The green school movement is growing, with thousands of schools across the nation participating in one fashion or another. But how do green schools and environmental literacy help education leaders with their chief objective—creating a lasting foundation for learning and shaping the long-term impact of school improvement efforts?

NAESP is setting out to help you answer that question. Green efforts significantly impact school culture and school planning and progress, categories that fall within the major areas of a principal’s sphere of influence, as identified in Rethinking Principal Evaluation: A New Paradigm Informed by Research and Practice. Green initiatives have also been successfully linked with increasing 21st century learning and STEM skills.

The following resources will help you answer questions such as: What exactly is a “green school”? How much does it cost? How can it help with improving student learning and engagement? Where can my school get help with starting down this path?

Resources & Opportunities:

  • Download "Is Becoming A Green School Right for Your School?", a helpful guide on steps to take towards greening your school.
  • Principal magazine has a number of articles for environmentally friendly education, including:
  • The National Building Museum now has a Green Schools Exhibit, which showcases what educators can do-and are already doing-to make schools environmentally friendly and sustainable.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's school page offers a variety of resources for schools looking to go green. They host useful webinars and web conferences for schools, and provide answers to important questions, such as:
  • The Green Education Foundation (GEF) is a national non-profit organization committed to creating a sustainable future through education.  Sustainability education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF works to empower students and teachers who guide K-12 students, helping them understand and integrate principles of sustainability into their curricula. Their website offers free sustainability lessons to use in elementary classrooms in science, math, language arts, social studies, health, and creativity.

  • The Captain Planet Foundation offers a unique program of funding and supporting hands-on environmental learning projects is designed to encourage innovative initiatives that inspire and empower children and youth around the world as they work individually and collectively creating environmental solutions in their homes, schools and communities. They invest in high-quality, solution-based programs that embrace STEM learning and empower youth to become global environmental change-makers.

  • Project Learning Tree and its GreenSchools! program provides high-quality teacher professional development in environmental education; award-winning supplementary curriculum that meets Common Core, STEM, and state education standards; and grants for service-learning projects.  Teachers can access a set of PLT GreenSchools! Investigations (available for free by registering online) that provide a solid learning and leadership experience for students to make their school more green and healthy – and save money in operating costs.

  • Eco-Schools USA is a free program of the National Wildlife Federation for Pre-K-12 public, private, charter, and magnet schools.  It is a comprehensive and holistic green school program that focuses on greening the school grounds, buildings, curriculum, and student experience. Eco-Schools offers a proven seven-step framework and ten environmental topics for schools to address on their journey to sustainability, and has demonstrated improvements in academics, environmental footprints of schools, and student behavioral changes.

  • The Green Schools Alliance promotes student leadership in environmental initiatives, so that all community stakeholders are engaged.

  • The Green Schools National Network advances the national green and healthy schools movement by connecting like-minded and passionate education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and organizations.
  • Grades of Green empowers and inspires students and the broader school community to protect the environment. Their website offers free tools, lesson plans and activities for teachers and principals to use to green their schools. Grades of Green is currently accepting applications for it's Youth Corps, which empowers students to implement a Green project of their choice at their school. Details on how to apply for the Youth Corps can be found on their website.
  • Edutopia has compiled a list of lesson plans and ideas for celebrating Earth Day.
  • The Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program honors environmentally responsible schools around the country. NAESP is proud to support it's members honored with an award.