Solution Summits at the 2016 Green Schools Conference and Expo

Published on: 
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Amanda Sawit

This year’s Green Schools Conference and Expo features Solution Summits to foster meaningful dialogue, with a goal of generating ideas to actualize our collective vision of green schools for all within this generation. The summits will take place concurrently on Thursday, March 31, 2016 from 2:00–4:00 p.m. 

Register for the Solution Summits

Developing a Health Research Agenda

In 2006, the National Academies published a paper called “Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning,” which laid the foundation for some of the most impactful research on school health. In 2011, the Center for Green Schools co-published an update. Now is the time to revisit those findings and identify focus areas to inform research for the next decade and beyond. Participants will join the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, the Center for Green Schools and the AIA Committee on Architecture and Education for a discussion about trends and research. Conversation will be informed by a school health research update from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. Results of the discussion will be incorporated into a forthcoming research agenda for healthy schools. 

Measuring Our Impact

For organizations and school leaders working toward greener schools, success is typically evaluated through a wide variety of input-, action- and outcome-based measures. In 2015, 67 organizations and school districts throughout the United States pledged to come to a consensus on straightforward, standardized measures of success to enable focused investment, improved engagement and community action. Thousands of framework elements and questions were analyzed and compared to research on school buildings’ impacts on humans and the environment. The intent of this collective work is to compile critical outcomes that should be measured in the nation’s school environments. This summit is an opportunity to join the effort by contributing thoughts and opinions during a guided forum.

Planning and Executing Your High-Impact Green Schools Project

This summit is designed for green schools champions looking for resources and tools to help create the next high-impact school improvement project. Launched in 2012, the Center for Green Schools’ Green Apple initiative provides an easy-to-deploy framework for planning and executing sustainability projects at schools worldwide. In the last three years, the Green Apple Day of Service has inspired more than 12,000 projects, commitments and events in 73 countries and all 50 U.S. states, engaging more than 700,000 volunteers. Collectively, these efforts have affected more than 7 million students worldwide. Participants in this solution summit will share their own experiences and learn hands-on skills to implement volunteer projects to support green schools. 

Advocate Coalitions

Successful advocate coalitions in local and regional communities around the world are typically made up of both individuals and organizations, working to advance the shared goal of green schools within this generation. While united in this common mission, each coalition draws upon its unique strengths, relationships and opportunities to advance green schools. Informed by a deep understanding of the needs of their respective communities, advocate coalitions advance commitments, organize service projects and serve as advocates and advisors. This summit will focus on the necessary steps to initiate, launch and maintain coalitions and the specific resources that exist to support this local and regional action. Discussion will be facilitated by the Center for Green Schools, with support from successful coalition leaders. 

Best Practices in Environmental and Sustainability Literacy

This summit is an opportunity for teachers, school leaders, scholars and students to report on the most effective strategies and tactics for getting students closer to environmental and sustainability literacy. Working in small groups, attendees will share what they see working (and not working) in schools that are implementing efforts to that end. Equipped with a basic briefing on existing frameworks and their associated research, attendees will identify and deconstruct the practices, principles and projects they know are having a positive outcome on students. Results of this session will contribute to an ongoing effort across the green schools movement to define common measures of success, and ultimately, provide resources for schools to adopt, prepare, implement and measure effective programs.