Become a Green School: Start by exploring here.
Green Schools employ practices to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve health and wellness, and foster effective place-based education. They are healthy, high performing places that yield better learning for students, more effective teachers, fiscal responsibility, and resource conservation while engendering hope, connection, and agency in young learners.
Many schools want to go green, but don’t know how to start. Show-Me Green Schools, a suite of three free programs co-managed by Missouri Gateway Green Building Council and Missouri Environmental Education Association, provide structure, resources and recognition to support every Missouri PreK-12 school in becoming a green school – no matter their starting place.
Vision: All Missouri schools are places that promote equitable and sustainable environments that ensure the overall health and wellbeing of their community.
Mission: Show-Me Green Schools programming supports all Missouri schools in identifying and advancing practices throughout their campuses, educational programming, and school culture that reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, and provide place-based education.
Show-Me Green Schools Programs
An annual project-based, student-driven challenge to implement a no or low cost sustainability project at the school over six months with the help of a volunteer Green Mentor. Teams submit their process and impact at the conclusion. Final submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges and winners in elementary, middle, and high school divisions receive cash awards and trophies.
A statewide recognition program that supports schools in taking a systems-based approach to advance green and healthy practices across their campus, curriculum, and school culture. MGS provides a roadmap and tools to help schools build their team, track and assess where they are at along the sustainability continuum, easily view and document their accomplishments, and plan to advance their efforts. Schools may enroll at any time and recognition is offered annually across four levels ranging from beginning to advanced.
Drives innovative practices through one-time, national-level recognition of schools and districts for comprehensive achievements across all three of the “Green Schools” pillars: environmental impact, health and wellness, and eco-literacy. In Missouri, the Missouri Green Schools program is the conduit for ED-Green Ribbon Schools nomination through a collaboration with MO Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Which program is the best fit for my school?
The Green Schools Quest and Missouri Green Schools programs are complementary in nature, while also unique. Either can be an entry point to the other, and schools can participate in one or both. Ongoing, simultaneous participation is encouraged and can help your school journey towards whole-school sustainability and ED-Green Ribbon Schools recognition. The button below will take you to a chart which highlights key aspects of each program to help you determine the best fit for your school. If you’re unsure, contact us and we’ll gladly help you to find the best starting place.
What is a “Green School?”
Three Pillars of a Green School
These three areas, or Pillars, are commonly used to define the outcomes realized by “Green Schools:”
- Reduced environmental impact and costs,
- Improved health and wellness of students and staff, and
- Increased environmental and sustainability literacy
First introduced when the U.S. Department of Education launched the ED-Green Ribbon Schools award program in 2011, these three Pillars have since been adopted as a measurement framework used within various Green Schools programs and initiatives across the world.
The Pillars are brought to life within a school by implementing green and healthy practices throughout a school’s:
- Physical place (school’s buildings and grounds),
- Educational programming, and
- Organizational culture
Based upon years of research by the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, and developed in partnership with the USGBC Center for Green Schools, the Whole-School Sustainability Framework details these three components and illustrates how schools can establish the conditions necessary to support their journey toward sustainability across all three Pillars.
What are the benefits of Green Schools?
Benefits of Green Schools are far-reaching and multifaceted.
There are a lot of ways that “going green” can save your school money – money that can be reinvested in educational programming. For example, the Parkway school district has saved $2.2 million since 2015 by making energy efficient improvements to HVAC systems, plug loads, kitchen equipment, building envelope, and adding onsite renewable energy sources. Other buildings found up to 25% savings on energy costs when they applied simple behavioral and operational measures.
Schools can receive local, state and national recognition for their sustainability efforts. Green Schools Quest, Missouri Green Schools and ED-Green Ribbon Schools recognition can also open the door to funding opportunities and additional recognitions from other programs that focus on singular elements such as energy conservation or environmental literacy.
We know that healthier students are better learners. The health of our surroundings and environment has a direct connection to our personal health and wellness. And we know this is important for students and staff. “The peer-reviewed literature from the last decade-plus demonstrates that good environmental education programs can positively influence students’ academic performance, knowledge, skills, confidence, motivation, and behavior.” – Dr. Marc Stern (Virginia Tech University)
Missouri Green Schools participants have access to teacher and administrative professional development opportunities through the Sustainability Institute for Educators and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. Additional learning opportunities are shared regularly through the MGS Newsletter and website.
When students apply their learning to real world situations that are relevant and meaningful to their lives, education comes to life. They begin to consider their role in affecting change and making decisions in response to real-world issues.
Creating healthy, more efficient schools that work to improve the surrounding community creates positive community relationships, while helping to attract and retain staff. Working on projects like community gardens or service projects can bring the school and community together, while creating shared goals for the future.
Map of School Participants
More than 200 schools have participated in one or more of the Show-Me Green Schools programs. Is your school on the list? Explore the wide range of schools that have engaged in the Green Schools Quest, Missouri Green Schools, and ED-Green Ribbon Schools. Participation is open to all schools in Missouri, and we look forward to engaging more and more schools across the entirety of our amazing state.
Green Schools Coordinator, Missouri Gateway Green Building Council &
Co-Manager, Show-Me Green Schools
Executive Director, Missouri Environmental Education Association &
Co-Manager, Show-Me Green Schools
Green Schools Committee
The Green Schools Committee encourages, educates and provides tools to local schools and school districts to adopt green practices within their physical place (buildings and grounds), educational programming, and organizational culture aimed at reducing environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness of students and staff, and increasing environmental and sustainability literacy. The committee supports the development, refinement, and expansion of the Missouri Green Schools, Green Schools Quest, and ED-Green Ribbon Schools programs. This is a joint committee of the Missouri Gateway Green Building Council (MGGBC) and the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA). Meets: 3rd Wednesday, 4:30 – 5:30 pm. Virtual meeting via Zoom.
- Brian Nikodym (Co-Chair), Retired Teacher, Community Advocate
- Tory Cheatham (Co-Chair), Renew Missouri
- Anne Cummings, Brittany Woods Middle School, U City School District
- Ben Freiman, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculure
- Brian Kushner, Rubin Brown
- Chris Ruth, Integrated Facilities Services
- Christine Nobbe, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE)
- Deborah Rogers Curtis, Missouri Gateway Green Building Council
- Emily Andrews, Missouri Gateway Green Building Council
- Erin Graves, Herculaneum High School, Dunklin R-5 School District
- Hannah Carter, USGBC Center for Green Schools
- Hope Gribble, Principia School
- Jaclyn Jezik, Missouri Botanical Garden EarthWays Center
- Jamie Hasemeier, Independent (Parent/Community Advocate)
- Jamin Bray, Missouri Environmental Education Association
- Jill Hollowell, Meramec Regional Planning Commission
- Kat Golden, Missouri Botanical Garden EarthWays Center
- Lindsay Elliot, Parkway School District
- Lesli Moylan, Missouri Environmental Education Association
- Mini Laird, Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects
- Porscha Hayes, AmeriCorps VISTA
- Stacey “Parker” Parker, BJC
- Traci Jansen, Kirkwood School District