Donate Donate

Silver Award

The Silver Award is the second of three award levels in the Eco-Schools USA program. To be eligible for the Silver Award, a school must follow the Seven Step Framework to complete at least two pathways. While many schools begin by working on a single pathway to achieve a Bronze Award, a school may elect to begin work toward a Silver Award straight away.

Silver Awards are self-assessed by school applicants. Registered Eco-Schools may submit their self-assessments through their school dashboard to receive the award and download a certificate of recognition.



Already earned a Silver Award? Download a sample press release to personalize and share with media.

students with a garden box

Award Criteria

A school must earn 200 points to receive a Silver Award. To reach 200 points, actions must be taken at each of the seven steps as outlined below.

Download the Silver Award checklist to track your school's progress and confirm you are meeting the criteria to receive a Silver Award.

Silver Award Checklist

Step 1: Form an Eco-Action Team

  • The school has identified an Eco-Action Team comprised of students, teachers, and community members. (10 points)
  • The Eco-Action Team meets a minimum of six times a year. (10 points)
  • Students are part of the decision-making process and share responsibility for keeping minutes at each meeting, as appropriate by age. (5 points)
  • Student members of the Eco-Action Team share information, actions, and events with the whole school. (5 points)

Total: 30 points

Step 2: Conduct an Environmental Audit

  • An environmental audit is completed for at least two pathways using the Eco-Schools USA audit forms for the team’s chosen pathways. (20 points)
  • Students play an active role in conducting the environmental audits. (10 points)
  • Results of the audits are shared with the whole school. (5 points)

Total: 35 points

Step 3: Create an Eco-Action Plan

  • The Eco-Action Team uses results from the pathway audits to inform and develop an action plan that includes measurable actions. (20 points)
  • The Eco-Action Plan is used to take at least one action at the school for each pathway, addressing areas for environmental improvement. (10 points)
  • The Eco-Action Plan is shared with the whole school and greater community. (5 points)

Total: 35 points

Step 4: Monitor and Evaluate Progress

  • The Eco-Action Team monitors and reviews progress against the Eco-Action Plan's goals and timeline. (15 points)
  • A digital, oral, and/or written progress report is provided to the whole school. (5 points)
  • The school shows significant progress on one project focused on the two selected pathways or one project for each of the two selected pathways. (5 points)
  • The post-action audits for the selected pathways have been completed. (10 points)

Total: 35 points

Step 5: Link to Curriculum

  • At all grade levels students are engaged in interdisciplinary, authentic learning experiences around environmental topics. (15 points)
  • Students' environment-based learning experiences are rooted in inquiry and allow them to hone and apply science and engineering practices. (10 points)

Total: 25 points

Step 6: Involve the Community

  • The school has a prominent, designated way to communicate with the whole school and greater community, such as a bulletin board, website, or newsletter that details Eco-Schools activities and accomplishments. (10 points)
  • Multiple grade levels, along with community volunteers, engage in a minimum of three Eco-Schools USA related activities, such as (but not limited to) Eco-Action Team meetings, classroom or whole-school speaking engagements, audit support, and professional services support. (10 points)

Total: 20 points

Step 7: Create an Eco-Code

  • The Eco-Action Team develops an Eco-Code with input from the whole school. The code is then agreed upon, adopted, and prominently displayed by the school. (20 points)

Total: 20 points