Since February, the U.S. Department of Education has invited national, regional, and local non-profits, foundations, businesses, and community-based organizations to share their bold commitment(s) to advance school sustainability, encompassing infrastructure, health, environmental sustainability education, climate, and environmental justice in America. Over 30 organizations made commitments, ranging from local efforts to national campaigns. These commitments demonstrate the wide range and scope of actions needed to ensure sustainable schools for all students.
Sample national commitments*:
- World Resources Institute pledges to support an equitable transition to electric school buses through technical assistance to school districts; the development of an Electric School Bus Ambassador program; and application support for federal funding.
- EcoRise will provide Eco-Audit Grants to fund sustainability projects in schools across the U.S. which engage students in learning about sustainable themes, collecting and analyzing data, and designing solutions based on their community’s needs.
- Trane Technologies, as part of the company’s 2030 Sustainability Commitments, is investing $100 million and 500,000 employee volunteer hours to help diverse students have the resources and inspiration to create a more sustainable future.
- Center for Green Schools will build a new knowledge-sharing and professional learning network for school capital projects leaders in over 50 school districts within two years to increase the ability for school teams to design and build sustainable schools. The CfGS will also work with school districts around the country to hire sustainability staff, with a goal of sustainability positions in at least 75 of the largest 100 school districts.
- Generation180 commits to providing resources to support K-12 schools in disadvantaged communities and Justice40 communities in accessing federal funds and incentives for clean energy, resilience, and clean transportation for as long as funds are available.
- Children & Nature Network will expand the network of over 180 co-signing leaders and partners in the field to update the Green Schoolyards Action Agenda and the shared vision that “all U.S. communities offer access to green schoolyards by 2050 to enhance children’s healthy development, community wellbeing and positive environmental impacts.”
Sample regional commitments*:
- Green Building Alliance will unite and lead a network of like-minded facility professionals and school leaders in Western Pennsylvania school districts on their journey to reduce carbon emissions by 50-65% by 2030.
- California Climate Ready Schools Coalition will work with California state policy makers to develop and implement a policy framework that will ensure all 11,000 school buildings in the state are healthy places for children to learn, decarbonized, and climate-resilient.
- Nature’s Classroom will offer affordable outdoor education, with curricula aligned to Massachusetts standards.
- Rhode Island Environmental Education Association plans to promote and support environmental, sustainability, and climate education in 20% of Rhode Island schools by providing teacher professional development over 2023-2024 academic year.
Sample local commitments*:
- Climate Parents of Prince George’s County (MD) will advocate for the implementation of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland, Climate Change Action Plan, provide community support for PGCPS to achieve the goals outlined in the plan, and share knowledge and best practices with other community-based organizations that are striving to achieve similar actions.
- Miami-Dade County Council Parent Teacher Student Association (FL) will advance the 100% Clean Energy by 2030 commitment in Miami-Dade County Public schools. It will assist other parent, teacher, and student organizations across Florida to lobby for 100% clean energy commitment in their school districts.
- Bellingham Public Schools (WA) will, by 2028, develop a process to continually and systematically reduce environmental impacts and improve health and resiliency by balancing human, environmental, and economic priorities.
- 15 Minute Field Trips will mentor youth to create and expand green infrastructure in their neighborhoods and increase after-school environmental programming in South Providence, RI.
Organizations can still complete this online form to share how your entity will advance school infrastructure and sustainability priorities. We encourage organizations to address at least one of the following parameters in your commitment submission: Environmental Justice, Health, Climate Action, Capacity Building, Data Collection and Standardization, and Transparency and Goal-Setting.
Commitments are part of the ED Infrastructure and Sustainability initiative which promotes equitable access to healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century school facilities, and environmental sustainability education through several communication and outreach strategies. Learn more about the initiative, resources that are available for all, and keep up to date with national school sustainability news.
*Commitments have been edited for brevity. Commitments do not necessarily reflect actions, beliefs, or commitments of the U.S. Department of Education.