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2014 Healthy & High Performing Schools Symposium

Governor Pat Quinn and USGBC-Illinois invite you and your organization to participate as an attendee, sponsor or exhibitor at the Illinois Healthy & High Performing Schools Symposium, hosted by the USGBC-Illinois Chapter, the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council and Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire on Friday, April 18, 2014.  

This symposium for Illinois K-12 schools is an opportunity to exchange ideas with symposium participants such as school and district administrators, regional superintendents, school board members, facilities managers and custodial staff, teachers, school health practitioners, facility planners and architects, school-related non-profits and agencies, and high school student environmental leaders.

Speakers and workshops will cover topics such as sustainable school facility planning and siting, green facilities management, sustainable renovation and construction, energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and service learning, water conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable school transportation.

Register today!

2012 Sustainable Schools: Go Green Schools Symposium

The fourth annual K-12 Schools Symposium was held on April 13th 2012 from 8:30am to 3:00pm at Eric Solorio Academy High School located in Chicago's southwest Gage Park neighborhood. This year's K-12 Schools Symposium was a collaborative venture between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Governor's Green Government Coordinating Council (GGCC), and Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), a nonprofit promoting sustainable community development.

The Go Green Schools Symposium featured presentations from local, state, and federal policy-makers, educators, green businesses and non-profits. Workshops covered a variety of topics to give participants ideas for making schools across Illinois green. Green school construction and renovation, energy usage in the classroom, environmental education and health, and ways to finance sustainability projects are some of the areas that were discussed.

The symposium began with an opening plenary session featuring remarks from Eric Solorio Principal Victor Iturralde, CPS Director of Environmental Affairs Suzanne Carlson, and City of Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer Karen Weigert. Each speaker affirmed the critical role of sustainability in our Illinois educational system. The speakers agreed that the Eric Solorio Academy demonstrates a firm commitment to green education through its classroom curriculum and efficient operations.

“Mayor Emanuel is committed to building a Chicago where sustainability is embedded in everything we do, and what better place to start than in our schools,” said Karen Weigert. “A central focus of our sustainability efforts is to build a better environment for our children and we are proud that Chicago schools are leaders in this effort.”

Governor Quinn arrived at the symposium during the morning panels and spoke with a group of participating engineers.

“Embracing sustainability is good for the health of our people and our economy,” Governor Quinn said. “These schools are leaders in the green movement and proof that if everyone does a little, we can accomplish a lot towards our goal of making Illinois the greenest state in America.”

In addition to touring the Academy and speaking with students and administrators, Governor Quinn announced that three Illinois public schools were nominated for a new U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award program that recognizes exemplary achievement in environmental impact, student and staff health and the environmental literacy of graduates. Read more about this program and the nominated schools below.

Relive the symposium by exploring the presentations featured throughout the day.

Also visit the GGCC Flickr page to explore images from the symposium.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming months on our 2013 K-12 Symposium

Illinois Sustainable Schools Compact

The Illinois Sustainable Schools Compact program launched on January 31, 2008 features best practices that K-12 schools can voluntarily pursue to achieve greater environmental sustainability. Governor Quinn wants to challenge all Illinois schools to consider and pursue these practices, helping our communities and our state lead the way to a greener, cleaner future.

Find out more about the Illinois Sustainable Schools Compact program.

Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Award Program

On January 9th, 2012, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) launched the first Illinois Green Ribbon Schools awards program, recognizing schools that are leading the way to promote sustainability and environmental education. The program allows Illinois schools to apply for the federal Green Ribbon Schools program through the U.S. Department of Education.

Find out more about the Illinois Green Ribbon Schools program.

Green Cleaning Schools Act

The Green Cleaning Schools Act (Public Act 095-0084) became effective August 13, 2007, making Illinois the second state in the nation (after New York) to require the purchase and use of environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies in schools. The purpose of the Act is to protect students, teachers, staff, and other school building occupants by improving indoor air quality and reducing harmful exposure to chemicals in cleaning products.

Find out more about the Green Cleaning Schools Act

Environmental Literacy for Illinois 2010 Strategic Plan

The Illinois State Board of Education in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recently released a comprehensive Environmental Literacy for Illinois 2010 Strategic Plan. The plan is a must read that includes status updates on Illinois environmental education, potential career pathways, and comprehensive information on progressional education programs in sustainability.

Read the full plan and a letter of endorsement from the Illinois State Board of Education by clicking on the attached link, available here.

Green School FAQs

Interested in making your school green? Find out more here. This handout covers funding and general questions.

2011 Sustainable Schools Symposium

The third annual K-12 Schools Symposium was held on April 1, 2011, at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Governor Quinn gave the keynote address and presented the Environmental Hero Awards to ten environmental heroes from across Illinois. This year we had over 400 attendees, a record number for this Green Governments Coordinating Council sponsored event.

This symposium was an opportunity to exchange ideas with symposium participants such as school and district administrators, regional superintendents, school board members, facilities managers and custodial staff, teachers, school health practitioners, facility planners and architects, school-related non-profits and agencies, and high school student environmental leaders.

Speakers and workshops  covered topics such as sustainable school facility planning and siting, green facilities management, sustainable renovation and construction, energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and service learning, water conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable school transportation. 

View the 2011 Presentations

To view pictures from the Sustainable Schools Symposium please clickhere.

To see the 2010 presentations, click here.

For additional questions or inquiries about future K-12 Schools Symposiums, contact Gabriel Sulkes at gabriel.sulkes@illinois.gov.