Culture and Community

Culture and Community Ideas and Resources

School Philosophy and Culture

Environmental themes, concepts and Green School Projects are at the core of how staff and administration think about curriculum and building operations.

  1. School annually recognizes Earth Day with a school wide event.
  2. Administration invites Solid Waste Authority to speak to all students.
  3. Each year the school designs a new solid waste unit which is enriched with appropriate labs for each of the different science classes.
  4. School literature and website talk about the importance of their green school initiatives.
  5. School mission or philosophy statement clearly articulates or embodies the importance of creating a green school culture.
  6. School principals and other key administrators are consistent public advocates for greening their school.
  7. Regular presentations are made to the local community to demonstrate the successes and opportunities of Green School project for students.

Professional Development

Training of school staff is used intentionally as a way to build Green School capacity.

  1. Teachers are encouraged to attend green school workshops and training, including those that focus on environmental education, school gardens, STEM, renewable energy, etc.
  2. Schools support teachers’ passions by paying for substitutes and registration fees for green school related PD conferences.
  3. Some school-wide training is offered on topics supporting green school projects.
  4. Teachers are strongly encouraged to develop their own personal green school strategies through attending professional development programs. 
  5. Staff attends workshops that enhance their knowledge of green initiatives, community building and other green school topics.
  6. Training to prepare and support teachers for green school projects is provided and coordinated at the whole school level.


Green School activities are systematically included as core components of major planning efforts.

  1. Green events are planned by one teacher, parent or classroom.
  2. Green school goals are integrated into one grade level core competencies.
  3. School has formed a school-wide Green Team consisting of teachers, administrators, students, parents and community to coordinate the systematic planning and implementation of ongoing and new Green School activities.
  4. School planning documents identify measurable, realistic and exciting Green School objectives.
  5. School participates in a district wide Green Team meeting to address Green School initiatives across the district.
  6. Being a Green School is formally incorporated into the School Improvement Plan, and it is a standing agenda item as SAC and or faculty meetings.
  • 2012 High Performance Schools Guidelines The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction High Performance Guidelines have been developed to provide school systems and designers with useful and reliable design information to use as a basis for high-performance new schools, major additions, and renovations. The requirements in these guidelines will enhance the ability of local school systems to plan economical and  energy-efficient facilities that maximize value to their communities and provide healthy, comfortable, and inviting environments for learning.
  • USGBC Center for Green Schools Planning Guides
  • The Whole-School Sustainability Framework Guiding Principles for Integrating Sustainability Into All Aspects of a School Organization by the USGBC Center for Green Schools
  • Every School Can be a Green School Getting Started Checklist by the USGBC Center for Green Schools


Addresses how schools share with other schools and the community what they are doing to “green” their school. This indicator emphasizes the importance of communication and networking.

    1. Share your green stories with posters in the school.
    2. Use the school/district newsletter and/or website to present to the school community and beyond.
    3. Publish stories through local newspapers, magazines and media. 
    4. Present about your school’s activities at a local festival or event.
    5. Share on the NC Green Schools website.  Let us know what you’re up to! 

Community Partnerships

Non-school community members are engaged actively and regularly support students and teachers, and are invited to actively help plan and implement learning projects for and with students.


  1. The school works periodically with local organizations, businesses or non profits to engage the students with their community.
  2. The school has developed partnership relationship with community groups to use the classrooms for community presentations and events.
  3. The school library is used by the community.
  4. The school works regularly with a local organization to engage the students with an ongoing community project
  5. The school garden raises plants that they give to a local food bank.
  6. The school has policies and guidelines that create standing partnerships for community use of the campus.
  7. The school garden is a year round community garden.