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Call for Proposals Special Invitation: National Green Schools Conference 2014

September 06, 2013
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Green Schools National Conference 2014
Working Together for Healthy, Sustainable Schools
March 27 - 29, 2014
Sacramento, CA

RFP will be open from July 1 – September 30, 2013
On-line Application Link:

A special invitation to past Green Schools National Conference Presenters and Applicants…As someone who either presented or applied to present at the Green Schools National Conference in Minneapolis, Denver or West Palm Beach (or perhaps all three!), our planning team is extending a special invitation to enthusiastically encourage you to once again consider submitting a proposal to share your work with your peers from around the country. We know that you are expanding and deepening your green school efforts each year and we are offering a fresh mix of exciting venues to share your latest triumphs, challenges, resources and partnerships with those eager to benefit from your inspiration and information. Please read on for all you need to know about this year’s theme and topical strands. Thanks again for your contributions in years past, and we can’t wait to learn what you hope to share with your colleagues in Sacramento at the 2014 Green Schools National Conference!

A green school enhances student health and learning through sustainable facilities design and management that safeguards precious natural and fiscal resources AND well-designed curriculum that advances the skills and knowledge needed for the 21st century. Becoming a green school is not a prescribed journey; it is a series of conscious actions that integrate ecological and sustainable practices in all systems that impact the learning environment. We believe that every school has the potential to be a healthy, sustainable school. With this in mind, the theme of the 2014 Green School National Conference is “Working Together for Healthy, Sustainable Schools.”

This year’s conference will celebrate the work of schools, districts, and partnerships that are leading the movement and who can articulate best practices that can be tested by others. Presentations that include successful partnerships among education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and organizations will be the cornerstone of the 2014 conference. Priority will be given to proposals that include at least one school representative who is able to talk candidly about the successes and challenges of transforming their school.

We will be accepting three different types of proposal this year:

  • Breakout Sessions – These sessions are 75 minutes in length. The rooms for breakout sessions will hold up to 100 participants.
  • Speed Greening Sessions – These sessions are fast and fun sessions that last ten minutes. These sessions will be a fun, interactive way to meet other GSNC participants, learn more about sustainability issues affecting you and your school, and provide a forum for you to be heard! Each Speed Greening session will have one presentation on a thematic topic from each strand.
  • Poster Sessions – There will be a Poster Area in the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 Conference. Up to 30 posters will be accepted. Posters that reflect student work, research, and other special projects will be accepted. During the Opening Reception on Thursday and Social Hour on Friday, Poster presenters will be asked to stay close to their posters to answer questions related to work represented.

We are seeking proposals in all areas that address the breadth of practices and structures that get to the “what” and “how” of transforming schools and school districts by and for students, teachers and leaders. As you prepare your proposal, consider the ways in which your school, district, state, project, or partnership is addressing the demands of organizational, operational, cultural and instructional shifts necessary to provide all students with the skills, dispositions and experiences they will need to navigate in an ever changing world.

8 Breakout sessions, 8 Speed Greening Sessions, and 6 Poster Sessions will be selected from each of the five strands of the conference:

  • Curriculum that Advance Sustainability Skills and Knowledge for the 21st Century
  • Stewardship and Service Learning
  • Sustainable Facilities Design and Management
  • Health and Well Being
  • Strong Partnerships and Networks

Proposals will be judged on the criteria below:

Criteria for proposals


Speed Greening


Highlights a partnership among education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and organizations.



Include at least one school representative who is able to talk candidly about the successes and challenges of transforming their school.



Articulates clear outcomes for session participants. (Breakout Sessions & Speed Greening)




Provides a clear, engaging, active plan for the flow, sequence and delivery of the session.




Connects to the conference theme: Working Together for Healthy, Sustainable Schools.




Is fully articulated; incomplete proposals will not be considered.




Master Class Proposal Information and Questions to Guide Topics
The following information will help you to determine potential topics and the best strand for your proposal.

Curriculum that Advance Sustainability Skills and Knowledge for the 21st Century: These sessions will focus on teacher work at the classroom, school, and/or district level. The selected proposals will represent a broad range of topics in all subject areas/grade levels and are appropriate for all conference participants. Topics would include curriculum/ planning structures, lesson design, the work of grade level and department teams, collaborative professional development, teacher developed structures that enhance education for sustainability, and other curricular practices that support students’ leadership, academic achievement, character growth and community involvement.

  • What does it take to engage all schools in a district/state to embrace sustainability education?
  1. How have you engages all teachers in a school to embrace sustainability education at all grade levels?
  2. How have you engaged principals, superintendents, curriculum specialists and politicians to support sustainability education?
  3. What are the dynamics in a community needed to transform curriculum and instruction that integrates environmental education and sustainability across the curriculum?
  4. How can we utilize the CCSS and Next Generation Standards to increase the number of teachers and student engaged in eSTEM and sustainability education?
  5. How does your school/district/state encourage cross-disciplinary curriculum design that integrates sustainable science; social science, political science, environmental health, and mathematics with the CCSS literacy standards?
  • How have you used available research evidence to promote sustainability education in your school/district/state?
  1. How do colleges, universities, professional networks and advocacy groups work with school personnel to create metrics and evaluation of sustainability education?
  2. What data tracking systems and research is available? What are the gaps?
  • How have you sought, obtained and used political and/or business leader support to successfully or unsuccessfully expand/implement sustainability education?
  • What partnerships need to be forged to advance this work? Who are the funding partners that need to be engaged in our work?

Questions to Guide Topics for Curriculum Strand

Stewardship and Service Learning - These sessions will focus on how you develop an ethic of stewardship through rigorous academic and service learning opportunities. Sessions in this strand might include projects and instructional practices that engage students in all aspects of creating a culture of sustainability during and outside of the school day, including the role of service and authentic work in their communities. Teachers/school staff members/students and external partners would be the main presenters in this strand.

