Archive for the ‘Green Schools’ Category

Winners of the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest

We applaud each school/mentor team that participated in the 2021-22 Green Schools Quest and worked hard over the past six months to plan and implement a sustainability project at your school!

31 schools and 28 mentors participated (see who!) and, according to the numbers in their final reports, 1,788 students and 118 faculty and staff were directly involved, and an additional 10,672 students, staff, and community members were impacted through the projects this year! Additionally, our Connect on the Quest included a total of 143 participants: 85 Speaker Series attendees & 58 YouTube Channel views.

Learn more about all of the 2021-22 GSQ participants’ projects by watching the 2021-22 GSQ Project Showcase & Winners video!

This year, we are honoring 3 elementary, 2 middle, and 1 high school projects as division winners. Each will receive a trophy and $300 prize. Additionally, five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions. Spotlight Awardees receive $100 each. Congratulations to our winners!

Elementary Division Winners

Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice – The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Carman Trails Elementary School for Reducing Landfill Waste – Two 3rd grade students wanted to reduce waste sent to the landfill, so they created a video and games to teach how to correctly sort waste. They measured the results and saw a substantial reduction.

Sunrise R-9 School for OINK! – Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Middle School Division Winners

Brittany Woods Middle School for U City Schools Pollinator Squad! – The Brittany Woods Pollinator Protection Squad knows humans need to value and protect pollinators. Through problem-based learning, students identified one of their first steps needed to be removing the stigma associated with stinging insects. Squad members educated fellow middle schoolers and PK-1 students on the benefits of pollinators using an old van they rehabbed called the Pollinator 3000 as a backdrop to build their Squad’s visibility.

Nipher Middle School for A Year of Growth: Sustainability in Homeroom – Nipher students set out to improve existing outdoor spaces that are part of their sustainability initiatives. Four Homeroom classes collaborated to raise funds and implement their plans, improving areas with chickens, vegetable gardens, native plants, and beehives.

High School Division Winner

Ladue Horton Watkins High School for Student Action for a Greener Earth – Ladue’s existing environmental club focused on long-term sustainability, devoting significant energy towards underclassman recruitment in addition to larger projects which included looking at the school building itself to find ways to reduce energy, stream cleanups, and honeysuckle hacks.

Spotlight Award Winners

Rookie of the Year:
St. Paul’s Lutheran ECC for Caterpillars Compost! – Pre-K students researched, raised money and bought a compost tumbler, then designed compost buckets for other classrooms. Students retrieved the buckets and composted the material inside. They also started a worm bin.

Judges’ Choice:
Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School for Tikkun Olem: Repairing the Space
– Students worked to revitalize a garden, centering Tikkun Olem, or healing the world. Garlic and rye are being grown now, and students of all ages are now using the garden and other outdoor spaces year round.

Innovation:
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School for MRH Pollinator Problem (and Solutions)
– Using data they collected, MRH students identified the decline in native pollinators as a problem and set out to make habitat improvements on their campus. They created several products from beeswax to raise money for the improvements. They also developed a series of lessons for elementary school classes and performed pollinator raps in the STEAMaster rap battle.

Sustainability Champion:
Sunrise R-9 School for OINK!
– Sunrise’s new “Feed The Pigs” program takes waste diversion to a whole new level! Food waste from lunch is collected in the “Feed The Pigs” bin, then hauled to a local farm and fed to pigs. Students named three of the pigs and watched them grow over the year. These pigs were then auctioned off to school families for their consumption. The program emphasizes multiple sustainability principles and has reduced lunch waste by nearly 31%.

Focus of the Year: Health & Wellness:
Bryan Hill & Columbia Elementary Schools for Surviving, Not Thriving: A Quest for Justice
– The pandemic exposed the health and wealth inequities many students are living with. Bryan Hill & Columbia focused on the immediate needs of their students, improvements to support health and wellbeing of their communities such as repairing and repainting walls to cover lead paint and re-vamping their outdoor learning spaces, as well as the need for systems-level sustainability solutions.

Winners’ Submission Materials

Each school submitted a digital presentation and written report detailing their projects. You can access each winner’s full final submission material here.

