STEAM Education + Action = Leadership + Transformation
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.
Addressing climate and conservation challenges, GSA's mission is to connect and empower schools worldwide to lead the transformation to global sustainability. GSA believes schools are hubs of their communities that build resilience, transform markets and policy, shift behavior, and prepare the next generation of innovators to become environmental stewards.
Uniquely created by schools for schools, the GSA is a global Peer-to-Peer Network of pre-K to grade 12 schools represented by school decision makers including sustainability coordinators, students, principals and heads, faculty, facility managers, business officers and other administrators and staff who work together to solve climate and conservation challenges through project-based STEAM initiatives.
Since 2007, the GSA has grown organically. GSA now includes participation by more than 5,300 public and private schools in 44 U.S. states and 49 countries representing over 3 million students and more than 1/2 billion square feet. Membership ranges from small rural schools to the largest school districts in the U.S. as well as many other international day and boarding schools.
Membership in the GSA is free, but requires a Commitment to take action on any or all of three tracks: 1) Reduce the member school’s climate & ecological impact; 2) Connect to Nature & Place; and 3) Educate & engage community. Within Track 1, GSA asks schools to select one of two climate commitment levels: a) Climate Champion - Reduce my school’s carbon footprint by at least 30% within 5 years, and achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2020; and b) Climate Steward - Calculate my school’s carbon footprint by establishing an energy and carbon emissions baseline, and achieve carbon reductions over time.
GSA member schools collaborate locally and virtually to share and implement sustainable best practices and promote connections between schools, communities, and the environments that sustain them. GSA does this by: creating forums; exchanging resources; offering original programs and curriculum developed by Member Schools; and connecting youth to nature. All GSA programs are created and steered by member schools.
Within the GSA network, all schools have something to learn and something to teach. Schools listen to and trust other schools. GSA’s authenticity creates the leverage needed to amplify and scale sustainable solutions. A catalyst that galvanizes schools into action, GSA supports them to become global leaders in their own communities. By highlighting members’ climate and sustainability progress, the GSA is a catalyst that lifts everyone up to accelerate positive change for a sustainable future.
Programs: Consistent with GSA’s origins, all programs are created by member schools, are replicable and scalable, and support member and non-member schools alike. GSA programs provide experiential STEAM learning opportunities that integrate education and action in order to engage the greatest number, and prepare the next generation of innovators. Programs include: Training (student and professional), Competitions (Green Cup Challenge™), Events, Campaigns & Advocacy, Purchasing, Publications, and Forums. GSA’s crowd-sourced website supports schools at the local, national and international scale. The web platform enables the exchange of ideas and information including original member STEAM curriculum, accelerates the implementation of best practices and provides searchable member school profile pages with measurement & reporting data collection in order to build capacity.
Vision: GSA envisions a healthy and abundant, equitable and safe, resilient and ecologically diverse world, connected through a global community of schools acting as transformational hubs of their communities. In this vision, schools worldwide collaborate across generational, geo-political and socio-economic boundaries to achieve a sustainable future that respects and protects all living things and wild places without depleting the resources on which they depend.
“When the New York City Department of Education wanted to adopt an ambitious sustainability agenda, we needed to make a strong public statement about the importance of climate stewardship. Joining the Green Schools Alliance showed clearly that New York City schools were committed at the highest level to facing our environmental challenges. The fact that GSA was created by schools and for schools made it the logical partner for recognizing our unique position as educators in this effort. As the first public school system to join the GSA, I am so excited to consider our colleagues joining us in a collective force for positive change.” John Shea, CEO, NYC Division of School Facilities
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