Welcome to the PA Green & Healthy Schools Resource Page. We believe these are some of the most valuable, high-impact programs currently available for schools and stakeholders today. Resources are grouped according to their impact areas, defined by the pillars associated with Green Ribbon Schools. This list will be updated as resources are submitted and reviewed by PAGHSP.
Pillar 1: Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs
Energy Star Portfolio Manager is an excellent resource: a free online tool that you use to benchmark & track your building‘s energy use. Energy is the second highest operating expenditure for schools & has the greatest potential to reduce environmental impact.
The official partner of the Pennsylvania Green and Healthy Schools Partnership! Eco-Schools is an international program that provides a FREE framework to help educators integrate sustainability principles throughout their schools and curriculum.
A toolkit for behavior-based energy conservation in schools from Center for Green Schools at USGBC.
More than five million graduation gowns are worn by high school and collegiate graduates annually. For nearly 30 years gowns have been manufactured with synthetic petroleum-based, non-biodegradable material and are either located in the back of closets or in landfills. The graduation industry has been controlled by three industry giants with virtually no competition. Mass producing polyester gowns is inexpensive, but the destruction to the environment and financial burden for students and families can’t be ignored. Greener Grads has figured out a clever way to recover, reuse, repurpose and recycle gently worn graduation gowns.
In 2015, through a joint effort connecting students and community members, Recyclebank was able to turn donated points into real dollars for 38 schools across the country. These donations will help bring a variety of sustainability projects to life. Many of these schools were in Pennsylvania. Additional cash and recycled paper prizes were provided by Domtar paper in various categories as well. Look for the 2016 program to open shortly.
Pillar 2: Improved Health and Wellness
Tools for Schools program is a long-standing, well-established, and completely free program from EPA that promotes better indoor air quality in schools.
Take action to improve children’s health! EPA’s comprehensive schools website offers all the resources you need to establish, maintain or enhance a school environmental health program.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the law in Pennsylvania, and Penn State has provided an excellent resource to help schools implement an IPM program. This manual provides templates to develop an IPM plan for a school/district and easy to follow fact sheets.
A partner of the PAGHSP, Mom’s Clean Air Force has a fact sheet that is easy to read and packed with information about indoor air quality in schools.
extension.org provides a great guide to garden maintenance plans! School gardens are a popular tool used by many schools to promote healthful eating, teach nutrition lessons, and promote physical fitness by getting kids outside and active. Summer can be a challenging time for some schools that have school gardens. With schools closed for the summer, the question remains: who will maintain the garden? Who will harvest the vegetables? Without the watchful eyes of parents, students, and school staff on a daily basis, will vandalism occur?
School Garden Weekly was created to allow students, teachers, parents, and volunteers the information necessary to start and maintain a successful school garden.
The Philadelphia Horticultural Society Green City Teachers program provides Philadelphia educators with the skills to integrate horticultural and environmental education into curricula, after-school programs, and service-learning projects. Teachers, individuals, parents, gardeners, and informal educators are invited to participate. The fall five-session course offers a forum for sharing ideas and helps students appreciate the role of nature in their lives. Topics include basic horticulture, water, soil and composting, indoor gardening, and choosing the right plants. The summer two-day workshop focuses on building a school garden. Act 48 credit is available.
An organization representing women from western Pennsylvania. Some of us are community volunteers; some of us represent concerned non-profit organizations; and some of us represent area foundations and corporations; all of us are interested in making western Pennsylvania as strong and healthy as it can be. Women for a Healthy Environment focuses on educating the general public on issues associated with food and consumer product safety, including sources of possible exposure to environmental toxins. We also collaborate with like-minded organizations to raise awareness on various water quality and air quality issues in our region.
Healthy Schools Campaign is the leading voice for people who care about our children, education, and our environment. They teach and empower others to advocate for children to have fresh air, healthy food and physical activity to shape their lifelong learning and health. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, they help facilitate collaboration between parents, teachers, administrators and policy makers. Their goal is to help prepare this diverse group of stakeholders to lead change at the school, district, state and national levels.
This website, administered by the Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Resource Center, serves as a central clearinghouse of information that a community needs to develop, implement, and maintain safe, healthy walking and bicycling routes to schools. Find the latest news, funding information, training opportunities, resources, and materials available on Safe Routes to School in Pennsylvania.
Interest in farm to school continues to grow in Pennsylvania. Local, regional and state-level groups have organized networking and educational opportunities for school foodservice directors and producers. Mini-grant opportunities have helped to support school gardening, education, field trips and taste-testing of local products. Check out the Pennsylvania Farm to School website for background information, links to resources, frequently asked questions, Promising Practices, state organizations involved in farm to school and documentation of National Farm to School Month activities.
