On Friday, March 8th, 2019, a group of school principals, school district leaders, and public agency staff met in San Francisco at the headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for the first seminar of the 2019 Bay Area Principals’ Institute.
First offered in 2016, the Green Schoolyards America Principals’ Institute supports school administrators in their pivotal role as leaders of their school community and champions of a healthy and dynamic school environment. Over the course of this year-long program, our staff will provide resources, advice, and professional development to support participating principals and school district leaders in adopting and sustaining comprehensive, high quality, green schoolyard programs at their schools and in their districts.
Through the Institute’s seminars and schoolyard learning walks, participants will also develop connections and relationships with other professionals in their own districts and beyond, who can help support their green schoolyard work. The 2019 Bay Area cohort includes three local school districts, as well as a number of independent schools in the area. Our program also often includes participants from partner agencies and nonprofit organizations. We have already seen results from the connections made on the first day of this year’s program and we look forward to growing this network and “community of practice” as the Institute progresses.
Over the course of the year-long Institute, we will cover a wide range of green schoolyard topics focused on the question of how to make the most of school ground land for PreK-12 students’ learning, play and health, community engagement, and ecological resilience.
Our first seminar on March 8th provided an overview of the green schoolyard field and introduced participants to the multitude of benefits that can be achieved by greening school grounds. Our CEO, Sharon Danks, shared inspiring case-studies from around the world and current trends within the global movement. Our Program Director, Dr. Raymond Isola, provided insights and examples of how schoolyard greening works in practice, from his own experience as an elementary school principal in San Francisco. SFPUC Watershed Planner, Sarah Bloom, gave a lively presentation about how greening school grounds and removing asphalt helps the SFPUC to manage San Francisco’s urban watersheds. During the last part of the day, our Program Manager, Erica Fine, led participants through a number of exercises to help them assess their own school grounds and existing policies and programs, to better understand the opportunities for green schoolyard improvement. This work will serve as the foundation of their individual green schoolyard projects, which help participants to apply what they learn to their own contexts.
The next seminar for our Bay Area Principals’ Institute cohort is May 3rd, and will focus on how to use school grounds to improve health and well-being. In the meantime, we look forward to touring local school grounds with our participants to see examples of what green schoolyards look like on the ground.
Enrollment is now open for our 2019-2020 Principals’ Institute cohort in the Los Angeles region. Click here for more information about how to sign up!
We are grateful to our sponsors and partners for supporting the 2019 Bay Area Principals’ Institute!
Program sponsor: Indra Designs
If you or your organization are interested in supporting our Bay Area or Los Angeles Principals’ Institutes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.