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Since 2008, Bicentennial Elementary School has worked closely with Project Learning Tree and PLT GreenSchools! to incorporate environmental studies into the curriculum at every grade level, provide sustained teacher professional development, and build stronger connections between the school and its surrounding community. The school’s Green Team, composed primarily of 5th-grade students, has led investigations into the school’s solid waste and recycling practices, water use, and energy consumption.
The Willow School in Gladstone, New Jersey, dubs itself “The Little Green Schoolhouse.” That’s because Willow is one of the first schools in the nation to adopt sustainability as an integrated concept. The school’s progressive commitment to sustainability, both on its campus and in its curriculum, have earned it a rating by the National Geographic’s “Green Guide” as the nation’s second greenest school.
A member of the Wisconsin Green Schools Network, the Dimensions in Learning Academy was one of just 78 schools nationwide to be named a 2012 Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The Green Ribbon School award recognized the Academy’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, and improve air quality in the school’s neighborhood with an innovative program of “idle free zones” around the school.
Environmental awareness permeates this pre-K through fourth-grade magnet school in the nation’s heartland. Its curriculum features a consistent, daily focus on reduction, reuse, and recycling, and all its environmental community service projects are student-designed and student-led in order to build “ competence, confidence, and responsibility.”
“No job is too big, no action too small, for the care of the Earth, is the task of us all!”
That’s the school Pledge that resonates through the hallways of Fishburn Park Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia, where students promise to continue caring for the earth at school and at home. The school, which bases its environmentally focused K-5 curriculum on Project Learning Tree, won a coveted Green Ribbon School designation in 2012 from the U.S. Department of Education. All the school’s teachers have participated in PLT training.
To attend The Monarch School, students must have a diagnosed neurological difference (e.g. Asperger’s or Tourette’s Syndrome, autism, severe attention deficit disorders, bipolar disorder, learning disability, or mood or anxiety disorders). The school values academics, but also evaluates students on their relationship skills, ability to function, and their ability to be aware of and regulate their behavior. Project Learning Tree and the PLT GreenSchools! program have been instrumental in helping kids who have problems learn to socialize and work with others.
In 1971, when the late social justice activist and Latino leader Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales incorporated Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, a PLT GreenSchool in Denver, CO, he did so because he believed that the Denver public school system was not responding adequately to the educational needs of the community’s Latino children.
East Hartford, CT
When two seventh-graders and three of their teachers participated in a PLT GreenSchools! training session in 2009, no one could have imagined that, in less than three years, the “Green Rivers” Team at Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, CT, would galvanize the entire school around environmental learning and action. Yet that is just what happened. There’s no stopping the Green Rivers Team, which by early 2012 had more than 150 members—approximately one-third of the student body.
Even though the school opened its doors for the first time during the 2011-12 school year, Eisenhower has already emerged as a leader in Kansas environmental education. Ecology and biology teacher and Green Team mentor Denise Scribner has been at the forefront of statewide efforts to green Kansas schools, serving on the leadership team that developed the state’s environmental literacy plan.
The STAR (Service To All Relations) School is a charter school located in rural northern Arizona, 30 miles from Flagstaff in the southwestern corner of the Navajo Nation. The school serves a population of students that is entirely Native American. It was established in 2001 based on the belief “that small community schools can deliver a superior education—even in a community with few jobs, no public utilities, high drop-out rates, and a history of conflict between governmental institutions and the people they are supposed to serve.” The school’s green, sustainable infrastructure helped earn it its designation as one of the U.S. Department of Education’s inaugural Green Ribbon Schools in 2012.