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Missouri Green Schools helps schools set, achieve, and recognize environmental sustainability, health and learning goals. It is a joint project of:

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Getting Started

The Missouri Green Schools Program is aligned with and uses the criteria suggested by the US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program and its three pillars of 1) reduced environmental impacts and costs, 2) improved health and wellness of schools, students and staff, and 3) effective environmental and sustainability education.

In our program these three pillars are labeled Sustainability, Health and Learning.

Within each pillar, we have split the criteria into three levels that reflect increasing commitment to green goals.

Getting Started | Tips | Levels | Recognition


Getting Started: Steps 1-6

  1. Set up a team. Ideally your team will include an educator, an administrator (this person is essential), and folks who handle facility operations, health, food, and PE. For middle and high schools, representatives from a student organization are also important. Teams are important because the MGS program takes a comprehensive approach to evaulation, and the knowledge and expertise of many different people are needed.
  2. Get everyone on the same page. Meet with your team and use this checklist and the levels below to do a quick assessment of how your school meets the criteria based on the knowledge of the people in the room. Come to a shared understanding of how joining the program aligns with the school's vision and mission. (If your school doesn't have a vision and mission, it needs one - which may be a whole other thing.) Then set 2 or 3 goals for yourselves to accomplish in the next year. Choose a lead person to handle the documentation and paperwork. Identify the folks who are missing that need to be part of the process. Assign tasks and set your next meeting time.
  3. Enroll. Have your lead person enroll in the MGS program. This person will be the point of contact for the MGS program. They will need your school information, a list of team members and some goals you have for your school.
  4. Start with Level 1. Download the Level 1 form and begin collecting data to document your accomplishments. If you have accomplishments in Level 2 or 3, document those as well.
  5. Work the Program. Proceed through the levels at a pace that is comfortable with the time, talent and treasure you can commit to the program.
  6. Consider Nomination. If you have completed Levels 1 and 2, and have some steps in Level 3 completed, contact the MGS Program coordinator, Jan Weaver, about submitting a nomination for USED Green Ribbon Schools recognition.



  1. Do not be intimidated. This process is very comprehensive. Few if any schools will be able to answer every question. However, almost all schools will be able to answer 1/4 to 1/3 of the questions easily. If that is all your school can do at this time, set some goals for next year. Check the higher levels for ideas on what to do next.
  2. Get buy-in. Make sure your principal and your superintendent are on board with your goal of being a green school. If you are the principal, make sure your staff and superintendent are on board. Check out the Benefits page for ideas on how to make your case.
  3. Enlist help. This is a long and complex document. You need a team of folks with different kinds of expertise to get it filled out. If you don't already have these people on your team, ask them for help: your facilities management person, your landscaping person, your health services person, your custodial services person and your food services person and ask if they will fill in the parts of the form relating to their area of expertise while you are working on other parts.




Forms Sustainability Health Learning


  • Energy Conservation Practices
  • Ecologically Beneficial Spaces
  • Efforts to reduce Solid Waste
  • Safe Water Sources
  • Safe Drinking Water
  • Ventilation
  • Airborne Contaminants
  • Chemical Management
  • Physical Fitness
  • Health Education
  • Health Services
  • Environment incorporated into STEM
  • EE Workshops for Teachers


  • Energy Star
  • Water Conservation & Management
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Green Cleaning
  • Transportation
  • Moisture Management
  • IPM
  • Healthy Foods
  • Outdoor Physical Activity & Safety
  • Mental Health
  • Employee Wellness
  • Outdoor Learning  
  • EE Workshops by Teachers
  • Green Tech & Careers
  • Environment incorporated across curriculum


  • GHG Reductions
  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Green Building Renovations
  • Purchasing Policies
  • Electronic Waste
  • Connections with Family
  • Connections with Community
  • EE Certification
  • Literacy Requirement
  • A.P. Env Science
  • Community Engagement & Partnerships





As each level is completed, your school will