Pillar 3: Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, a non-profit organization and leader in the field of education for sustainability is, for the first time, making their EfS Standards and Performance Indicators available for free as a download. The 14-page package of nine EfS core standards and performance indicators were developed for PreK-12 school systems, and are designed to equip teachers and students with the new knowledge and ways of thinking needed to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of our living systems.
The USGBC Center for Green Schools provides a new pilot program that makes it easy for teachers to seek and find high-quality, standards-aligned materials to teach sustainability as its own topic and as a contextual supplement to core subjects.
Make sure you register for a free account to grant you full access to EcoExpress.org’s inspiring videos, educational resources, and community partners. The website connects you to the environmental and ecological topics that are important for our local Pennsylvania region and our world. The core of EcoExpress lies in real world stories about everyday people who are taking on environmental challenges by getting involved. Engaging, inspiring, and anchored in PA’s Environment and Ecology standards to bring classroom subjects to life.Fairmount Waterworks Urban Watershed Curriculum
National Green Schools Society provides a structured chapter-based program for high-achieving, environmentally focused students to create extraordinary impact in schools, organizations, and communities while getting the recognition they deserve on a state and national level. The NGSS program develops bright, civic-minded, environmentally literate citizens. By establishing a NGSS chapter in your school, students in grades 2 through 12 will advance their passion for preserving the environment through environmental service projects, leadership, and activism.
Water connects us all. Use this curriculum to connect students in the classroom with real world learning. Explore the Thematic Unit 1 of the Curriculum Guide and Teacher Resources. If you want to explore the full version, register online and we will provide the works— the full Curriculum Guide and Teacher Toolbox as well as ongoing ways to connect to the educational resources of the Fairmount Water Works, the Philadelphia Water Department and its partner organizations
Sampling of Education for Sustainability Resources:
Facing the Future, an independent program of Western Washington University, has sustainability curriculum in a variety of subjects. You can easily determine how each lesson plan correlates to PA state standards.
NEED provides curriculum and recognition for energy education.
A new more dynamic and user-friendly web portal created by the US Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Program and USGBC’s Center for Green Schools to connect all school communities with the free, publicly available resources from a variety of sources that these recognition award honorees effectively use. The Green Strides portal is intended as a one-stop-shop for resources, webinars, case studies, promising practices and collaboration so that all schools can make progress across every Pillar of the award.
A website co-developed by Natural Resources Defense Council and Healthy Schools Network for middle-schoolers to help them investigate the school environment. Find the environmental problems, compare them to your school, and use the fact sheets to improve the environment at your school. There is also a Parent-Teacher Room and virtual library to help with the investigation.
The Center for Green Schools at USGBC presents the Green Classroom Professional (GCP) Certificate program. It provides pre K-12 educators and school staff with the knowledge to identify what supports or impedes healthy, resource efficient and environmentally sustainable learning spaces. The course and exam help participants recognize, adopt, and implement practices that keep teachers and students focused, alert and ready to learn.
Provides PA-based Webinars on Green Schools of interest to teachers in PA. The site provides one hour presentations on a variety of green school topics with Act 48 credit.
The Center for Green Schools provides resources, recognition, and information to green schools across the US.
The Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects. Be sure to check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, read about last year’s impact, find an event in your area and register your 2015 event today!
The Green and Healthy Schools Academy at Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance and its stakeholders are committed to the vision that all students and all schools are healthy and high performing within a generation. To that end, GBA assists schools with integrating sustainability into their buildings, curriculum, and culture through inspirational, comprehensive, and developmental education. The Green & Healthy Schools Academy programming aligns with the national U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program that promotes three pillars for sustainable and healthy schools: reduced environmental impact and operational costs; health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education to promote civic skills, environmental stewardship, and a strong foundation for career and college pathways. Schools can have a significant impact on student and teacher health and performance, as well as the health, vitality, and economic development of their surrounding community. With the participation of school representatives and help from community partners and school sustainability advisors, GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy is creating a community within and among schools to advance healthy and high performing places for learning throughout the region.
Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a certification program for New Jersey public schools that want to go green, conserve resources and take steps to create a brighter future, one school at a time. Launched in fall 2014, we are a nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward schools as they pursue sustainability programs.
Providing tools for managing change, Green Schools Alliance (GSA) is an international association of sustainable schools that fosters collaboration among schools and school districts in order to help them set and meet individual and collective sustainability goals that benefit the greatest number.