Green Schools Symposium: Pioneering Sustainability in Education

Wed May 08 12:07:00 PDT 2024

The Green Schools Symposium offered a dynamic program that empowered attendees to network, learn and share their visions for a sustainable educational future.

The Da Vinci High Schools Wiseburn in El Segundo transformed into a hub of innovative ideas and sustainable practices as it hosted the Third Annual Green Schools Symposium on May 3, 2024. Organized by the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation, the event brought together educators, administrators and community members eager to advance eco-friendly learning environments.

The highlight of the day was the keynote address by renowned architect Eric Corey Freed. His discussion focused on how sustainable design can not only enhance school buildings but also lead to significant operational cost savings and foster healthier learning environments. Freed’s engaging delivery and profound insights provided attendees with actionable strategies for their institutions.

A graphic recording artist, Craig Provost, visually captured the main points of the keynote and a dynamic panel discussion on the implications of extreme heat. This drawing served as a creative and accessible recap for attendees.

The symposium offered three focused sessions, each providing practical knowledge and expertise. One session provided an exclusive tour of Da Vinci High Schools Wiseburn, led by students themselves. The tour allowed participants to gain firsthand experience with a LEED Silver certified school and the design choices that contribute to its sustainability. Designed by Gensler and built by Balfour Beatty, the building houses three independently run public charter schools. It has airy interior space and large common areas that support a flexible integration of project-based STEM curriculum, student presentations and group activities. It also has a four-story atrium that interconnects the three distinct schools and shared community space on the ground floor.

A panel discussion on extreme heat addressed the urgent need to understand and mitigate the impact of high temperatures on school settings, discussing how it affects student attendance and performance. In the third session, experts dissected local and national water trends, providing case studies and strategies on how to lead effectively in water management.

Throughout the day, participants engaged in a variety of activities designed to deepen their understanding of sustainability in education. With "The Smart Coop", an interactive exhibit demonstrated the feasibility of integrating agriculture in urban setting, attendees saw how modern technology could simplify raising chickens in any environment. Additionally, organizers have pledged to plant one tree (up to 500) for every attendee that shared their event photos on social media using the #GreenSchoolsSymposium.

The Green Schools Symposium offered a dynamic program that empowered attendees to network, learn and share their visions for a sustainable educational future, inspiring changes that make school environments not only more eco-friendly but also more adaptable and resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.