professional learning framework that addresses shifting culture and teaching practice through effective, ongoing relationships. Explore how to grapple with the challenges of integrating education for sustainability within the constantly shifting landscape of education standards and with diverse opinions about the value of sustainability integration in our public schools.
- Acquire insight and key lessons in expanding administrative policies regarding wellness and sustainability using the framework of the WELL Building Standard to inform decisions geared at optimizing classrooms to address health, comfort and facilitate learning.
- Learn how to leverage space as the “third teacher” to positively influence the physical, mental and emotional health of students. Hear from experts about the architectural concepts that emphasize quality light, color, materials and acoustics, which reflect the growing national priority to plan and design high-performance school environments.
- Hear what it takes to build successful school–community partnerships to lead a school toward sustainability. Learn how to develop strong guiding principles that help all stakeholders filter important information, discuss options and consider educational models to support the best interest of the community.
- Better understand the innovation that happens when curriculum- and facilities-related decisions are integrated to promote sustainability. Explore a clear pathway for achieving a powerful level of collaborative leadership within a school district. Learn about educational leadership approaches and strategic partnerships that can reinforce school culture and practices that are in alignment with sustainability. Develop systems of measurement and evaluation to ensure desired educational and sustainability outcomes.
Facilities and building professionals:
- Embrace lessons learned by other school districts around strategic energy management. Learn to track data and take on financing challenges, behavior change, and community engagement in your school or district.
- Gain insight into school recycling, composting and other waste management efforts from the custodial perspective, including challenges that arise from the various circumstances facing facilities across the country, and learn how to implement an effective district waste management program.
- Learn how to optimize the connection between energy efficiency, student behavior and hands-on education, focusing on how to balance school population growth with energy demands in a way that engages students and is cost-effective and sustainable.
- Learn to tackle some of the greatest roadblocks to innovative school construction: mixing public and private funding, working within public school regulatory environments, balancing participatory design and the realities of getting a building constructed by looking at the whole campus rather than a single building as the organizing focus, and implementing “bleeding edge” construction technologies that are new even to construction partners.
- Learn how to work in tandem with school food professionals to reduce waste and associated costs. Explore examples of programs for reduction, recovery and recycling and the positive impact these programs have. Discuss how to reduce costs and the environmental impact of handling food and packaging throughout the full cycle of feeding children in school.