How Do You Become an Eco-School?
Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective "green" management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.
Schools that are certified in the program undergo a thorough application process and succeed in organizing and implementing a comprehensive assessment of their school. The Eco-Schools USA program is made up of seven steps, incorporating a variety of environmental pathways.
Once a school has registered and implemented these seven steps, it can apply for an Eco-Schools award. There are three levels of the award system. The first two levels are the Bronze and Silver awards which are self-assessed. The top level is the Green Flag award, which must be assessed by an Eco-Schools USA assessor and renewed every two years. A school is considered to be a permanent Eco-School once it has gained its fourth Green Flag.
A school can apply for any one of these levels depending on the level of criteria it has met under each of the seven steps. The Bronze Award Criteria, Silver Award Criteria and Green Flag Award Criteria, will help to give schools an idea of what stage they have reached and what level of award they could apply for.
What are the Seven Steps?
- Establish an Eco-Action Team
- Perform an Environmental Review / Audit
- Develop an Eco-Action Plan
- Monitor and Evaluate Progress
- Link to Educational Curriculum
- Involve the Entire School and Larger Community
- Create an "Eco-Code," or a Mission Statement
What are the Pathways to Becoming an Eco-School?
The National Wildlife Federation has identified a variety of areas of primary focus or "pathways" to help schools become an Eco-School: