The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today the 2014 recipients of its school district scholarship program. The six selected school districts across the nation will receive year-round support from the Center for Green Schools and a broad network of school sustainability leaders.
“The School District Scholarship program provides real, on the ground opportunities for entire school districts to engage in sustainability improvements and ongoing education,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “We are so pleased to highlight the good work already being done by this year’s recipients and to be able to further their efforts through networking, professional development and on-site assistance.”
All of these districts, large to small and rural to urban, will work together to support each other’s work in sustainability and build strategies that can be replicated in school districts of all sizes throughout the country. Districts were selected based on the merits of their applications to the Center for Green Schools, and each has assigned at least one half-time staff person to work on sustainability programs and strategies.
Scholarship recipients include: New York Department of Education in New York, N.Y.; Paterson Public Schools in Paterson, N.J.; Fayetteville Public Schools in Fayetteville, Ark.; Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Independent School District in Burnsville, Minn., and Sacramento City Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif, all of which are supported with funding from United Technologies Corp. Glendale-River Hills School District in Glendale, Wisc., was also selected and supported with funding from Transwestern.
Specific benefits available to scholarship recipients include participation in the Center for Green School’s School Sustainability Leaders Summit, an annual event that convenes staff responsible for sustainability programs at school districts of all sizes throughout the country, giving them direct access to resource conservation and energy managers, facilities directors and other industry experts. Scholarship recipients are also fully funded for travel to the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, ongoing professional development support and direct access to the nation’s leading green schools experts throughout the year.
“These sustainability-minded school districts have the opportunity to become pioneers in developing meaningful and scalable environmental strategies,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems. “Their work will have measurable benefits for the health and academic success of all students, while providing the foundation for a more environmentally aware and educated generation.”
To broaden the impact of the scholarship in the selected school districts, 100 teachers from each district will be offered an opportunity to take USGBC’s Green Classroom Professional certificate course. School districts may also take advantage of LEED certification coaching, in-person sustainability workshops and district-wide sustainability master planning.
Studies have repeatedly shown that improving specific aspects of a student’s classroom environment leads to better memory, attention, concentration, task speed and more. The scholarship program allows administrators to evaluate and plan for changes system wide and to elevate the level of the conversation in their communities regarding green school design and operation.