Make It Happen
1.2 million students spend their days in K-12 schools across Washington State. You can ensure they gain the skills and hands-on learning opportunities needed to be successful leaders. Our state depends upon the next generation… And Washington Green Schools is working with you to give them the tools they need to succeed.
We provide a certification system for schools to achieve sustainability goals.
Washington Green Schools facilitates a framework for students to investigate environmental issues at school, create an action plan, and make a meaningful lasting change on campus. To become recognized as a certified Washington Green School, schools certify in one or more of six environmental categories:
- Healthy School Buildings
- School Grounds & Gardens
- Waste & Recycling
New this year: At-Home Certification
WGS has created an At–Home Certification Kit that educators and Green Team leaders are able to use as they see fit. This Kit provides students with step by step instructions for how to get certified as well as hands-on activities to deepen understanding of climate change. Students are not required to complete the entire Kit in order to get certified. In order to certify, students must complete an at–home action project, fill in the Carbon Calculator Tool with the help of their teacher, and submit a report card.
- Download and explore the Kit (will open as a copy of a Google Doc)
How It Works:
Our online Report Card guides you through the certification process. To become a certified Washington Green School, you complete the six-step process and submit your completed Report Card to Washington Green Schools. This fun and fulfilling certification process involves forming a Green Team, choosing an environmental category, planning a meaningful project, recording your progress in your school’s Report Card, and trumpeting your achievements to the Washington Green Schools community.
Learn how to start a Report Card.
Six Steps to Certification
Get Ready to Go Green!
Certification is actually just a fancy name for completing your first Washington Green Schools environmental project. This means you don’t have to be certified to start participating! Once you successfully complete these six steps for the first time, you will attain Bronze level certification. Every project after that will advance your school to a higher level of recognition and rewards (see below).
Here are the details:
Build Your Green Team
A Green Team can take many shapes and sizes – from two students with an adult leader to an entire classroom, an after-school club, or even the whole student body. You’ll need to obtain an administrator’s approval and meet regularly to ensure success. The Green Team chooses an environmental category to focus on and sets a goal.
Assess Your School
Completing the assessment in your chosen category will give you a big picture snapshot of your school’s current status in this area. This step will also help you discover opportunities for improvement, so you can determine a meaningful action project to tackle for the year. Complete all of the questions in Step Two on the online Report Card to receive your points.
Make a Lasting Change
Based on your findings from Step Two, determine and implement your “Lasting Change” action project for the year. Look for ways that you can engage different members of the school community in your efforts. Create clear signage, produce a training video, recruit student volunteers, or come up with other ideas you think will spread awareness and inspire action. Record the results on your online Report Card and you’re ready for Step Four.
Verify Your Impact
After implementing your Lasting Change, you’ll analyze its impact. Results mean different things for different school communities – some are able to make a huge measurable change in one year, while for others baby steps are a significant accomplishment.
Share Your Story
This is your opportunity to celebrate your Green Team’s positive impact with the rest of your school, and inform and inspire others in the community. There are many ways to share your efforts. Write an article for the school newsletter. Give a presentation at a monthly PTA meeting. With help from Washington Green Schools, your Green Team can write a press release to share with local news outlets.
Certify and Celebrate!
Congratulations! You’ve completed Steps One through Five. Now it’s time to carefully review your Report Card to make sure it’s clear and thorough, and then submit it for certification. Once it’s approved by the Washington Green Schools review team, your school will be Bronze Level certified in your chosen environmental category. You’ll also get a Washington Green Schools flag to fly proudly at your school. It’s time to schedule an awards assembly and recognize the hard work of the Green Team and the entire school community.
**Schools that certify must recertify within two years of their first previous certification. Learn more about recertification.
Earning Higher Levels of Recognition
Once your school has completed a Report Card in one environmental category, you can choose a new category to address and advance to Silver, Gold and Platinum status. Here’s how it works:
Certification in 6 Environmental Categories
Certification in 3, 4 or 5 Environmental Categories
Certification in 2 Environmental Categories
Certification in 1 Environmental Category
Many schools tackle a new environmental category each year, while maintaining their Lasting Changes in previous environmental categories. Check out our interactive map or school stories to see examples of how schools advance through the program.
Your Washington Green Schools certification will last two years. We set this timeline because environmental action doesn’t end when you submit your Report Card. Sustainability is more than a singular accomplishment — it will progress and evolve as Green Teams embed environmental stewardship within their communities. Once you recertify, you and your Green Team elevate your award (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) to the Sustaining Level. Learn more about Recertification.
Rave Green Certification
The Seattle Sounders FC have partnered with Washington Green Schools to support and motivate youth to be stewards of the environment through the new Rave Green Certification program. Your school earns Rave Green Certification when you reach or sustain Gold or Platinum status. Rave Green schools are eligible to receive Sounders FC prizes and experiences like autographed memorabilia, player meet-and-greets, and match tickets.
Questions about Washington Green Schools certification? Read our Frequently-Asked-Questions or contact us.