Austin ISD recognizes that it is uniquely poised to balance the needs of the environment, the diverse community we serve, and available financial resources through sustainable practices. Since the 2004 bond, all new schools and major renovations have adhered to green building standards. To date, AISD has over thirty facilities that have achieved an Austin Energy® Green Building rating, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, or both.
The Board of Trustees solidified its support for sustainability and environmental stewardship with the adoption of a 2010 Resolution and 2011 Sustainability Policy. The district’s first sustainability staff was hired in 2014 and has since worked with the Austin ISD Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC) to develop the Austin ISD Sustainability Plan to achieve the Board’s commitment to:
- Ensure responsible stewardship of energy, water, and other natural resources;
- Create healthy environments for teaching and learning;
- Support sustainability as an economic, environmental, and social priority to be taught and practiced throughout the District.
Development of the Austin ISD Sustainability Plan has become an organized approach for the city, the school district, and partner organizations to move the sustainability needle together while enhancing educational outcomes for our most precious resource and future leaders: our students.
Sustainability Plan Timeline:
- Community Visioning Session: Eighty-five students, staff, trustees, parents, and community partners convened to (1) shape the vision of sustainability in the urban school experience and (2) identify priorities for Austin ISD's first Sustainability Plan.
- Green School Visioning Contest: Austin ISD hosted a Green School Visioning Contest that asked the community to share original photos, videos, stories, and artwork that communicate what a sustainable school looks, feels, and acts like.
- Goals, Strategies, and Actions Defined: ESAC subcommittees and AISD Sustainabiltiy staff developed goals and strategies to be included in the Sustainability Plan. Throughout the iterative process, internal AISD staff, relevant stakeholders, and subject matter experts were consulted to help shape the goals, strategies, and actions.
- Alignment with Austin ISD Planning: In addition to aligning to the AISD Core Values, the Sustainability Plan is being developed to align with internal AISD planning documents and standards, including the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Guiding Principle of the Facilities Mater Plan, the Educational Specifications, and Section IV of the Austin ISD Project Development Manual for construction.
- Alignment with Local and Regional Goals: The inclusion of ESAC members and subject matter experts in the development of the Sustainability Plan ensures that the goals and strategies not only benefit the school district and students, but help the larger community and partner organizations achieve their sustainability targets, as well. Examples include alignment with the City of Austin's Zero Waste Goal and the Mayor's Mobility 2020 challenge.
- Community Engagement: The ESAC and AISD Sustainabiltiy staff developed a Community Engagement and Outreach toolkit to seek input about sustainability goals and strategies that interest the wider Austin ISD community. The engagement series began int he spring of 2018.
- Sustainability Plan Draft: The written document is in final stages of development, although many sustainability projects are already underway.
To get involved in shaping AISD Sustainabilty, email firstname.lastname@example.org.