About Missouri Green Schools
Missouri Green Schools provides the tools and resources for schools to set and track environmental, health, and sustainability education goals that lead to recognition and cost savings for a wellness focused future. Missouri Green Schools is a program of the Missouri Environmental Education Association and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter.
Vision: All Missouri schools are places that promote equitable and sustainable environments that ensure the overall health and wellbeing of their community.
Mission: To support all Missouri 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.
Missouri Green Schools is a program designed to help Missouri schools improve the health and wellness of students and staff, reduce environmental impact, and incorporate environmental and sustainability education. Schools can see stronger educational outcomes and reduced costs as a result of big and small changes that also help the environment. These changes can happen throughout educational programming, school building and grounds, and culture.
Since 2016, Missouri Green Schools has partnered with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to nominate Missouri schools for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award. In 2020, Missouri Green Schools is beginning its pilot phase as a state-level recognition program!
Who is MGS for?
Missouri Green Schools (MGS) is a tracking and recognition program for early childhood through 12th grade schools in Missouri. Schools can enroll at any time to begin their self-guided journey using MGS tools. If a school would like to be reviewed for recognition they must fill out this form by June 30 and it will be reviewed over the summer.
Additional support is provided for schools that have 60% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Through this program they have access to one-on-one support to set goals and track progress. There is also financial support available for staff professional development and through small grant opportunities. (Kansas City and Northwest Missouri excluded from extra support at this time.)
Benefits of Participation
Through the Missouri Green Schools tracking program, schools can receive state and national recognition for their sustainability efforts. Missouri Green Schools offer multiple levels of achievement recognition, from just starting your green journey, to national recognition for your schools efforts through a nomination for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School award. Recognition can open up additional funding opportunities from local, state, and national “green” grants and programs.
There are a lot of ways that “going green” can save your school money – money that can be reinvested in educational programming. For example, the Parkway school district has saved $2.2 million since 2015 by making energy efficient improvements to HVAC systems, plug loads, kitchen equipment, building envelope, and adding onsite renewable energy sources. Other buildings found up to 25% savings on energy costs when they applied simple behavioral and operational measures. Missouri Green Schools can help you figure out the best way to make green changes that also pay off.
We know that healthier students are better learners. The health of our surroundings and environment has a direct connection to our personal health and wellness. And we know this is important for students and staff. “The peer-reviewed literature from the last decade-plus demonstrates that good environmental education programs can positively influence students’ academic performance, knowledge, skills, confidence, motivation, and behavior.” – Dr. Marc Stern (Virginia Tech University)
Missouri Green Schools participants have access to teacher and administrative professional development opportunities through the Sustainability Institute for Educators and the Missouri Environmental Education Association.
Creating healthy, more efficient schools that work to improve the surrounding community creates positive community relationships, while helping to attract and retain staff. Working on projects like community gardens or service projects can bring the school and community together, while creating shared goals for the future.
When students apply their learning to real world situations that are relevant and meaningful to their lives, education comes to life. They begin to consider their role in affecting change and making decisions in response to real-world issues.
How to Participate
A school may enroll at any time by following these steps:
1. Fill out the enrollment form
2. Complete a commitment letter
3. Create an action plan for at least one goal
Once you have finished those steps you will need to sign up for the digital, user-friendly Sustainability Tracking and Roadmap Tool (START) to benchmark your progress throughout your green school journey. More information can be found on the Participate page.
Levels of Achievement: Missouri Green Schools
Growing levels of support and awareness at each step.
The MGS committee
Hannah Carter, United States Green Building Council
Mike Dittrich, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
Kat Golden, Missouri Botanical Garden
Erin Graves, Dunklin R-5 School District
Hope Gribble, U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter
Sister Sharon Horace, Volunteer
Traci Jansen, Kirkwood School District
Jamie Kisela, Friends of the Rainforest and The Children’s Community: A Microschool
Erik Leuders, Parkway School District
Lesli Moylan, Missouri Environmental Education Association
Christine Nobbe, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE)
Kathleen Larkins, MGS Support VISTA
Ben Freiman, MGS Partner Network Coordinator VISTA
Stacey Parker “Parker”, MGS Support VISTA
Wilford Pinkney, Jr., City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families
Lynne Scott, Principia School
Jan Weaver, Retired