The World in Our Classrooms: Integrating Diverse Perspectives in 21st Century Learning

Remember the song "It's a Small World (After All)"? Besides serving as the theme song for a popular Disney attraction, it's also an apt summation of the increasingly global make-up of our communities and K-12 schools. In fact, our nation's classrooms are more diverse than ever before - with multiple languages spoken, cultures represented, customs and traditions practiced. It gives the phrase "think global, act local" a whole new meaning.
The students of today are the global citizens of tomorrow. It's important that educators prepare them to live in an increasingly complicated, interconnected, and globalized society. This starts with understanding and celebrating the diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives that make up our school communities. It also means engaging students in authentic, culturally relevant learning that acknowledges their diverse backgrounds and learning styles. We cannot expect to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to co-create a sustainable future if we don't ensure the curriculum that we teach reflects the culture, interests, perspectives, and life experiences they bring into our classrooms.
As educators, it's our responsibility to create inclusive classrooms where all students have opportunities to build global skills and knowledge through learning about their peers' cultures and perspectives, and where they feel empowered to authentically contribute and be heard. This month, GreenNotes featured articles that show how schools and educators are making these opportunities possible for their students, as well as how equity plays an important role in creating meaningful learning experiences. Stories were contributed by Susan Santone, Centreville Elementary School, and Environmental Charter Schools.
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Mark your calendar for GivingTuesday - a global day of giving - on December 3, 2019. 

This year, we are asking for your continued support of GSNN to further raise awareness of the need for green, healthy, and sustainable schools while raising funds to continue our programmatic work with underserved populations. With your donations, we will partner with students, teachers, administrators, leaders, and professionals to create broad-based initiatives and successful strategies aimed at fostering sustainable schools across the United States. This important work will enable us to create and distribute tools and resources that maximize green, healthy, and sustainable best practices to the schools and districts that need our support the most. 

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Feature Articles

Celebrating Diversity is Not Enough

Global Green Education at Centreville Elementary School

Transforming Green and Sustainable School Curriculum Using Ethnic Studies Pedagogy

Roots of Diversity: Growing Culturally Significant Plants in the Classroom

Reprinted with permission from Green Teacher magazine. 
Learn with Green Schools National Network

Embedding SEL in School Climate and Culture

When: 4:00pm - 5:00pm ET on February 10, 2020
Cost: Free!

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is recognized as a critical component of student learning, fostering skills and dispositions in students that are critical for their success in navigating an increasingly complex and ever-changing world. This webinar will feature two New Mexico schools that are actively deepening their SEL practice and tracking impact. Zuni Middle School in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico will discuss how they are combining SEL development with A:shiwi Core Values to further traditional Indigenous culture. Vista Grande High School in Taos, New Mexico will share how SEL practices are enhancing Crew structures and daily lessons. Both schools will discuss actions that participants can take to integrate SEL into school culture.

2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo

When: March 2 - 4, 2020
Where: Hilton Portland Downtown, Portland, Oregon

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from and network with educational leaders, green building professionals, nonprofit partners, and others who are passionate about the future of green schools. Five tracks of programming will be offered:  

Track 1: Healthy School Environments
Track 2: Driving Cultural & Behavioral Change
Track 3: Kickstarting Sustainability Programs in Schools
Track 4: Designing Schools for the Future
Track 5: Engaging & Empowering Students

Both full and daily passes are available. Register before December 20, 2019 to save with early bird rates. Special room discounts are also available at the Hilton Portland Downtown until February 17, 2020.

Become a Green Schools National Network member and receive discounted registration pricing! Learn more about becoming a member.

Sustainability Leadership: A Road Map for Driving Innovation Through the Triple Bottom Line

Who: Executive Level and Building Level School Leaders
When: March 30 - 31, 2020
Where: Old Donation School, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Cost: Catalyst Network Members: $100
          GSNN Members: $200
          Non-Members: $250

Register at this link.

Join Green Schools National Network and 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Award recipient Virginia Beach City Public Schools for a 1.5 day exploration of
Sustainability Leadership: A Road Map for Driving Innovation Through the Triple Bottom Line . This site seminar is designed for Executive Level and Building Level leaders who are interested in learning how sustainability can help their districts reduce expenses while decreasing their ecological footprints; improve the health and well-being of those who work, learn, and play in their schools; and prepare students for college and careers in a future that will require new ways of thinking and learning. The site seminar will highlight how sustainability leaders, informed by Harvard University's Executive Education in Sustainability Leadership program, have developed purpose-driven ideas to drive innovation in organizational culture, operations and management, and teaching and learning.

Preparing Students for Green Careers

When: 4:00pm - 5:00pm ET on May 11, 2020
Cost: Free!

Growth in careers within environmental and sustainability fields is expected to trend upward for the foreseeable future. It's vital that educators prepare students to be leaders and innovators in these fields by equipping them with the skills needed to ideate, design, adapt, take risks, learn from mistakes, and collaborate with others. This webinar will feature two school districts that are giving students opportunities to hone these skills. Whitefish School District in Montana will share how their Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship offers students a fast track to a green future. Carson City School District in Nevada will discuss their strong CTE program and how it connects to many of the district's and city's sustainability initiatives.

Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai in Kenya

Who:  K-12 Educators
When:  July 14 - 27, 2020
Where:  Kenya, Africa, including stops in Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru, and Masai Mara
Cost:  $5,575 (based on a minimum of seven participants). Cost includes meals, accommodations, and activities as indicated in the itinerary; in-country transportation; full-time guide for the duration of the program; bottled water on the bus; and carbon offset. Does not include international airfare, estimated at $1,625 from Orlando, gratuities, or items of a personal nature. Other departure cities are available.

Exploring the Legacy of Wangari Maathai is a 13-day adventure designed for educators that follows the footsteps of the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. This field-based learning experience incorporates themes of cultural exchange, service-learning, and sustainability. Participants will receive transdisciplinary learning experiences that will deepen their understanding of the complexities that surround global environmental issues and inspire action. This professional learning experience provides the following opportunities:
  • Learn about Wangari Maathai by visiting her birthplace and the foundations, institutes, and programs that continue to advance her work;
  • Live and work with members of the Green Belt Movement;
  • Design curriculum for your classroom that integrates Wangari Maathai programs and ideas; and
  • Explore one of the world's most important and unique natural resources - the African Plains.
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