Why Green & Healthy Schools?
We ask ourselves, what is the ideal picture of our schools? And as we hold onto that question, we begin to see healthy and high-performing places. We envision every student, from every walk of life, excelling to their fullest potential in safe and healthy environments. Teachers feel invigorated in their work, find innovative ways to teach, and collaborate freely with other staff, parents, community organizations, and businesses. School governance makes the best possible decisions to ensure the academic and financial success of their schools and districts. Local residents are proud to have such great neighbors. As we reimagine it and consider what is most important, a depiction of our schools starts to resemble a sanctuary of hope for the future.
Unfortunately for many, this picture has faded and our current descriptions of schools may not be as inviting. Some students, teachers, and staff attend schools that are considered substandard or dangerous to occupant health. Others find unfavorable conditions by experiencing daily hardships related to both financial and human resource constraints. The merit of achievement has disintegrated into the pressure to perform, and the once monumental image of our schools has been replaced with the likeness of a struggling artifact. And for the 20 percent of the United States residents that attend school every day, this shattered dream is a waking reality.
Green & Healthy Schools Academy acknowledges the current state of our schools, but remains optimistic that advancing the green and healthy school vision will be successful. We know that schools are complex, existing within every system, impacting every facet of life, and hold the key to our communal future. The Academy sees solutions to carrying out our vision by taking complementary, adaptive, and holistic approaches through programs, projects, education, and services that align our intent with our purpose. As we strive to help build the capacity to thrive in a new reality, there is opportunity to redefine and reshape the work our schools do. And as we take that journey, we will continue to ask what the ideal image of our schools looks like, and we believe it will look very similar to our original vision.