The Greater Essex County District School Board recognizes the interdependence of the environment, the economy and society and the challenge of balancing all three in building a healthy and sustainable future. To achieve this goal, the Board adopts the concept of sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The Board acknowledges its responsibility to help prepare students to meet this challenge. The Board aims to develop environmentally sound practices consistent with what students are learning in the classroom. In this way, curriculum and Board operations become part of a single organization dedicated to learning how to live in a more sustainable manner.
EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2006
POLICY REFERENCE: PL-06
In June 2005, the Greater Essex County School Board began preparations to launch a Board-wide Environmental Stewardship program to affect behavioural change among our staff and students in terms of energy conservation and environmental sustainability. A Board Environmental Stewardship Steering Committee was created to assist and support the implementation and ongoing success of this program.
The Greater Essex County District School Board wishes to acknowledge the contribution of “Ontario Eco-Schools Program” for providing the curriculum components and other resources so helpful in creating our own program.
Keeping the natural environment healthy for future generations depends on widespread participation. Schools have a vital role to play in achieving this goal. It is hoped that this initiative will make environmental protection not only a part of school life, but life at home and in the community.
Implement and sustain a system-wide environmental stewardship program throughout the Greater Essex County District School Board.
Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of this program are to:
- promote environmental stewardship for all staff and students;
- affect sustainable behaviour change in the use of energy and water;
- affect sustainable behaviour change in the management of waste;
- introduce and enhance environmental curriculum in the classroom;
- enhance the Board’s image in the community as a leader in environmental protection;
- promote a better partnership between Facility Services and the School Community;
- establish environmentally sound operational practices;
- develop a process for continual improvement in environmental education and operational practices within each school.
System Steering Committee
The System Steering Committee will include representatives from the Elementary and Secondary panels, Program Department and Facility Services. There may be a need to utilize other resources from time to time which may include personnel from other Board departments, Union affiliates and School Advisory Councils.
The Role of the System Steering Committee
- to be responsible for customization and maintenance of the Ontario Eco-Schools Program and ensuring its ongoing success;
- to provide ownership for the program at the Board level;
- to provide support to schools in terms of training, curriculum and recognition;
- to ensure consistency in its application at a school level;
- to be responsible for the sustainability of the process by:
- seeking opportunities for continuous improvement in the program
- ensuring adoption of best practices throughout the schools
- ensuring continuity in the program through school staffing changes
- providing ongoing communication and feedback to Senior Administration on the success of the program
- maintaining the integrity of the program.
Every school within the Greater Essex County District School Board will establish a school Eco-Team. This team is essential to the success of this Board-wide program.
The main goal of this team is to reduce their school’s energy consumption, minimize waste, green their school grounds and encourage staff, students, and their communities to become more ecologically responsible.
Essential members of the school Eco-Team are: Principal/Vice-Principal, Teachers, Custodian, and Students. To ensure the Eco-team represents your whole school community, it may also include: Support Staff, Parents/School Council, Student Parliament, and Office Staff.
The Role of the Eco-Team
As outlined in the Ontario Eco-Schools Five Step process, the team will:
- provide leadership for the school’s environmental program and encourage participation by the whole school community;
- meet regularly (monthly recommended);
- conduct annual eco reviews and report to the Greater Essex County District School Board as required;
- develop a realistic school action plan based on the results of the eco reviews;
- implement the school action plan, monitor and evaluate progress;
- assist in the communication and celebration of successes.
The Role of the Principal
As school leader, the Principal plays a significant role in helping make the Environmental Stewardship Program a genuine part of school life. Here are some supportive actions that a Principal can take to promote and celebrate the efforts of the school Eco-Team:
- publicly value this Board-wide initiative and explicitly support making environmental awareness and environmental protection a way of life;
- be an active positive member of the Eco-Team;
- invite and encourage staff members to become part of the team;
- actively encourage staff, students, and parents to support the school action plan in the classroom and throughout the school and community;
- recognize the importance of each individual’s part in the Eco-Team’s contribution;
- invite regular reports on the work of the Eco-Team at Staff meetings, School Council Meetings, School functions and Assemblies.
The Role of the School
- to actively support and encourage the practices as outlined in the school action plan;
- to make environmental consciousness an everyday part of school life;
- to promote the application of these practices in home and community.