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Green Learning

Cupertino Green Schools Resources

Cupertino Green Schools Resources

Action Items

Find Current Status

Convene a Team

Finalize an Action Plan

Additional Resources

Cupertino’s Eco-Art Gallery

Contact Us


Cupertino is widely recognized for its K-12 public schools and community college. In recent years, our schools have shown significant environmental leadership in our community by installing renewable energy technologies, achieving aggressive green building standards and teaching lessons of climate and natural resource stewardship. Students, parents, educators and school administrators can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and build a sustainable Cupertino through the following activities:

Find Current Status

First find out what’s already happening at your school: 

Convene a Team

Next convene a team of students, teachers and administrators to identify opportunities to expand your school’s existing environmental activities:Lawson eClub Video - Earth Day 2009

  • Evaluate and benchmark existing policies (i.e. building, purchasing, capital improvement planning), curriculum and activities to make your school healthy
  • Establish a baseline of (1) energy/fuel consumed (2) water consumed (3) waste generated and (4) indoor air quality working with internal departments, external regulatory bodies and local utilities
  • Build upon your past and present environmentally-focused activities to create a commitment to reduce your school’s climate change impacts by crafting an environmental action plan with short and long-term targets (i.e. school board resolutions, toxic-free purchasing plan, school recycling/composting program, IT monitoring software) to reduce these impacts 
  • Develop a communications strategy to introduce and engage students, teachers, parents and school board members in your new environmental action plan.
  • Encourage student participation to implement your environmental action plan by hosting competitions between grades or among neighboring schools.

Finalize the Action Plan

Finally create, implement and monitor your action plan, including:

  • Learning through green classrooms
    •  Integrate environmental topics into curriculum such as climate change, water conservation, waste and resource management
    • Opt for experiential education outside the classroom in schoolyards, gardens, local parks or through a field trip
    • Teach stewardship through hands-on activities to green your school such as tracking your school’s energy and water use, transforming your school lunch program or monitoring ecological and cost benefits associated with an environmentally preferred purchasing program
  • Growing green schoolyards and school lunchrooms
    • Create time in schedule for outdoor coursework, experiments and play
    • Select an existing outdoor space and create a vegetable or butterfly garden
    • Minimize impervious surfaces and evaluate options for removing asphalt for creating a school garden
    • Set an example by bringing produce grown in your school’s garden to the lunchroom table – make certain children and teachers have healthy food choices for meals and snacks
    • If your garden isn’t quite productive enough to provide food for meals and snacks consider partnering with a local famer or community garden to buy local (and organic!) produce
    • Divert waste from the landfill by implementing a composting program – contact Cupertino’s Environmental Program to learn more
    • Always encourage the use of reusable dishware – for students (and teachers) that buy or pack lunch
  • Building and maintaining green facilities
  • Green Commuting, Fleets and Equipment
    • Encourage students to ride their bike, walk, commute or take public transportation to their school or campus
    • Ensure your school maintains air quality compliance for its fleet and mobile equipment
    • Investigate alternative fuel/power options for fleet and equipment
    • Retrofit and replace buses with low emissions alternatives through the Lower Emissions School Bus Program.
  • Track and evaluate progress
    •  Conduct an annual audit to monitor levels of waste, energy, water consumed and associated costs and savings
    • Collect feedback from students, parents, teachers and administrators on action plan activities to identify opportunities to expand or refocus the program
    • Modify the action plan as required to achieve climate change/ environmental goals established in the process
    • Encourage students to develop their own personal sustainability plan to reduce climate change impacts in their own homes as part of other organizations (i.e. Girl/Boy Scouts, within their congregations, sports teams)

Learning Through Green Classrooms

Promote environmental awareness through art. Teachers can engage students in an art activity that safely reuses existing materials or is based on an environmental theme. Visit Cupertino’s Eco-Art Gallery based on the theme “What does sustainability (or sustain-ability) in Cupertino mean to you?” for inspiration!

Additional Ideas & Resources

For additional ideas and more information visit:
The Green Schools Initiative
EPA’s Protect the Environment: At School Page
EPA’s Green Schools Checklist
US Green Building Council’s Build Green Schools Initiative
Go Green Initiative
Solar Schools
Home Depot Foundation Grant Programs

California-specific Resources
CA Bright Schools Program
Green California Schools Summit
California Climate Change and Energy Education Resources Catalog
San Francisco Green Schoolyard Initiative
Flex Your Power

Higher Education Resources
De Anza College Sustainability Website
AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
The College Sustainability Report Card

Last updated: 10/13/2016 9:13:49 AM