Virginia Schools Incorporate Sustainability Education with CTE Sustainability Program

Green Education Foundation (GEF) prepares trade school students for the new green economy
By: Molly Hislop
Oct. 31, 2011 - PRLog -- Green Education Foundation (GEF) and the Virginia Beach City Public School (VBCPS) district have teamed up to ensure Career and Technical Education (CTE) students are prepared to thrive in the new green economy.  CTE helps our nation meet the very real and immediate challenges of economic development, student achievement, and global competitiveness. Some 14 million students are enrolled in CTE - encompassing every state, with programs in nearly 1,300 public high schools and 1,700 two-year-colleges.   Today, global competitiveness means efficient technology, green construction, and green design engineering, to name only a few.

GEF’s CTE Sustainability Program is an exciting new offering for career and technical schools nationwide, with the VBCPS being the first district to join the movement.  Patrick Konopnicki , the Director of Technical and Career Education at VBCPS, quickly recognized the value in the program: “As an industry certification leader in the state and nation with 4,541 student credentials earned last year, VBCPS has a keen interest in supporting sustainability as a 21st century skill that all 70,000 students are required to learn. We are excited about adding GEF’s CTE Sustainability Program to the list of 102 credentials from which the students can choose. The future will be a better place because of this partnership, and we are proud to be the first school system to undertake this certification effort.”

“While there are many educational programs at the state level for CTE Programs of Study, very few, if any, include materials that emphasize sustainability,” commented Victoria Waters, CEO of GEF. “The objective of the CTE Sustainability Program is to offer educators state-of-the art sustainability education resources that can be easily integrated into classroom and shop-based instruction.” The program provides an introduction to sustainability practices, technologies, and career opportunities in select CTE programs of study. This includes in-depth sustainable building coursework in a semester long Green Building Course that is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System. Through this program, students will be motivated to become sustainably-minded professionals, eco-conscious entrepreneurs, and green consumers.

GEF’s CTE Sustainability Program will provide sustainability curriculum, courses, tests, certifications and supporting materials for the following career clusters: Architecture and Construction; Transportation; Agriculture; Manufacturing; Natural Resources; and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

For more information or to participate in the CTE Sustainability Program, contact

About Green Education Foundation (GEF)
GEF is a non-profit organization committed to creating a sustainable future through education. Sustainability Education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions.

Visit to register for free and to gain full access to GEF’s comprehensive library of standards-based lessons and activities.

About Virginia Beach City Public Schools
Virginia Beach City Public Schools is the largest school division in Hampton Roads – southeastern Virginia – serving approximately *69,433 students in grades K-12. Currently, the school system includes 56 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 11 high schools, and a number of secondary/post-secondary specialty centers, including the Renaissance Academy, Advanced Technology Center, Technical and Career Education Center, and Adult Learning Center.  

About GEF’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Sustainability Program
GEF’s CTE Sustainability Program prepares students for the new green economy. The hands-on curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be at the forefront of green jobs and traditional jobs employing environmentally advanced technology and practices.  Learn more at or watch the recorded presentation of the program to the National Association of CTE State Directors here. Contact with questions or questions regarding partnership opportunities.  

About GEF’s Green Building Course
The Green Building Course is a one semester elective that educates 11/12th grade students on sustainable building attributes and benefits, and provides them with the educational resources necessary to understand, identify, and improve environmental inefficiencies within their own school buildings. Topics covered include: sustainable sites, energy sources/conservation and water efficiency and indoor environmental quality as related to building construction, operation and maintenance.  Students will participate in weekly audits of their school building where they will be instructed to prioritize areas for enhanced efficiencies. For their end of semester capstone project students will analyze and recommend building improvements based upon feasibility, greatest need and return-on-investment (ROI).
Source:Molly Hislop
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