Top 5 sessions for educators at the Green Schools Conference and Expo

Published on: 
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Kristen Keim

As the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality, the Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) offers a powerful opportunity for K–12 educators to learn to lead students in sustainability action and teach them important skills for the future.

At this year’s conference, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a diverse group of experts will be on hand to lead conversations on sustainability education and how we can empower students to investigate and create change. While there are over 20 education sessions on student action that are planned in the program, we’ve pulled out five that are sure to leave you inspired and ready for action:

Creating Natural Leaders

Monday, April 8, 1:15–2:15 p.m.

Prairie Crossing Charter School, consistently among the top 10 percent of schools in Illinois for academic performance, credits project-, problem- and place-based service learning as key to its students’ success. The school uses Education for Sustainability standards to build a culture of action to prepare students to become natural leaders in their communities. The executive director and the environmental leader of the school will present their framework on shifting school mindsets to create the next generation of leaders.

Project-Based Learning in a Sustainable School: A Key to Supporting Young Adult Success

Monday, April 8, 2:45–3:45 p.m.

In education, few trends have been as widely popular or successful as project-based learning (PBL). However, PBL can be tricky to plan and apply in the classroom. Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School has been a leader in using project-based learning to develop students’ deep understanding of the world around them. In their afternoon session, speakers from Mundo Verde will present their project-based sustainability education framework and demonstrate how to adapt the program in individual schools.

Teaching Activating My Democracy

Tuesday, April 9, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

You can inspire a passion to protecting the environment in your students, but what can they do with that passion? The Activating My Democracy curriculum teaches students to take their passion and turn it into action through the democratic process. The curriculum creator will share how the lessons use current events and youth-led movements to demonstrate civic responsibility. Participants will also learn why teaching students the intricacies of democracy is so vital for a sustainable future.

Students Take the LEED: One High School's Journey with Arc and LEED O+M v4.1

Tuesday, April 9, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

The School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley, Minnesota, will be submitting for LEED Gold certification this spring, and the kudos for getting the school there will belong to the students. Influenced by a variety of green building professionals, the students initiated and implemented the certification project. At the GSCE session, student leaders, a teacher, and the community mentor from the school will share their experiences, challenges and successes. The school will be among the first in the world to be certified under LEED v4.1 as an existing building, and the project team has unique perspectives for encouraging student action.

Cultivating Student Voice and Advocacy: Tour and Workshop

Wednesday, April 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Conference attendees can round out their education with this inspiring tour and a workshop facilitated by the director of Earth Force, a nonprofit that focuses on student civic engagement. The session will begin with a tour of Minnesota’s School of Environmental Studies, which will be submitting for LEED Gold certification this spring, due to the work of the students (see above). Participants will talk with one another and with experts in student engagement about overcoming the common challenges of encouraging student advocacy and action at school.

Register by Feb. 22 for early bird rates to attend these and other sessions.

Register for GSCE