Some schools posted their digital presentations on YouTube. We’ve created a playlist with these videos, which you can access here.

Event Recording: 15th Annual Green Schools Event

Students from Carman Trails Elementary, Brittany Woods Middle, and Ladue Horton Watkins High School shared about their GSQ project experience during our 15th Annual Green Schools Event. If you missed the event – or would like to watch it again – you can access a recording here.

Thank you GSQ Green Mentors!

Our volunteer Green Mentors play a huge role in this program – supporting schools in a variety of ways, from helping with project ideas, providing technical expertise, connecting schools with community resources, or simply lending an ear and helping with timeline reminders. Thank you to all of our Green Mentors for their service!

Interested in participating next year?

We hope so! Registration is now open for both schools and mentors for the 2022-23 school year. Mentor registration is open through August 31 and School registration is open though September 15. Visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org for more details on the program and to register!




Six Missouri Schools Honored in Missouri Green Schools’ Initial Awards Round

Missouri Green Schools (MGS) just completed its inaugural year as a state level support and recognition program and selected its first round of honorees. Six Missouri schools have been awarded Sprout Level recognition for their commitment to improving health and wellness of students and staff, lowering their environmental impact, and providing place-based education. Schools that embark on the MGS journey are taking steps to make an impactful difference in the lives of their students, staff, and surrounding communities.

The following schools achieved Sprout Level by involving school administration, beginning to benchmark and track improvement, and setting goals towards further advancement of green and healthy practices:

  • Central High School, Springfield Public School District, Springfield
  • Central Primary School, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ferguson
  • Forsyth School, Independent, St. Louis
  • Hixson Middle School, Webster Groves School District, Webster Groves
  • Patrick Henry Downtown Academy, St. Louis Public School District, St. Louis
  • St. Francis of Assisi School, Independent, St. Louis

Click here to read comments from each honoree on why they’ve committed to this journey.




K-12 School Registration Open for the 2022-23 Green Schools Quest and Missouri Green Schools

Registration is now open for K-12 schools to participate in the 2022-23 Green Schools Quest and Missouri Green Schools

Green Schools Quest

The Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to schools to implement student-driven, no/low-cost sustainability projects with the help of a Green Mentor who assists with project ideas, implementation, and resources. Each participating school forms a team of student participants. Teams may be a single classroom, a student club, a grade level, or an entire school. Each team engages in their chosen sustainability project(s) between October and March, and submits their outcomes for a chance to win cash prizes. A Green Mentor is assigned to each school to assist with ideas, documentation and community resources.   Teams are encouraged to integrate Rainbow of Sustainability principles into their projects: Importance of Place, Interconnectedness, Respect for Limits, Systems Thinking, Cycles, Social Justice, and Global Citizenship. Registration deadline is Sept 15 for Schools and Aug 31 for Mentors. Learn more at www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org

Missouri Green Schools

Missouri Green Schools is a new statewide recognition program which supports schools in taking a systems-based approach to improve student health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. It creates a pathway for state and national recognition, including serving as the conduit for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award, and provides a variety of one-on-one services to support under-resourced schools in achieving “green” goals and earning recognition. Learn more at www.MissouriGreenSchools.org

Learn More about Green Schools Quest Participation at Aug 31 Virtual Event

Are you considering participating in the Green Schools Quest as a school or a mentor during the 2022-23 school year, and interested in learning a bit more? Join us on August 31, 4:30-5:30 pm for a brief overview of the program and resources – plus hear directly from past participants about their experiences.

Support Participating Schools

Community members interested in supporting schools participating in these programs may do so by serving as a Green Schools Quest Mentor or a Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorp VISTA!

Click here to learn more about becoming a Green Schools Quest Mentor and visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org to register.

If interested in supporting Missouri Green Schools as an AmeriCorps VISTA, click on titles below to learn more about open positions:

  • Support VISTA – focus on providing one-on-one support to assist with action planning and progress tracking as well as outreach to expand program reach
  • Partner Network Coordinator VISTA – manage the development of a statewide network of organizations that desire to help schools lower their environmental impact, improve health, and shift to a culture of sustainability
  • Marketing and Communications VISTA – focus on raising awareness, participation and support of MGS throughout the state, and will develop skills in website and social media management



Help a Local School Go Green: Two Opportunities to Make a Difference This Year

U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC) and Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) are looking for passionate individuals to help schools improve their students’ health, reduce their environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability.