Questions to Guide Topics for the Stewardship and Service Learning Strand

  • How does your school incorporate real world service learning projects that explore solutions to local, regional, and global problems and issues and teach 21st century skills;
  • What stewardship projects allow students to take responsibility for their own school grounds and who are the people within the district or community who can support this student service? How do you engage those people?
  • What place-based projects and practices do you incorporate at your school to engage and excite students? School farms or gardens? Restoration projects? Energy Audits? Waste audits? What are the ecological, academic, and economic results of this authentic work?
  • How can teachers and leaders work together to provide opportunities for students to make local and global connections?
  • How have your students become more self-assured, confident learners through service learning and stewardship? How do you know?
  • What school structures do you use to support this work? Block scheduling? Cross-disciplinary teams? Multi-year relationships with external partners? Exhibitions of student work?
  • How have students’ experiences where they are compelled to grapple with complex problems or texts pushed them out of their comfort zone to become stronger independent learners?
  • How do networks and advocacy groups work with school personnel to create metrics for health and wellness? What data tracking systems, research, school report cards and recognition is needed to increase awareness and accountability?
  • How do colleges, universities, professional networks and advocacy groups work with school personnel to create metrics for stewardship and service learning? What data tracking systems and research is available? What are the gaps?

Core Practice 3: Sustainable Facilities Design and Management – Facilities managers, architects, designers and engineers play a significant role in healthy and sustainable schools. Sessions in this strand will focus on working partnerships that reflect best practices related to transforming the culture of the decision making processes and shared responsibility for healthy and sustainable schools. Learning environments that address the fundamental necessities of life are critical for learning. Learning environments that inspire provide the space for the deep thinking and learning that will be necessary for students in the future, while conserving important natural and economic resources.

Questions to Guide Topics for the Sustainable Facilities Design and Management Strand

  • How have you integrated students, teachers, and principals in the dreaming and design phase of planning for new facilitates and renovations of existing buildings? What have been the barriers? What are the impacts of successful partnerships on student achievement, school and district culture, and in the community?
  • How can engineers, architects and energy professionals work with administrators and school boards to promote management practices that reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality and lighting, decrease the waste stream and improve water conservation?
  • How can facility managers and teachers work together to use buildings, management practices, materials and supplies purchasing to teach about sustainability?
  • Can non-certified staff be seen as experts in green technology, science, and sustainability? If so, how? What are the barriers? What are the benefits?
  • What does it take to create a zero waste or reduced-waste school? Cafeteria? District? What techniques work to engage schools, districts, students, teachers and corporations in the goals of such a program?
  • What are the impacts of using non-toxic and eco-friendly supplies and materials? How can such programs be implemented successfully?

Core Practice 4: Health and Well Being – Sessions in this strand will focus on partnerships that address the connection between students’ health and academic achievement. Healthy, active and well-nourished children are ready to learn; more engaged; and have higher attendance. However, over the past several decades, chronic diseases — including asthma, diabetes, obesity and learning and behavioral disabilities — has doubled among children. These health challenges create barriers to individual learning, overall classroom management, and school functioning. Healthy, sustainable schools address these by creating programs and implementing curriculum that engage families and communities.

Questions to Guide Topics for the Health and Well Being Strand

  • What can be done to transform the quality of the food served in schools? How have you worked with non-profits, corporations, and governmental agencies to provide healthy, locally sourced and whole foods in your cafeteria?
  • What are best practices in schools or districts that promote physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices? What are the partnerships that support this work?
  • How can schools work with communities to expand intergenerational outdoor fitness and recreation programs? How can college students, parents, and community members mentor students so they can experience activities such as walking, hiking, biking, skiing, and camping?
  • What can be done in urban centers to provide greater access to outdoor play and learning spaces? What are the qualities of exemplary outdoor play and learning spaces?
  • What is the impact of indoor air and lighting quality on learning? What are best practices to improve these conditions and reduce illness and absenteeism?
  • How do networks and advocacy groups work with school personnel to create metrics for health and wellness? What data tracking systems, research, school report cards and recognition is needed to increase awareness and accountability?
  • How can green school networks support educators, policymakers and the public with a more refined understanding of the necessity to incorporate health into their sustainability action plan? What interdisciplinary research is needed to increase awareness of the impact of health and movement on student learning?

Strong Leadership and Networks - These sessions will represent a broad range of practices and strategies used by schools or teams to provide students with structures, systems, resources and experiences needed to provide both the philosophical and pragmatic shifts required to become a healthy, sustainable school. Areas related to this strand would include: data-based decision-making, professional development, instructional leadership, fiscal leadership, engaging community partners, development of school and district transformation plans, or creating organizational structures that reduce barriers or obstacles in underserved communities. The audience for this strand of master classes is principals, school leadership teams, board members, and others in leadership positions at the school or district level.

Questions to Guide Topics for Leadership Strand

  • What long-term partnerships support systemic change and ecological balance within the school and community?
  • How do you recruit and retain key stakeholders who represent all systems within a school, district, and community through the long-term transformation process?
  • What is needed to develop strong partnerships among diverse cultural heritage groups to promote the greening of schools in all communities?
  • What is the “story” you can tell from looking at your current data and how can you use it to leverage change and support for healthy, sustainable schools in other sectors of your community?
  • How does your sustainability or green team determine priorities and plan for success? Do you have a work plan? How do you create evaluation and feedback systems that address sustainable practices?
  • How are you using new resources and models to support your school through the transformation process? How are you employing best practices in professional development?
  • How do state and national green school networks communicate and share best practices?
  • What interdisciplinary research is needed to bring healthy, sustainable school practices into the mainstream?

Online Application Link:

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