NC Green School of Excellence, 2016-present
Evergreen Community Charter School is a leader in the Green Schools Movement. As a founding member of the Green Schools National Network, Evergreen has been involved for years in national efforts to establish networks and share best green practices. We were involved in the creation of the GSNN GreenPrint, a set of guidelines for becoming a green school. And, in 2012 we were honored as a US DOE Green Ribbon School of Excellence.
Evergreen’s school design uniquely brings together the Expeditionary Learning model with a mission focused on environmental literacy and social justice. This union encourages a curriculum that is holistic by design, academically rigorous and grounded in a strong connection with the natural world and local community. Our model is sustainable because, by design, our students and staff form deep, and meaningful relationships with one another, our community partners and friends throughout the learning cycle, which gives our curriculum a life of its own. Students, teachers, parents and school partners become invested and care deeply for the role Evergreen’s education plays in nurturing the lives of our students and our environment. This is a positive feedback cycle that sustains itself because it nurtures itself with service, care and compassion.
Evergreen is accomplished in each of the Green Schools Rubric components, which isn’t to say we don’t have work to do. In each component, we find we excel in many of activities listed and have work to do still in others. Overall, our strengths are in Community & Culture, Curriculum Integration and the Healthy Schools components, with more work to be done in the areas of School Sustainability. Evergreen students are at the heart of our Green School practices. We put them in the forefront, ask them to help guide us, learn alongside them, and find our inspiration from them. As a Green School, there is alignment with our educational philosophy and our environmental ethics. What is good for the earth is, most often, also good for our students and community. And, when we are faced with budget shortfalls, environmental problems, or social injustices, we find a source of brilliance and intelligence in the open hearts and minds of our students. They are the beacons of light that help us find our way towards a greener, more sustainable future.