About CT Green LEAF Schools
CT Green LEAF has something to offer schools at every step in their journey toward Environmental and Sustainability Literacy (EL & SL). Whether you are taking baby steps or working your way toward excellence, we are here to support your journey towards sustaining growth as a CT Green LEAF School! Printable flyer
The Connecticut Green LEAF Schools program supports schools striving to make progress in three pillars:
Decrease your school's environmental footprint by implementing green policies; goals include maximizing energy and water efficiency, reducing waste, increasing recycling, and promoting energy efficient transportation
Comply with Connecticut school-based environmental health laws, promote healthy eating beyond the cafeteria, provides access to outdoor spaces, and offer health and wellness opportunities to students and staff
Integrate Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Literacy into school curriculum in more than one subject and grade level, and in alignment with the state’s Environmental Literacy Plan
Why Become a Connecticut Green LEAF School?
Connecticut Green LEAF Schools are healthy, productive learning environments. Studies show that a green school raises student academic achievement, saves money, and improves the health of students and staff. Schools with strong EL and SL build critical thinking skills by designing curriculum that provides interesting, relevant, and real-world contexts for learning core concepts and skills while aligning with NGSS, state standards, and district learning benchmarks. These schools are energized by a mission to make a difference in their school and community.
Environmental education (EE) contributes to overall academic achievement and higher performance on tests when it is strategically integrated into the curriculum. Students learn more effectively within a real-world, experiential-based context combined with more traditional classroom approaches.
Going green offers many health benefits for students and staff, including improved nutrition, physical and mental health. A focus on healthy eating, physical activity, time spent outdoors, and healthy environments lead to a decrease in obesity, asthma, and other illnesses and an increase in attendance rates.
Green schools are energy efficient, have lower utility costs, conserve resources, and reduce waste. Savings on energy, waste and water bills means extra money that can be used for academic and enrichment programs and facilities improvements, such as water filling stations.
Ready to join?
Only two simple things are required to become a CT Green LEAF School:
A Letter of Commitment signed by your school’s principal or district head
A completed Enrollment Form (coming soon!)
We encourage you to check out the many helpful links on this website. For inquiries about the CT Green LEAF Schools listserv, please email email@example.com
Your school is just starting out and making plans. You are determining how you would like to achieve your goals, establishing priorities, and setting timelines to help your school move to the next level.
Your school is making progress to put your green and healthy school plans into action. You are celebrating small changes and successes, such as professional development in EL and SL, curriculum integration, and greener facilities management.
Your school is now experiencing robust implementation of a green and healthy school plan in all three Green LEAF pillars. Your school has taken many actions to improve and expand a sustained school-wide Green LEAF culture.
Growing as a Connecticut Green LEAF School
Every school is unique and starts at a different level. The Connecticut Green Leaf Schools program accepts schools from all levels, from those that are just starting to those that have made significant progress toward greening their schools.
Ideas for Aligning to CT Green LEAF School Pillars
Reduce Environmental Impact and Cost. Your school can achieve goals in this pillar through initiatives such as student-led energy teams, class energy assessments, onsite renewable energy systems, food share tables, recycling, composting, decreasing single-use disposable trays and plasticware in the cafeteria, paperless classrooms, installing automatic light sensors, walk-to-school programs, and attaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), ENERGY STAR® , Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and other green building rating standards.
Improve the Health and Wellness of Students and Staff. Successful school strategies might include participating in the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools program, integrated pest management, green cleaning programs, exercise and wellness classes (i.e., yoga, Zumba, dance fitness) for students and staff; vegetarian and vegan food choices in the cafeteria; farm-to-school partnerships; butterfly, vegetable, and rain gardens and pollinator pathways; greenhouses; and outdoor classrooms, walking paths, schoolyard habitats, and other nature areas.
Provide Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education. There are several nationally recognized programs (e.g., Project Learning Tree, Project Wet, Project WILD, and Food, Land & People) connected to academic standards that offer teacher training and copy-ready lesson plans at little or no cost. Other ideas include field trips, project-based learning, service learning in the local community, STEM partnerships with businesses or universities, sustainability fairs, environmental restoration projects, and outdoor classrooms. Check our website often for teacher PD workshops designed to help you integrate environmental and sustainability education in your classroom curriculum.
Green Ribbon Schools
This is a U.S. Department of Education recognition program for K-12 schools, school districts, colleges and universities that have made significant progress in reducing their environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. CT Green LEAF Schools can nominate up to four Connecticut Green LEAF Schools annually for this prestigious award.