Make a difference in your community this school year by serving as a Green Schools Quest Mentor or a Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorp VISTA

BECOME A MENTOR IN THE GREEN SCHOOLS QUEST

  • The Program: The U.S Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter’s Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to K-12 schools to implement student-driven, no/low-cost sustainability projects with the help of a Green Mentor. Students document and share their impact, and awards are presented at elementary, middle, and high school levels. The challenge is open to all schools within the USGBC-MGC service area (majority of Missouri – excluding Kansas City area – as well as southern Illinois) and participating schools represent the wide range of geographic, economic, and racial diversity that is found within communities throughout this area.
  • Mentor Role: Green Mentors are community volunteers who assist schools with project ideas, implementation, and resources. Additionally, they serve as role models and community connectors who expand students’ awareness of the wide variety of careers that relate to sustainability.
  • Time Commitment: Roughly 4-6 hours per month between October 2021 and March 2022, plus a 2 hour training in September 2021. 
  • Support Provided: Mentors receive an orientation introducing them to the program and resources which include project idea lists, community resources, checklists and tips to guide them, and more. Mentors may reach out to the GSQ program manager at any time with questions and for support.
  • Learn More: Visit www.GreenSchoolsQuest.org. Prospective mentors are invited to attend a Mentor Info Session on August 26, from 12 – 1 pm via Zoom. All are welcome! 
  • Deadline: Mentor registration is due August 31. 

SUPPORT SCHOOLS AS A MISSOURI GREEN SCHOOLS AMERICORPS VISTA

  • The Program: Missouri Green Schools is a new statewide recognition program which supports schools in taking a systems-based approach to improve student health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. It creates a pathway for state and national recognition, and provides a variety of one-on-one services to support under-resourced schools in achieving “green” goals and earning recognition. The program is co-managed by the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC). 
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Role: VISTAs support low-income schools’ participation in Missouri Green Schools, ultimately helping students and communities to break free from the cycle of poverty. Five openings in the following positions are available:
    • Support VISTA – focus on providing one-on-one support to assist with action planning and progress tracking as well as outreach to expand program reach
    • Partner Network Coordinator VISTA – manage the development of a statewide network of organizations that desire to help schools lower their environmental impact, improve health, and shift to a culture of sustainability
    • Marketing and Communications VISTA – focus on raising awareness, participation and support of MGS throughout the state, and will develop skills in website and social media management
  • Time Commitment: Start October 25, 2021 for a one year term and work 30 hours per week, primarily remotely. VISTAs may also attend school or pursue outside employment during their term if desired.
  • Support Provided: Each VISTA receives a living allowance of $13,399, and will be provided with a laptop during the program service period. All MGS VISTAs will receive training in what it means to be a green school, a school that brings an environmental and equity lens to decision-making, as well as ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.
  • Learn More: Click on the position titles above to learn more about each. Contact Lesli Moylan at moylan@meea.org with any questions.
  • Deadline: Positions are open through September 2021, or until filled.



Missouri Green Schools AmeriCorps VISTA positions now open for 2022-2023!

Missouri Green Schools is a statewide recognition program which focuses on supporting schools in taking a systems-based approach to identify and advance practices throughout their campuses, educational programming, and school culture that reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, and provide place-based education.

Additional support is provided for schools that have 60% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch, including one-on-one support to set goals and track progress and small grant opportunities. Key to providing this support, are AmeriCorp VISTA members!

As we look ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, Missouri Green Schools is hiring AmeriCorps VISTAs to serve in each of the following roles – click on each link to learn more and apply!

Positions are open for a one-year term. VISTAs work 30 hours per week and may attend school or pursue outside employment during their term if desired.

Missouri Green Schools is a joint program of the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. Learn more about the Missouri Green Schools program at www.MissouriGreenSchools.org

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Continue the Quest! A Primer on the 2020-21 Format and Themes

Are you interested in participating in the Green Schools Quest as a school or mentor this year? We hope so!

