Current Projects

Leadership for Green Schools

Written as a primer for current educational leaders, the book will provide a comprehensive introduction to green schools/whole school sustainability, addressing the essential functions of the educational enterprise. From creating a vision for meaningful 21st Century learning; to establishing a rigorous, sustainability-relevant curriculum; to designing, building, and managing healthy, high performance school facilities; to engaging parents and community in learning together how to live more sustainably, the book will provide leaders practical tools for advancing sustainability goals and purposes at the same time they are fulfilling the core purposes of their job. The book introduces leaders to the theory and related research by means of engaging stories that illustrate the concepts in practice. Actual examples from our studies of green-minded school leaders from across the United States demonstrate how these 21st Century leaders apply this new frame of mind to lead and manage their schools. Expected Publication Fall, 2016. Authors: Lisa Kensler and Cynthia L. Uline

 e3 Civic High: A Study of Pedagogy-Environment Fit

In 2014, San Diego State University's National Center for the 21st Century Schoolhouse and University of San Diego's Center for Education Policy and Law set out to collaborate on a research study of pedagogy-environment fit at a newly designed high school, e3 Civic High. When e3 Civic opened in fall 2013, teachers, staff, and students arrived into the new space with a limited understanding of how this complex environment was designed to benefit their daily usage. To fully leverage the potential of the new building, furniture, and other space resources, the research team, along with the design team liaison, delivered a series of three Pedagogy-Environment Fit (PEF) workshops to orient occupants.The workshops, delivered over a 12-month period, included an introductory explanation of basic concepts employed in the design of the various spaces, followed by facilitated discussions regarding the degree to which their school was functioning to accommodate multiple user groups, activities, behaviors, and teaching and learning experiences.  Following the first five months of occupancy, data were gathered via teacher reflective tour surveys and teacher and student focus group interviews. The research team wanted to know:

  • How occupants leverage various design features on behalf of 21c teaching and learning;
  • To what extent specific design features influenced occupants’ individual and collective identities as learners; and 
  • How the process of educational commissioning contribute to or hinder the pedagogy-environment fit.

Research findings will inform the development of an immersion guide for use with new teachers and students.

Learn More.


Greening Schools: The Influence of External Change Agents on School and District Pro-Environmental Behaviors

The Green Schools Fellows research seeks to gain in depth understanding of the US Green Building Council's Green Schools Fellows program, chronicling year one of the Green Schools Fellows program. The purpose of the Green School Fellows Program is to transform school district cultures "from the inside out." Beginning with district-defined metrics for success, the Green Schools Fellows will facilitate district-wide "greening" or sustainability efforts through providing expert information, training, and guidance. The purpose of the GSF program research is to identify and document the coherence and effectiveness of USGBC GSF training programs and Fellows' change strategies within two large urban school districts in the United States. The result will be used to inform the continuous improvement of the GSF program, to secure additional funding, and ti inform a broader audience of individuals interested in greening schools (policy makers, educators, community leaders).

Improving the Physical and Social Environment of School as Place: The Effects of Building Renovation on Teaching and Learning

This third phase of investigation brings The Walls Speak research to California. In this phase, we continue to explore the interplay between quality facilities, school climate, and student achievement, charting the effects of facility improvements on student and teacher attitudes, behaviors, and performance within schools undergoing renovations in a large Southern California urban school district. This large urban district was chosen in order to continue our study of facility quality, school climate, and student achievement in schools that serve a primarily disadvantaged (socio-economically) student population. Further, data collected within one district holds constant the factors of district level organization and management. Here we apply mixed research methods, using a concurrent nested design.