5 tips for putting together GSCE session proposals

Published on: 
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Phoebe Beierle

The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) is now accepting proposals for the 2020 conference, to be held in Portland, Oregon, March 2–4, 2020. Don’t forget to submit your education session proposal by Monday, July 22.

Check out these five helpful tips that may increase your submission’s chances of getting accepted into the program:

1. Look closely at the submission process.

Submitting a complete proposal is critical to being selected as part of the program. The requirements are well outlined in the submittal guide, and the online platform is straightforward to use. Keep in mind that a proposal cannot be submitted until each presenter logs into the submittal site to confirm their participation and enter personal details.

2. Understand the review criteria and the review process.

GSCE is committed to an open and democratic process that engages the green schools community and a broad range of GSCE stakeholders from start to finish. The Call for Proposals (CFP) is open to all professionals in green schools to submit content that aligns with the priorities and topics outlined in the Call for Proposals.

Additionally, the Call for Reviewers (CFR) is open for individuals to volunteer to review these proposals in exchange for continuing education credits and a discount on registration to the conference. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the review criteria to ensure a higher chance of your proposal being selected.

Once the CFP and CFR close, volunteer reviewers are assigned session proposals to grade based on a quantitative scale. Each proposal is reviewed by a minimum of seven different volunteers. Proposals with the highest average scores move on to the second round of review, which are evaluated by the Program Working Group (PWG). Members of the PWG meet in person and discuss each session for its quality and relevance. Then, they select the final sessions and divide them into tracks by theme.

3. Address a priority topic.

All education sessions must fall under one of these four broad subject areas:

  • Environmental Impact
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Environmental and Sustainability Literacy
  • Whole School/District Sustainability

For the 2020 conference, four new educational topic priorities have been added. Sessions that address one of the following topics will be awarded a bonus point during the review scoring process:

  • Equity and Diversity
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Climate Change Education
  • Student Leadership

4. Select the correct session type.

Make sure to select a proposal type that is a good fit for your session. These session types have been updated for GSCE 2020. Submissions may be docked points if reviewers believe there is not enough time or too much time for content to be presented.

One-hour breakout sessions: Green Schools in Practice

These sessions feature a small team of two or three presenters or facilitators, who work together to share replicable and actionable content with the attendees about a defined topic. At least one presenter from a school or school district should be included.

One-hour breakout sessions: Emerging Research and Concepts

These sessions feature a small team of researchers and/or subject matter experts describing recent research or important technical information. These sessions do not require the participation of a school or district representative.

Two-hour hands-on sessions

These sessions are fully hands-on, with an instructor or group of instructors guiding attendees through teaching methods, operational practices or sustainability actions that they may replicate in their district, school or classroom. Content should be action-oriented and focus on giving participants practice with processes, technology or concepts with which they may not yet be familiar. At least one presenter from a school or school district should be included.

5. Incorporate a diverse lineup of presenters.

Propose a group of presenters who represent diverse perspectives, and be sure to include at least one speaker from a school or school district. Submissions that bring together speakers from multiple organizations, or from multiple schools or school districts, often rate higher in the review process. We encourage student presenters in the cases where student leadership or work is being featured.

GSCE is also accepting workshop proposals.

If one to two hours is not enough for your education content, propose an innovative full- or half-day workshop. A workshop is a hands-on, in-depth participatory learning experience that provides attendees a unique experience with various green school topics. Workshops are typically hosted at an off-site location (school facility, nonprofit organization, etc.) that exemplifies the workshop topic put into practice.

Get started with your submission