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King County Green Schools Program assists student teams, teachers, and other school and district staff to expand knowledge and understanding of sustainability and to take steps to become more sustainable.

Join the 14 school districts and more than 300 schools that have received assistance from the program, improved their conservation practices, and involved students in learning about sustainability and taking action in their schools, homes, and communities. Student teams working on sustainability receive guidance and recognition.

Read about the program mission, the assistance and supplies provided by the program and program steps in How it Works. Also see the program flierDownload PDF 160 K.

Check out the success stories about schools and districts that have received recognition.

Program vision

All K-12 students and staff in our service area (all of King County except City of Seattle) will learn about and engage in environmental stewardship and resource conservation in their schools, homes, and communities.

Program mission

To provide King County students, schools, and school districts with tools and support needed to

  • learn about resource conservation and sustainability.
  • initiate and expand waste reduction and recycling practices and other conservation actions.
  • involve the whole school community in environmental stewardship with attention to cultural differences, equity and social justice, and best practices for engagement.
  • operate environmentally efficient and responsible facilities.

The program is sponsored by King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Solid Waste Division.

Eligible schools and school districts

Public and private K - 12 schools and school districts in King County, outside the City of Seattle, are eligible to participate. Student teams working on sustainability receive guidance, workshops, and recognition.

Program priorities in 2021-22

  • Expanding student learning, action, and leadership, with more emphasis on:
    • why sustainable actions matter.
    • mentoring (with older students mentoring younger students and experienced Green Schools mentoring less experienced schools in each district).
    • student-centered activities (including opportunities to influence systems change and to help build the transition to a more equitable, low-carbon circular economy where materials and resources are conserved, greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and green jobs created).  Student leadership, initiative, advocacy, and creativity will be encouraged.
  • Facilitating a network of student teams, schools, and districts to learn from and support each other. As in 2020-21, we will offer virtual gatherings to foster connections and collaboration.
  • Increasing equity in program delivery and outcomes. Our priority will be assistance where needs are greatest: low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant and refugee populations. Priority districts are Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, and Renton, and priority schools are the schools in those districts and any school serving 40% or more free and reduced meals. We will provide priority schools with indoor recycling bins, if needed, up to a maximum of $250 (with up to a maximum of $150 for other program participants), and more trainings and on-site visits (pending school/district rules about guest visitors).
  • Virtual communication and in-person visits
    • To reduce use of fossil fuels, we plan to meet virtually with student teams, school staff, and district staff when a virtual meeting will be possible and effective.
    • Program representatives are available by phone and email to provide assistance and support.
    • Program representatives will follow school and district rules pertaining to guest visitors to school facilities. Due to COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant, those rules may change as the school year progresses.
    • In-person visits (if permitted by schools and districts) will be reserved primarily for:
      • new school participants.
      • schools serving 40% or more free and reduced meals.
      • schools which have not had an active Green Team, Green Schools, or Sustainability team for three or more years.
      • schools needing on-site help to initiate or re-start significant, priority conservation strategies such as reducing food waste, reducing single-use products, and other strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Eco-Warrior student team at McMicken Heights Elementary School celebrates its energy conservation efforts
The Eco-Warrior student team at McMicken Heights Elementary School celebrates its energy conservation efforts
Pacific Cascade Middle School students create an herb garden at their school
Pacific Cascade Middle School students create an herb garden at their school
Tesla-STEM High School students present about climate change
Tesla-STEM High School students present about climate change

Equity & social justice

King County Green Schools Program is committed to equity and social justice, and these values guide and shape the program. Program services are available regardless of location in the community, income level, race, and other student demographics. The program is working to identify and reduce barriers to participation and to ensure equitable allocation of resources. We seek to be responsive, inclusive, collaborative, people-focused, adaptive, and racially, culturally, and economically just.

What program participants are saying about King County Green Schools Program

As always...thank you for making this possible and allowing us to make positive changes for our school.
Scott Morgan, teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Federal Way Public Schools

You have been so attentive and helpful. I feel spoiled by your warm personality and willingness to step in and support any way you can!
Jennifer Walsh, teacher, McMicken Heights Elementary School, Highline Public Schools

Thanks so much for coming to Green Teams’ first meeting. We really appreciated that you were willing to lead the discussion and activities for us. It set us up well for the next meeting.
Melissa Muller, teacher, Clark Elementary School, Issaquah School District

The King County Green Schools Program mission is fantastic, and I think the program is tangible, with real-world impacts.
Santoshi Pisupati, 11th grade student, International Community School, Lake Washington School District

Thank you for your dedication to the Green Schools cause! Could not do it without your awesome on-going support!
Jonathan Stine, resource conservation manager, Renton School District

Thanks for all your support. We so appreciate you!
Dawn Wakeley, curriculum director, Tahoma School District

Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal