Sustainability staff in K–12 school districts are in a tough position: they are agents of change in systems that are stretched for resources and time, and to be effective they must offer compelling solutions to these challenges.
For the third year in a row, the School District Scholarship program at the Center for Green Schools is providing districts with a unique opportunity to build capacity and advance their sustainability work. This year’s scholarship recipients will receive targeted education and technical assistance from USGBC and its partners, as well as valuable connections to a network of the nation’s green schools experts.
The 2016–17 scholarship cohort includes five diverse districts from across the country:
- Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, Colorado
- Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska
- Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia
- Shelby County School District, in Memphis, Tennessee
- Palm Beach County Schools, in West Palm Beach, Florida
Awardees were chosen based on the progress each has made already, plans for whole-school sustainability and their commitment to supporting staff professional development.
A common goal of the scholarship recipients this year is connecting sustainable programs and policies to classroom learning. Reducing the district’s utility budget is a top-line goal for Shelby County and Boulder Valley; in addition to the districts’ typical building and technology upgrades, they are incentivizing conservation actions by students, teachers and staff.
In Albermarle County, the current challenge is how to make real for students the 1 MW of solar power being generated on their roofs. And in Palm Beach and Lincoln Public Schools, students will be involved in modeling best practices for sorting cafeteria waste as part of the new milk carton recycling and composting programs.
The School District Scholarship provides a package of benefits valued at $20,000, including fully paid professional development opportunities at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo, the Green Schools Conference and Expo, and the School Sustainability Leaders' Summit. Awardees will receive individual and group coaching, as well as complimentary year-long access to several school resources from USGBC, including Learning Lab, the Green Classroom Professional Certificate, and a LEED coach for school projects.
USGBC is excited to support the 2016–17 scholarship recipients in making measurable progress toward their sustainability goals. We will share their inspiring stories throughout the year.