Inverness Associates
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The Green Schools Express

The Green Schools Express                                    October 2010

This year as part of my effort to learn about the environmental movement in our nation’s schools, I will be visiting roughly fifty schools and a number of local, regional and national conferences across the country. Encouraged by my friends at the National Association of Independent Schools, especially Vice President Jefferson Burnett,  the Center for Ecoliteracy and the Green Schools Initiative in Berkeley, Sustainable Schools in Massachusetts, and colleagues in schools nationwide, I have identified some of the leading schools in an effort to document best practices in environmental sustainability programs.

My journey will take me to New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, the South, the Midwest, and Southern and Northern California.  The visits will be focused on the following questions:


1. Commitment--What is the School’s vision for environmental sustainability? Mission, Strategic Plan, Goals, Objectives?  Why is the school committed?


2. Leadership--How is the environmental initiative governed? Who are the leaders, how is the program staffed and governed, with what resources?  What is Board’s role?


3. Programs—What are the school’s noteworthy programs? Energy and Resources, Ecological Curriculum, Nutritious Food, Healthy Environment, Community Practices?


4. Impact—What are the reasons for the program’s success?  How is it evaluated?


5. Challenges—What obstacles have you met and how have you overcome them?  Financial, behavioral, resources, other?


6. Future plans—What is next for your school?  How will you assure continuation of the program and your commitment?


Like Alexis de Tocqueville in the nineteenth century, I will be searching for the democratic spirit that today is inspiring the environmental movement in our schools.  Read about my travels in the News Section at


Paul Chapman