The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is one of only five districts in the nation to receive a School District Scholarship from the Center for Green Schools and the U.S. Green Building Council. The scholarship is a yearlong opportunity for district sustainability staff to receive advanced sustainability education and improve the health and performance of district schools for all students and staff.

The other four winning districts were in Davenport, Iowa, Milwaukee, Wis., Boston and Seattle. District representatives, including Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Coster, will begin the year by attending the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Atlanta for focused learning. As the scholarship year goes forward, the SMMUSD will have access to the nation’s leading green-schools experts. Previous winners have said the scholarship’s biggest benefits are the ability to share best practices with other districts and learn how they are solving common issues. Sustainability is a major long-term goal of the Board of Education, which adopted a 20-year sustainability plan earlier this year. The plan outlines targets and paths to reaching them across all district operations. The Center for Green Schools, which has awarded 26 scholarships since 2014, cites multiple studies that have shown that improving specific aspects of the student environment such as daylight, air quality and noise levels, can lead to better information retention, concentration, task speed and more.

Submitted by Chris Clonts, SMMUSD communications specialist.

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