Regardless of whether you are a past participant, or new to the Green Schools Quest; whether you are currently registered to participate this year, or still debating if you will sign up – this webinar will help you better understand the reimagined format for 2020-21 and provide an introduction to the monthly themes. 

During this webinar, you will:

  • Review the program adaptations for the 2020-21 school year aimed at providing more flexibility for schools.
  • Discuss the primary challenge for 2020-21: To integrate sustainability into students’ learning.
  • Explore the monthly themes which represent principles of the Rainbow of Sustainability, a tool for applying the lens of sustainability to curriculum. 
  • Identify what qualifies as a Green Schools Quest project this year.
  • Ask any lingering questions you may have.

PRESENTERS
Hope Gribble, USGBC-MGC, Green Schools Quest program manager

Kat Golden, Missouri Botanical Garden EarthWays Center, Past Green Schools Quest Mentor, & Member of the GSQ Committee

Traci Jansen, Keysor Elementary School (Kirkwood School District), Past Green Schools Quest Participant, & Member of the GSQ Committee

WHEN
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
5:00 – 6:00 pm

WHERE
Virtually, of course!
You’ll receive the Zoom login details after registering. 

REGISTER
Click here to register online!

THE GREEN SCHOOLS QUEST PROGRAM
Each year, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter challenges public and private schools across the region to devise and implement, with the help of Green Mentors, the most creative, effective and no- or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. Rather than complete comprehensive six-month projects, as Green Schools Quest participants have done in the past, for the 2020-21 school year, participating schools are invited to integrate sustainability into students’ learning through the lens of a monthly theme. We are currently seeking both School and Mentor participants. Applications are due September 30th.




Missouri Green Schools is hiring support VISTAs!

Missouri Green Schools (MGS) is a program to help schools improve health, reduce environmental impact, and develop a culture of sustainability. Managed by the Missouri Environmental Education Association and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter, MGS creates a pathway for state and national recognition and provides a variety of one-on-one services to support under-resourced schools in achieving “green” goals and earning recognition.

Four AmeriCorp VISTAs are currently sought to help develop and launch the MGS program during the upcoming school year.

VISTAs will work in St. Louis but have the opportunity to interact with schools throughout the state. VISTA members’ service will revolve around:

  • providing one-on-one support for under-resourced schools to achieve green goals and
  • conducting outreach to schools and partners.

VISTAs will receive training to guide schools in using a systems approach to become a green school–a school that brings an environmental and equity lens to decision-making.

For more information, please contact Lesli Moylan at moylan@meea.org or visit the job posting on the My AmeriCorps website.




Winners of the 2019-20 Green Schools Quest

The Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to PreK-12 schools to implement creative, effective and low-cost sustainable practices at their schools with the help of a Green Mentor.

68 school and mentor teams participated during the 2019-20 school year, and 44 of these schools submitted materials detailing their work to be reviewed by a panel of impartial judges utilizing this scoring rubric.

While we were not able to join together for our annual culminating event, we’re excited to celebrate participants and projects virtually! New highlights and insights are being posted each day during the week of May 18.

Announcing the 2020-21 Focus of the Year: Health & Wellness

The actions of individuals, organizations, and communities affect not only the planet, but also human health. Green Schools can be powerful promoters of health and well-being. Improving health and wellness addresses physical, emotional, and social issues students and their communities may be facing.

In this video, we’ll introduce you to the 2020-21 focus of Health & Wellness along with project ideas and resources.

Hear from School Leads on Why They Engage

Each school is required to have one adult leader from within their school to sponsor their team – this could be a teacher, administrator, or parent.

School Leads facilitate student engagement, collaborate with the mentor and determine how to best plug him/her into the project, integrate the project into school curriculum and culture, and lead the behind the scenes coordination that supports the project’s success.

In this video, a handful of School Leads share why they feel participating in the Green Schools Quest is valuable for their schools and students . . .

Mentors Share Their Experience

Mentors play an important role in the Green Schools Quest, each contributing guidance and resources that address the unique needs of their school team and project.

In this video, you’ll hear directly from mentors on how they plugged into their schools’ projects and why they feel the mentorship role is such an important piece of the Green Schools Quest.

