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Advancing Sustainable Schools For All

The Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE) is an annual event that furthers the vision of sustainable, healthy schools. It is the only national event that brings together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools. On April 8–9, 2019, in St. Paul, Minnesota, GSCE will offer engaging educational sessions, case studies, hands-on workshops, and lectures led by passionate education, environmental, and business leaders who share a vested interest in making a positive difference in our children’s futures.

Session Spotlights

Join EcoRise at GSCE 2019 to learn how green school initiatives across the United States support learning, strengthen community, and drive positive change. EcoRise is co-facilitating two sessions that feature four innovative school districts that are leveraging community partnerships to empower student leaders and integrate sustainability into school culture district-wide.

Session B07: Reimagining your School Building as a Living Lab: A Story of 3 Innovative School Districts

1:15–2:15 p.m., April 8, Meeting Room 8

Rachel Chard, BA; Sustainability Specialist, Sacramento City USD
Darien Clary, MPH; Sustainability Manager, Austin ISD
Kathleen Corradi; Zero Waste Manager, NYC Department of Education
Gina LaMotte; Founder, President, and Chief Innovations Officer, EcoRise

What You’ll Learn
Sustainability education empowers kids to make a difference and inspires critical thinking about health, community, and the environment, cultivating values they will have for life. Learn how three large school districts—New York City Department of Education, Sacramento City Unified School District, and Austin Independent School District—leverage partnerships to increase student environmental literacy and implement sustainability at many levels throughout their districts. EcoRise, which closely works with each of these districts, will share best practices for empowering students to be change agents through scientific inquiry, the eco-audit process, and authentic, problem-based learning experiences. Then, sustainability leaders from each partnering school district will share how they are using this model to bridge facilities and instruction by turning school buildings and campuses into living labs. Each district is in a different phase of its sustainability plan and will share specific examples of sustainability education in action, including successes and challenges of each unique approach. Participants will walk away with access to eco-audit lessons, student project exemplars, and an arsenal of ideas for how to create their own living labs to ignite the next generation of green leaders.

Session F03: Teaching Green: Integrating Sustainability into School Culture

3–4 p.m., April 9, Meeting Room 2

Sally Parker, ENV SP, LEED GA; Energy and Sustainability Liaison, DC Public Schools
Heather Hairston; Principal, CW Harris Elementary School, DC Public Schools
Abby Randall, MS; Director of Programs, EcoRise

What You’ll Learn
Washington, D.C., has committed to modernizing all of its schools to be more sustainable, with a target of LEED Gold certification or higher. Our presenters see this as an opportunity to foster students’ understanding of sustainability and to integrate the modernizing process into student learning. Before students can connect with sustainability concepts, though, educators must first understand them themselves. DCPS has leveraged partnerships with EcoRise’s curriculum experts and facilitators, as well as with architecture firms, to help teachers connect classroom instruction to green building features at their schools. By connecting design teams with teachers and providing integrated curriculum, DCPS is empowering the next generation of decision-makers by equipping teachers with standards-aligned curriculum, leading-edge professional development, and grant funds to make student ideas a reality.

In this session, learn how green buildings support STEAM and project-based learning in DCPS classrooms and unpack how to approach student challenges through a sustainability lens. Also, walk away knowing how to identify national and local partners that can provide valuable resources and increase student impact. Attendees will receive access to free resources to foster environmental literacy and student innovation within their own school buildings.

EcoRise is excited to host and speak with such an incredible array of school districts that are leaders in the green school movement. We hope to see you at this year’s Green Schools Conference & Expo! Click the banner below to attend or learn more today.

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