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Program summary

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.

  • King County schools and districts may progress through three program levels: Level One, Level Two, and Level Three. Beyond Level Three, schools and districts may receive recognition as a Sustaining Green School or Sustaining Green School District each year they sustain and build on Level One through Three practices.
  • King County provides assistance, resources, tools, and support.
  • Student Green Teams or other student groups working on resource conservation receive guidance, resources, and recognition.
  • After completing criteria in each level, participating schools and districts receive recognition. Schools and districts that do not complete the criteria are still eligible to receive assistance.
Camelot Elementary students in lunch room
Camelot Elementary students help to start the new recycling program in the lunchroom.

Program steps

  1. Form a Green Schools team to educate students and staff members about conservation, encourage sustainable practices, and help conserve resources.
    • For schools: School teams include two or more staff members such as a teacher, an administrator (principal or assistant principal), or custodian. Parents/guardians/family members and community volunteers also may be involved. A student team such as a Green Team, ASB, or other student group is encouraged, but not required. After a school signs up to participate, the program can advise the school on forming and developing a student team.
    • For school districts: District level teams include district staff members such as a resource conservation manager, curriculum director, facility manager, maintenance supervisor, transportation direction, food services manager, and similar positions. The purchasing manager, superintendent, capital projects director, and interested principals, teachers, students, and family or community members can join the district team.
  2. Complete a program application: one application is for schools, and the other is for school districts. Include on the application form the names, titles, and contact information for at least two staff members (see above).
  3. If recognition is desired, complete Level One: Waste Reduction and Recycling with assistance from King County.
  4. Celebrate successes and receive recognition.
  5. If desired, complete Level Two and Level Three – and then, beyond Level Three, become a Sustaining Green School or Sustaining Green School District.

Level One

Level One focuses on waste reduction and recycling practices. With King County assistance, participants review the Best Practices Guideand complete actions and education/outreach in waste reduction and recycling. Your school can set up and maintain an effective waste reduction and recycling program with assistance from King County and the Level One Best Practices Guide.

By following Level One best practices, schools and districts reduce garbage volumes, increase recycling, and conserve natural resources. Many participants reduce garbage disposal costs after improving their waste reduction and recycling practices.

Level Two

To receive recognition as a Level Two Green School or Green School District, participants complete the following:

  • Maintain Level One practices.
  • Add one more waste reduction or recycling practice or educational/outreach strategy from the Level One Best Practices Guide.
  • Complete criteria in the Energy Conservation Best Practices Guide.

If desired, Level Three can be completed before Level Two.

Level Three

To receive recognition as a Level Three Green School or Green School District, participants complete the following:

  • Maintain Level One and Level Two practices. (If your school skips Level Two to focus on Level Three, then only Level One practices need to be maintained.)
  • Add one more waste reduction or recycling practice or educational/outreach strategy from the Level One Best Practices Guide.
  • Complete criteria in the Water Conservation Best Practices Guide.

Beyond Level Three

Sustaining Green School / Sustaining Green School District

To receive recognition as a Sustaining Green School or Sustaining Green School District, participants complete the following:

Schools and districts receive recognition

Participants will be recognized after completing criteria in each program level.

Recognition for schools

Each school that completes Level One receives:

  • "We are a King County Green School" banner
  • Summary of the school's conservation successes on the program website

After meeting criteria in each program level, each school receives:

  • A Level Two or Level Three sticker for its banner, or a Sustaining Green School ribbon to hang on its banner
  • Updated summary of the school's conservation successes on the program website

Recognition for school districts

Each school district that completes Level One receives:

  • Certificate of recognition
  • Summary of the district's conservation successes on the program website
  • Mention in a press release issued by King County

After meeting criteria in each program level, each school district receives:

  • Certificate of recognition
  • Updated summary of the district's conservation successes on the program website
Snoqualmie Elementary School: Earth Heroes Award Recipients
Staff and students at Snoqualmie Elementary School receive Earth Heroes at School award from King County Executive Ron Sims, April 2008.
Chinook Middle School students and staff with banner
Students and staff at Chinook Middle School are proud of their Level One Green School banner.

Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

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