A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) found a small positive correlation between academic success at schools that employ environmentally conscious practices. These practices are based on a set of core beliefs that have been devised by the Green School National Network (GSNN). The research consisted of a survey sent to more than 350 primary and secondary schools that self identified as “green.” Funded jointly be the GSNN and UCD, the study looked at the five GreenPrint core practices (as set forth by GSNN). The principles are as follows:
- Curriculum that advances environmental literacy and sustainability
- Stewardship and service learning
- Sustainable facilities design and management
- Health and well being
- Strong partnerships and networks
The research team , comprised of Assistant Professor Bryan Wee, and two of his students Hillary Mason and Jason Abdilla, received responses from more than 100 schools implementing the GSNN core practices. While the researchers point out that the responses represent the perception of how well the schools follow the principles, the university’s press release points out “The results of the survey suggest that as schools implement GreenPrint core practices at higher levels, student achievement in science tends to show improvement.”
California schools that responded to the survey showed the greatest positive correlation (more than 0.9, with one being the highest). However, it is unclear from this study just how much of a role the core practices play given the number of variables at play. In an interview with 9 News, Wee made the case for further research to help solidify the connection between the green schools and improved test scores.