Get2Green Program Improvement and Innovation Plan

Relevant details and data for Get2Green

Program Overview

Get2Green is the environmental stewardship program for Fairfax County Public Schools. The mission is to promote student learning and action using the environment as a foundation. The goal is to provide equal access to environmental and outdoor learning opportunities. Get2Green supports division-level policies (Regulation 8541, Policy 8542) and projects that complement school-based sustainability work. Schools can choose to take part in the Get2Green program.

Schools engage with Get2Green in many different ways:

  • Get2Green’s incentive programs.
  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Whole school, entire classes or grade levels.
  • Personal support from Get2Green staff for classes and eco-teams.

While many schools paused their Get2Green efforts due to the pandemic, the increased awareness of the benefits of outdoor learning is inspiring educators to begin reengaging in environmental stewardship.

Some schools use their own system for carrying out their green work while others use official programs, such as:

Pre-pandemic, many schools had student eco-teams that engaged in stewardship activities like:

  • Reducing waste
  • Conserving energy
  • Planting and maintaining wildlife habitat
  • Tending edible gardens

Get2Green is currently staffed by an Educational Specialist in the Instructional Services Department (ISD) and a Coordinator in Facilities. It had no permanent positions until FY 2020. These two staff members:

  • Support educators in making sure all students have opportunities to develop as ethical and global citizens.
  • Collaborate with county and community partners.
  • Serve on committees supporting sustainability in FCPS and across Fairfax County including the Joint Environmental Task Force
  • Apply for and manage grants to support schools
  • Host programs such as Earth Week to expand engagement in environmental stewardship
  • Offer individual support for classes and Eco-teams implementing hands-on environmental action in their school and community
  • Lead Professional Development to staff
  • Work with content area specialists to incorporate sustainability into existing curriculum
  • Collaborate with Project-Based Learning, STEAM, and Portrait of a Graduate
  • Participate on the Global Classroom Project (GCP) team supporting schools with resources and support, as each school incorporates a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal as a backbone of their project

Get2Green work in schools is led by a dedicated staff, often going above and beyond without reward to incorporate sustainability into their school's instruction. Their duties often include:

  • Advising the student Eco-teams
  • Coordinating the maintenance of native and edible gardens
  • Leading waste reduction efforts
  • Applying for grants to support student-led environmental stewardship work
  • Other; depending on the school’s specific projects and goals

Dedicated school-based Get2Green staffing is instrumental in providing equal opportunities for schools to engage their staff and students in environmental stewardship. To support school staff, the FCPS Get2Green website provides:

  • Data, guidance, and resources for students and teachers to engage in environmental stewardship.
  • Data dashboards featuring energy, water, greenhouse gas, and recycling data for each school and the division.
  • information on Energy, Climate, Recycling, Outdoor Living, and Healthy Living.
  • Resources for Eco-Schools.

Through social media (@fcpsGet2Green), a monthly newsletter, and the FCPS Get2Green website, Get2Green shares sustainability news, learning opportunities, events, grants, and other resources with FCPS staff, students and the community.

    Scope of Impact

    Due to the pandemic, there is no complete or accurate data to report engagement in Get2Green.

    Get2Green Survey

    For the first time since 2019, the Get2Green survey was distributed to all schools in March 2022. Survey responses yielded inconsistent and unreliable data for the 2021-22 school year. The Get2Green team is currently considering:

    • Revisions to the survey.
    • Other tools to gather data in future years.

    Eco-Schools Data

    The number of Eco-School registrations is not an accurate indicator of engagement in environmental work.

    Get2Green Newsletter

    Get2Green has a current newsletter distribution list of more than 10,300 subscribers, an increase of 2,100 in the past year.

    Twitter

    Get2Green has 1,026 Twitter followers, an increase of 91 in the past year.

    Teaching in Nature’s Classroom Cohorts by School Level for SY 2021-22

    School Level Number of Teachers
    ES 29
    MS 6
    HS 10

    Strategic Actions and Measures

    Updated for the 2022-2023 school year.

    The nature of Get2Green work is to equip teachers with the tools to support environmental stewardship at their school and support them as Get2Green leaders at their schools. Teachers who participate in Get2Green PD  serve as Get2Green leaders at their schools, who develop environmental stewardship action plans for their individual schools. 

    Goal 1

    Support equitable access to environmental stewardship opportunities for all FCPS students and teachers through inclusive communication, robust professional development opportunities, and collaborative partnerships.

    Strategic Actions:

    • Develop a communication plan that utilizes a variety of channels of communication, such as Get2Green newsletter, Action grams, Employee News, Get2Green Website and Schoology groups to reach a large and diverse teacher/staff audience.
    • Facilitate professional development incorporating SEL for school-based staff and administrators, including three Teaching in Nature’s Classroom cohorts, a Green Schools Compass Course for school leaders, Fall and Spring CBF Potomac River courses for teacher leaders, and grant-funded scholarships for teachers to participate in the July 2023 Northern Virginia: Fostering a Sense of Place with Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences course.
    • Strengthen collaboration with teams within Instructional Services Department (Global Classroom Project, STEAM, PBL, POG POL, Science, etc.), Facilities, and Food and Nutrition Services, as well as external stakeholders such as National Wildlife Federation Ignite partnership and community partners (Fairfax County DPWES & OEEC, CBF, GMU, Fairfax Food Council, NoVA Outside, etc.) with the hiring of the Program Manager
    • Secure additional funding for Get2Green in FCPS budget through Fiscal Forecast process to continue program expansion, and apply for grant funding where available and distribute grant funding support to schools
    • Provide additional outdoor learning expertise to schools with the hiring of a Support Specialist

    Measures: 

    • Track and report number of newsletter subscribers and social media followers
    • Communicate resources to engage students in zero waste and Eco-Schools in support of JET goals
    • Track the number of PDs offered and number of participants
    • Number of R3 native plantings, tree plantings, and number of students involved.
    • Number of GMU service learners volunteering at schools
    • Funding allocated in FY2024 FCPS budget and amount of grant funding secured and distributed to schools

    Goal 2

    Collect baseline data for school engagement in environmental stewardship.

    Strategic Actions:

    • Implement and analyze revised Get2Green Survey of school-based sustainability activities involving students (with approval from ORSI) and improve response rate by following up personally with schools that don’t respond
    • Collaborate with teams across ISD to compile overview of curriculum connections to sustainability across content areas.
    • Develop tool and pilot to capture student street data on environmental stewardship engagement.

    Measures: 

    • Revise, refine, and implement of the Get2Green survey.
    • Identify what schools are working on, to better target our resources to support schools with their needs.
    • Finalize document overviewing connections to sustainability in FCPS curriculum.
    • Analyze pilot data from student feedback on environmental stewardship engagement.