Student Interviews

In this video, students reflect upon their experience engaging in a Green Schools Quest project this year.

– What did you learn?
– What did you enjoy about your project?
– Who helped you?
– What are you going to do now?

Project Focus & Collective Impact

This video highlights the diverse range of projects that took place and their collective impact. Included are clips from digital presentations the school / mentor teams prepared. 

2019-20 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019-20 Green Schools Quest! View this video to learn more about each of their projects.

Elementary School Category

1st Place:
A Green Wave of Change,
Crestwood Elementary (Lindbergh)

2nd Place:
Transportation Pollution Solution,
St. Margaret of Scotland

3rd Place:
Brown School Waste Warriors,
Brown Elementary (Hazelwood)

Middle School Category

1st Place:
RMS Earthletes Make Long-Lasting Change,
Rogers Middle School (Affton)

2nd Place:
Making a Difference in Our School,
The St. Michael School of Clayton

3rd Place:
Cafeteria Waste Reduction,
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School

High School Category

1st Place:
Impact Challenge,
Principia Upper School

2nd Place:
‘Not I, but We’ Environmental Justice,
St. Joseph’s Academy

3rd Place:
Reintroducing Recycling: Students Reduce Cafeteria Waste,
Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Spotlight Awards

Rookie of the Year:
KIPP Victory Garden,
KIPP Victory Academy

Sustainability Champion:

Bye, Bye Bags,
W.W. Keysor Elementary (Kirkwood)

Focus of the Year – Environmental Justice:

SLPS Can’t Afford Styrofoam Anymore,
Bryan Hill Elementary & Columbia Elementary (St. Louis Public School District)

Judges’ Choice:

Green Team,
Truman Elementary (Meramec Valley R-III)

Innovation:

Going Beyond,
Sunrise R-IX Elementary

2019-20 Participants & Projects

Kudos to all of the participating schools and mentors. Each and every one has taken significant action towards creating greener, healthier learning environments and positively impacted their communities!

Help us celebrate the accomplishments of participants the week of May 18. Stay tuned for more information and insight to be release each day,  including a summary document highlighting all submissions received and digital messages that will be shared at 10am daily:

  • Project Focuses & Collective Impact – May 18
  • Student Interviews About Their Work – May 19
  • Mentors Share Their GSQ Experiences – May 20
  • Hear from School Leads on Why They Engage – May 21
  • Announcing the 2020-21 Focus of the Year – May 22




Winners of the 2018 -19 Green Schools Quest

We cannot say enough about the accomplishments and impact of our 2018-19 Green Schools Quest schools. According to the numbers reported in participating schools’ final reports, over 3,000 students and 180 faculty and staff were directly involved in this year’s Green Schools Quest projects. And over 33,000 additional individuals were impacted through the projects this year!

We are thrilled to share the winners of the 2018 -19 Green Schools Quest!

Elementary Category
1st – Kirkwood Early Childhood Center
2nd – Highcroft Ridge Elementary (Parkway)
3rd – Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School

Middle School Category
1st – Forsyth School
2nd TIE –Nipher Middle School (Kirkwood)
2nd TIE – North Kirkwood Middle School
3rd – Grand Center Arts Academy (Confluence)

High School Category
1st – Kirkwood High School
2nd – Herculaneum High School
3rd – Jennings Senior High

Rookie of the Year (TIE) – Hazelwood West Middle School & McKinley Classical Leadership Academy (St. Louis Public)

Sustainability Champion – Little Flower Catholic School

Focus of the Year (Energy) – Crossroads Elementary (Wentzville)

Judges Choice – Brown Elementary (Hazelwood)

Innovation – St. Margaret of Scotland

Click here to view final documentation from 2018-19 winning submissions.




2018 Green Ribbon Schools Honorees Announced

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the names of the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees, including four schools in the state of Missouri:

  • Bellerive Elementary School, Creve Coeur, MO
  • Green Trails Elementary School, Chesterfield, MO
  • W.W. Keysor Elementary School, Kirkwood, MO
  • St. Louis University High School, St. Louis, MO

Across the country, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 58 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.

Congratulations to the 2018 Honorees!