Recap: The School Design and Construction track at GSC

Published on: 
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Jacqueline Maley

The sold-out 2023 Green Schools Conference convened in New Orleans, Feb. 27–March 1 and was the first time in two years that this group of green school champions were able to connect in person.

This year’s conference offered attendees a unique experience—a day and a half of programming with their peers, followed by a day of interdisciplinary education sessions. The peer cohort tracks were designed to provide specialized programming and networking opportunities with like-minded peers. The School Design and Construction track brought together over 75 organizations representing 27 states and four countries.

Attendees of this track were the people involved in the design, construction, engineering, manufacturing, technical or consultant roles of our schools, an integral group of advocates in the green schools movement.

What attendees were excited to talk about

The day and a half of program included a lineup of panel discussions that challenged current thoughts and focuses surrounding school design practices and techniques and allowed attendees time to work with their peers in design challenges and meaningful conversations. Programming focused on the hot topics of today and in the future of green schools:

  • Building performance standards
  • Climate-resilient design
  • Community-engaged design
  • Decarbonization
  • Electrification
  • Equity
  • Indoor air quality (COVID-19)
  • School safety, security and well-being
  • Social emotional learning
  • Student learning, career readiness and engagement

A woman places sticky notes on a wall in a room of conference attendees

Attendees take part in a cohort session. Photo credit: Zack Smith.

What attendees are saying

  • “The session about decarbonization was particularly insightful, since the speakers approached the same goal from different perspectives. The information discussed was relevant and interesting, regardless of where you are on your decarbonization journey.”—Track attendee
  • “While the conference keynote programs were as inspirational as ever, spending time with school designers and builders across five sessions was a unique, collaborative conference experience.” —Track attendee

What attendees are acting on

At the close of the program, attendees felt prepared to

  • Design and create spaces that promote collaboration, well-being, safety and sustainability, and reduce stress, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Encourage collaboration from all stakeholders, including students and community members, in all aspects of the design process.
  • Prioritize continuous education to stakeholders when it comes to electrification, decarbonization and indoor air quality efforts.

Learn more about the other cohort track takeaways