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About the Kansas Green Schools Virtual Academy



Hi! My name is Rachel Wahle, and I am the Green Schools Coordinator at KACEE. The Kansas Green Schools Program has been a part of KACEE’s program offerings since 2008, developed through a partnership between KACEE and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, with the mission to provide educational opportunities for PreK-12 schools which increase awareness and understanding of environmental interrelationships that impact public health and our society, and which promote responsible environmental stewardship practices. Kansas Green Schools’ goal is to foster an appreciation and understanding of air and water quality, climate change, energy, reduction & recycling of solid waste, and wildlife habitat.


When the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States in early 2020, it sent all of us into a tailspin, including KACEE. We had to take a look at and reevaluate our role in providing environmental education professional learning and in supporting educators in their pursuits of providing EE to their students. It was new territory that we had never navigated before. What was exciting though, is that this complete halt and then tentative forward movement allowed for some creative thinking around how KACEE could support schools, students and teachers in new ways. One of the most innovative ideas that came out of that time was the Kansas Green Schools Virtual Academy (KGSVA), which KACEE developed in partnership with Greenbush Education Center.


What was exciting though, is that this complete halt and then tentative forward movement allowed for some creative thinking around how KACEE could support schools, students and teachers in new ways.

Middle school teacher, Leonore Enfield, and her students participating in the first-ever Kansas Green Schools Virtual Academy

The KGSVA is continuing to evolve as educators’ and students’ needs shift in this new phase of the pandemic. In its current iteration, the KGSVA provides hands-on support and mentoring for teacher/student teams as they work through one of the five Green School Investigations. Registered schools’ “Green Leaders” (which can include both students and teachers) join monthly virtual meetings to receive guided, hands-on standards-based training on how to investigate Water, Energy, Waste, and the School Environment. Teams are provided with the tools and resources to get started investigating in their school, collect and analyze data, and develop an action plan for their school and community. As Green Teams work through these Project-Based Learning investigations, they will have the opportunity to gain recognition as a Kansas Green School of Excellence!


In its current iteration, the KGSVA provides hands-on support and mentoring for teacher/student teams as they work through one of the five Green School Investigations.

One of my favorite parts about the KGSVA is that teachers have the opportunity to enroll in the online Green Leader micro-credential which includes an optional 1 hour graduate credit through Baker University.


The KGSVA has really become instrumental in helping schools complete the Kansas Green Schools Investigations. The challenge we’ve seen over the years is that teachers are limited on time, or they get started, but get pulled in other directions and aren’t able to complete the investigation. The KGSVA and the mentorship provided has made the investigation process easy. Since starting the KGSVA, we’re seeing almost 100% of participating schools completing the investigations, and seeing big results, including seeing passions shine through from both students and teachers.


The challenge we’ve seen over the years is that teachers are limited on time, or they get started, but get pulled in other directions and aren’t able to complete the investigation. The KGSVA and the mentorship provided has made the investigation process easy. Since starting the KGSVA, we’re seeing almost 100% of participating schools completing the investigations...

(The investigations can be completed at any time and without participating in the Virtual Academy, but teachers and students really enjoy the relationship and engagement process the KGSVA provides.)


Teacher testimony


“Oh Rachel! You sparked a fire in my kiddos today. They couldn’t stop talking about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. They have such open minds and I love watching them explore new possibilities. Thank you for encouraging them and pushing them to go above and beyond. I have to tell you about one of my Green Team Leaders. She rarely speaks to teachers or classmates and school is really hard for her. She gets a lot of interventions and is constantly being pulled from the classroom so it is hard for her to make those connections. She wrote a paragraph about why she wanted to be a Green Team Leader and was chosen. On the day I announced who was on the Green Team Leader program she came up to me afterwards and whispered in my ear, “I’ve never been picked for anything before!” Her eyes were glowing! I’m just so happy that she is connecting in a way that is making her feel safe and comfortable. When you were talking about being a leader today she was showing signs of anxiety but then calmed down when you talked about being a quiet leader. Thank you for that!”


Jena Simms

Lower School Science Teacher

Wichita Collegiate



How to get involved:



If your school isn’t a part of the network already, click the blue “Sign Up” button. Signing up is free and gives you access to the Kansas Green School Investigations. If you’re not sure if your school is registered, you can “View Green Schools” or contact Rachel Wahle (rwahle@kacee.org) and she can check and give you the log in information for your school if a profile already exists.



Rachel Wahle

rwahle@kacee.org

Kansas Green Schools Director

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