The Illinois Green Schools Project is a state-wide K-12 initiative that brings together students, teachers, and staff to collaborate in a year-long challenge to devise and implement creative no- to low-cost sustainable practices in their school. No matter where you are on your sustainability journey, we want to help you advance down the path to net zero through projects that reduce your school’s impact and waste of energy, water, and/or materials. Now in its fourth year, join the cohort of schools who are implementing sustainability projects with educational tools and mentor guidance.
School registration for the 2023-24 cohort will open on August 16, 2023. Join our email list for updates.
Learn more about the program: (switch to new video)
2023-24 Program Timeline
August 16, 2023
School Registration Opens
Link to registration
School registration is completed by a faculty/administrator who wants to represent their their school as a Green Team Leader and act as the school's primary point of contact for the program.
Registration closes September 29, 2023.
September 6, 2023
Mentor Registration Opens
Link to registration
Volunteers working in sustainability can sign up to mentor a participating school.
Registration closes September 29, 2023.
September 29, 2023
Both School and Mentor forms are
due by September 29, 2023.
October 19, 2023
Attend the Kick-Off!
School representatives join a virtual orientation to learn about the project, expectations, resources, and meet the other participants.
October 27, 2023
Mentors join a virtual orientation to learn about the project, expectations, and meet the other volunteers.
January 26, 2024
Mini Grant Application Due
Applying for a mini grant is a great opportunity to teach your students about project funding and grant writing! Schools outline their project goals and write an appeal for financial support. Then, a committee of Illinois Green volunteers comes together to review grant applications and awards of up to $500.
Whether you're applying for a grant or not, this date serves as a great deadline for finalizing your project idea.
View the application form here.
April 26, 2024
Final Project Submission Form Due
Schools complete a final submission form to describe the results of their project, report impact stats, and provide a visual representation of the project, not limited to photos, drawings, videos or other media. Photo releases are also required along with the submission.
These materials will help us celebrate and highlight your school’s accomplishments during the Illinois Green Schools Project Celebration Event.
May 22, 2024
Virtual Celebration Event
Join us to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2023-24 ILGSP Cohort! We will hear from some special speakers, announce the winning projects, and ask winning schools to showcase their projects.
Check out some past projects!
Access Resources To Help You On Your Path
Signing up for the Illinois Green Schools Project grants you free access to school sustainability resources like...
Hands-on curriculum and resources to help K-12 educators bring classroom projects to life. Search through the learning lab database for project ideas, lesson plans, and more!
GREEN CLASSROOM PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE
The GCP certificate program provides preK-12 educators and school staff with the knowledge to identify what supports or impedes healthy, resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable learning spaces. The course consists of 12 self-guided, interactive modules that you can take at your pace over a 356-day window. The whole course takes about two hours to complete.
Receive Support From a Green Schools Mentor
The Illinois Green Schools Project Mentors are volunteers from the Illinois Green Alliance that have sustainability and green building expertise, including architects, engineers, designers, builders, and more.
Schools will be individually matched with a Green Schools Mentor to help them identify, investigate, and implement a no-to low-cost sustainability project.
Check out our Project Database for inspiration!
With the Illinois Green Schools Project, you and your green team are free to design any type of project you like! Some schools enter with a specific project in mind. Others appreciate some guidance. If you need some inspiration, we have lots of resources to help you figure it out!
Check out our Resource Database for project ideas, links to step-by-step toolkits, suggested learning lab modules, profiles on past Green Schools Projects, and all sorts of additional information about possible Pathways to Net Zero. No matter where you’re starting from, you’re on the path! The options are endless and any steps towards sustainability and waste reduction are steps in the right direction!
Applying for a mini grant is a great opportunity to teach your students about project funding and grant writing! Schools outline their project goals and write an appeal for financial support. Then, a committee of Illinois Green volunteers comes together to review grant applications and award up to $500 per school that applies.
MiniGrant Applications are due January 26, 2024. Whether you're applying for a grant or not, this date serves as a great deadline for finalizing your project idea. Check out the application form for guidance on what criteria the committee is using, and begin filling out your application whenever you're ready!
View the MiniGrant application form.
Since 2016, Missouri Green Schools has partnered with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to nominate Missouri schools for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award. ED-GRS recognition award honors schools and school districts. Both Missouri Green Schools and ED-GRS are aligned with and recognize schools for their achievements across all three “pillars” of a green school:
- Reduced environmental impacts and costs.
- Improved health and wellness of schools, students, and staff.
- Effective environmental and sustainability education.
To be considered for ED-GRS, schools must document a high level of performance across all 3 pillars.
Achieving net zero, means achieving a balance where we only emit as much carbon as the earth can successfully take in. The United Nations has identified Net Zero as an imperative to combating climate change. Every effort we make to reduce our impacts as individuals and community members brings us that much closer to net zero!
The Illinois Green Schools Project aims to help schools advance on the path to net zero through waste reductions in three major categories:
- Water Use
- Energy Use
- Resource Use
Projects that choose to address one of these topics through their project receive AN EXTRA 5 POINTS IN THE MINI GRANT AND FINAL SUBMISSION RUBRICS.
2022–2023 Cohort of Schools
- Abraham Lincoln Elementary School — Glen Ellyn, IL
- Adlai E. Stevenson High School — Lincolnshire, IL
- Anna Jonesboro Community High School — Anna, IL
- Association House High School — Chicago, IL
- Benjamin Franklin Elementary — Glen Ellyn, IL
- Cairo School — Cairo, IL
- Carbondale Community High School — Carbondale, IL
- Carmel Catholic High School — Mundelein, IL
- Carruthers Elementary School — Murphysboro, IL
- Carterville High School — Carterville, IL
- DuQuoin High School — DuQuoin, IL
- Family Matters — Chicago, IL
- Grace Holistic Center for Education — Yorkville, IL
- Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School — Oak Park, IL
- Half Day School — Lincolnshire, IL
- Immaculate Conception St. Joseph — Chicago, IL
- Kelvyn Park High School — Chicago, IL
- Libertyville High School — Libertyville, IL
- Lincoln Middle School — Park Ridge, IL
- Marion High School — Marion, IL
- Marion Junior High School — Marion, IL
- Marist High School — Chicago, IL
- Milledgeville High School — Milledgeville, IL
- Murphysboro Middle School — Murphysboro, IL
- Pleasantdale Elementary — LaGrange, IL
- River Trails Middle School — Mount Prospect, IL
- Roosevelt Elementary School — Park Ridge, IL
- Salem Community High School — Salem, IL
- Shiloh High School — Hume, IL
- Skinner North Classical School — Chicago, IL
- Solorio Academy High School — Chicago, IL
- St. Genevieve Catholic School — Chicago, IL
- Stillman Valley High School/Junior High — Stillman Valley, IL
- Thomas Elementary School — Carbondale, IL
- Uplift Community High School — Chicago, IL
- Whitney M. Young High School — Chicago, IL
- Whittier Elementary School — Downers Grove, IL
- William H. Ray Elementary — Chicago, IL
- Wolcott College Prep — Chicago, IL
- York Community High School — Elmhurst, IL
Frequently Asked Questions
Support the Illinois Green Schools Project
Spread the word with your community
Make an individual donation
Earn recognition for your sustainability work.
Earn recognition at the national level through the Green Ribbon Schools Program.
[Delete?] Past Project Highlights
Ready to start your green schools journey?
Get in touch about advancing sustainability at your school.