From the Executive Directo r: Nurturing Body, Mind, and Heart: Green Schools Support the Whole Child through Social-Emotional Learning

We all want what's best for our children - nourishing food for strong bodies; a circle of friends who provide love and support; and the knowledge and skills needed to thrive for a lifetime. Our nation's schools play an important role in teaching and nurturing our children. Thus, it's no surprise that parents who are surveyed about what they look for in a school say they want a place where their child feels safe, like they belong. A place where their child can learn who they are and what strengths and special talents they possess. A place where their peers and caring adults will help them face and overcome challenges.
When it comes to the equity and social component of sustainability, green schools are leading the way. Green, healthy, and sustainable schools nurture not just their students' physical health and well-being, but their social and emotional health as well. These schools embody a culture that promotes respect, trust, empathy, integrity, and compassion for those within and outside the school community, humans and non-humans alike.
This issue of GreenNotes lifts up some of the schools and people doing amazing work around social-emotional learning (SEL). Jonathan Cloughesy and Hunter Gehlbach of the University of California-Santa Barbara describe how integrating SEL into school climate and culture can help students develop the competencies they need to address real-world global issues. Helios New School in Sunnyvale, California is taking their dedication to SEL to the next level and moving to a holistic approach where SEL is at the forefront of everything they do. Tom Stonehocker, a recent graduate from Islandwood's Education for Environment and Community Program, shares some of the ways in which he helps young people develop a better sense of place and an emotional connection to the people, plants, and animals found there .
When it comes to developing the whole child, we must nurture not only the mind and body, but the heart as well. SEL does just that, and green schools do it best.
FYI - the Green Schools Conference and Expo has released its Call for Proposals for the 2019 conference, to be held April 8 - 9, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. I urge you to consider submitting a proposal! You can learn more about this opportunity here.
Until next month,
Helios New School: Where Social and Emotional Learning is Much More than a Program

David DenHartog, School Coach for the Green Schools National Network, and Patti Wilczek, Head of School for Helios New School, discuss Helios New School's approach to social-emotional learning (SEL) and the steps the school is taking to more fully integrate SEL into its daily activities and instruction. 
From Sit Spots to Skits: Fostering Empathy and Compassion through Place-Based Education

Tom Stonehocker, a recent graduate from Islandwood's Education for Environment and Community Program, shares how shifting the scale of environmental education to a local level helps students develop a better ecological understanding, a sense of place, and an emotional connection to the people, plants, and animals found there.
Sustainable Well-Being: Green Schools and Social-Emotional Thriving

Jonathan Cloughesy and Hunter Gehlbach of the University of California-Santa Barbara describe how integrating social-emotional learning into school climate and culture can help students develop the competencies they need to address real-world global issues.  
Teaching Empathy Through Animals

Pets in preschool classrooms allow students to establish an emotional connection while also learning about responsibility. Reprinted with permission from Green Teacher magazine and originally authored by Robyn Stone.
GSNN Educator's Toolbox: Professional Development, Resources, Grants, and Awards for August

The latest professional development opportunities, resources, grants, and awards for August.  
Read the Summer 2018 Catalyst Quarterly!

The Summer 2018 edition of the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly takes an in-depth look at how Education for Sustainability (EfS) is informing the teaching of environmental and sustainability education in K-12 schools, and how sustainability is driving systems-level change in schools and school districts. Articles explore the definition of EfS and how it compares to similar progressive education initiatives, as well as how states, schools, and school districts are looking to EfS, systems change, and whole school sustainability to inform instruction, curriculum, and leadership.   

Carry the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly wherever you go! Get  the app from  iTunesGoogle Play, or Amazon  today.  

In Other News...

Green Schools National Network's blog shares timely stories and news from Catalyst Network Schools and School Districts, Network sponsors and partners, and others involved in advocating for green, healthy, and sustainable schools. Check out some of our most recent blog posts below!

Green Schools National Network is Hiring!

Green Schools National Network is hiring a part-time social media manager. This person will work with the Network's Communication and Outreach team to manage and grow our social media presence and influence. If you are interested in this position, please send a resume and cover letter to Cyndy Merse at This is a remote position that can be performed from anywhere in the U.S.

