Inverness Associates
Supporting schools in sustainability, strategic planning, governance, and leadership mentoring.

Green Schools of the Future for California

September 27, 2011

It was an exciting moment for the environmental sustainability movement this week when California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called for a major initiative to bring solar power to California schools when he released the Schools of the Future report, which I helped to prepare this past spring as a member of his task force.

The San Jose Mercury News reported on the Superintendent’s announcement at a school in San Mateo just south of San Francisco: 

         “The state's top educator wants every school in California to be like Aragon High -- powered by solar.  During a visit Monday to Aragon, where solar panels were recently installed, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled a report detailing how California could achieve this vision. The 90-page report by the Schools of the Future team, which Torlakson formed earlier this year, recommends that California streamline its school-building regulations and change state law to encourage campuses to install renewable-energy systems, among other measures. Torlakson is also urging legislators to put a statewide school-bond measure of $3 billion to $5 billion on the November 2012 ballot to help fund campus energy-efficiency projects.”

Following the report release, the California Department of Education (CDE) described the Superintendent’s priorities to advance environmentally sustainable schools by promoting energy efficiency and solar power, which they note will save the state billions of dollars.

  Importantly, the Superintendent also announced CDE will establish a Green Schools Award in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, in conjunction with the Green Ribbon Schools program announced in April.  The creation of a recognition program will ensure that all California schools can aspire to environmentally sustainable best practices in facilities, operations and curriculum.  And it will award those who are achieving exemplary results.

 For the CDE press release and the full text of the Schools of the Future Report, see