Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA, went green in 2006 with every member of the K-12 community fully invested in making it happen. And it shows. Today, a new LEED-certified high school building reduced the school’s water consumption by more than a third; landfill waste was cut in half; solar panels generate 17% of the school’s electricity; chickens enjoy grazing in the organic garden; and a bus program initiative has increased ridership by 150% in just two years. Certified as a Green Business in Alameda County, in 2012 the school was voted the county’s “Best in Show” as part of Diablo Magazine’s Eco Awards, a feature that highlights East Bay schools’ efforts in environmentalism.
The educational program emphasizes ecological sustainability, environmental health, nutrition, personal responsibility and leadership. Everyone participates in volunteer and learning activities with area environmental organizations, and there are division-specific “Green Teams” to address issues on campus. Lower schoolers are taught that just one personal eco-choice can make an important difference. Middle schoolers focus on core science and social issues that relate to environmental sustainability. In the Upper School, the ultimate goal is for environmentally aware students to graduate equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to become responsible global citizens.
Laura Galligan, an active member of the school’s Green Committee, says she’s grateful to work at a school “that weaves an understanding of our interconnectedness with everything living into our curriculum, and supports students making changes to preserve this precious balance with nature.”