W rite for GreenNotes!

Green Schools National Network's newsletter, GreenNotes, focuses on one overarching topic each month. We will consider articles for the month that best matches the topic. Have a question about an upcoming theme? Contact
We are looking for a variety of articles for GreenNotes, including:
  • Case studies of schools and school districts doing exemplary work in environmental and sustainability initiatives.
  • Profiles of leaders and advocates in the green schools movement.
  • News and current events of interest to the green schools movement.
Themes for the next three issues include:

Green Schools Addressing Grand Challenges - October 2018
Submission deadline: October 5, 2018

In 2008, an international committee identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century. Many of these challenges address issues that are pertinent to sustainability and a healthier environment, including access to clean water, alternative forms of energy, restoring balance to natural systems, and improving infrastructure. Since then, K-12 schools have used these challenges as the foundation for curricula that span all core subjects and engage students in solving real-world problems. This issue of GreenNotes will introduce you to schools and school districts that are tackling these Grand Challenges in their classrooms and equipping students with the skills they need to overcome these challenges for a sustainable future.

Net-Zero: Waste and Energy - November 2018
Submission deadline: November 2, 2018

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Net-Zero means consuming only as much energy as is produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills. Net-zero can seem like an ambitious goal, but schools and school districts across the U.S. are adopting practices to make this goal a reality. This issue of GreenNotes will introduce you to some of those schools and school districts, highlight their best practices and lessons learned, and explore the latest trends in reducing energy use, conserving water, and eliminating waste.

Green Schools and the Community - January 2019
Submission deadline: January 4, 2019

Schools are widely recognized as centers of their communities, places where people gather to learn, celebrate, and take shelter in times of crisis. More and more, schools are adopting the mantle of climate resiliency, preparing students for the social, environmental, and economic challenges of the 21st century. In this issue of GreenNotes, you will meet some of the schools and school districts who are on the leading edge of this movement, and learn how their leadership and curriculum are having an impact on their communities.
Work with Green Schools National Network!

Green Schools National Network's professional development and coaching services are designed to help schools and school districts adopt sustainability practices that align with their strategic goals. Our work is guided by the GreenPrintâ„¢ for Green, Healthy, and Sustainable Schools and its five core principles: curriculum, stewardship, facilities and operations, health and well-being, and leadership. Along with our professional development collaborative partners, we are positioned to help schools and school districts adopt a culture of sustainability that permeates every aspect of education: planning, policy development, program implementation, finances, curricula, teaching, learning, assessment, and administration.

So...what can Green Schools National Network do for you? Read on to learn how the Network is partnering with the Texas Sustainable Schools Institute is help them in their efforts to equip school leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to create green, healthy, and sustainable schools.

The Texas Sustainable Schools Institute (TSSI) officially launched earlier this summer, a four-month sustainability program for Texas school transformation leaders. The institute is presented by  Benecras, a team of fractional sustainability officers who manage sustainability programs for schools nationally. Benecras has partnered with sustainability experts around the country, including the Green Schools National Network (GSNN), to deliver premier programming, training, and professional development. 

GSNN served as the Presenting Partner for the first TSSI Convening in Irving, Texas at Ladybird Johnson Middle School, Texas' first net-zero school. The convening brought together over 15 transformation leaders across Texas, and was centered on building sustainability background knowledge and crafting a sustainable school vision statement. 

TSSI is centered on equipping, inspiring, and supporting school transformation leaders across Texas to transform their campuses into sustainable school models. Over the course of the program, TSSI will bring together more than six Texas school transformation teams and their dedicated sustainability leaders to participate in the 15-week institute. TSSI fellows will participate in three in-person convenings and five subject-matter workshops, and will receive ongoing individual support to create, expand, or strengthen sustainability program(s) for their school and/or district. Upcoming convenings will take place in Austin, Texas this September. 

Ready to get started?

Contact for more information on the range of professional services that Green Schools National Network has to offer schools and school districts.

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