FAQs

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  • What is Ontario EcoSchools?

    Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grades K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible and reduce the environmental footprint of schools.

    The key areas of focus and achievement are: Teamwork & Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Curriculum, and Environmental Stewardship. For more information on these sections, please visit the Program Sections page.

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  • Who does Ontario EcoSchools work with and what is the program reach?

    Ontario EcoSchools’ vision is “Every School an EcoSchool.” We work with school boards across the province, and in 2015-16, Ontario EcoSchools certified 1,720 schools across 55 boards.

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  • What impact does Ontario EcoSchools have in the school system?

    By recognizing achievements in environmental education and conservation, Ontario EcoSchools is an innovative model of sustained environmental awareness and behavioural change.

    One of the main impacts of Ontario EcoSchools is the implementation of board-wide waste minimization and energy conservation standards. This standardization allows for schools to work towards certain benchmarks and see their progress year over year as part of a larger community of schools.

    As well, certified Ontario EcoSchools use less energy than non-certified schools in Ontario. An independent analysis of energy use at the Toronto DSB indicates that on average, certified EcoSchools use 12% less electricity and 7% less natural gas than comparable non-certified schools. (Toronto District School Board Energy Management Program Review, 2006, ICF International, p.28-29.)

    Since the inception of the program, over 8,360 teachers have participated in Ontario EcoSchools’ professional development workshops, developing stronger school capacity for environmental change. See our 10 Year Infographic to understand our work over the past decade.

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  • How does Ontario EcoSchools benefit children and youth?

    Ontario EcoSchools fosters leadership skills and environmental citizenship. Through actions both in and outside the classroom, students address Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, and Environmental Stewardship. The student-centered focus allows EcoTeams to take the lead in environmental learning paired with tangible daily actions. Active participation develops capacity, promotes whole school engagement, and creates meaningful connections to local communities. Ontario EcoSchools reaches more than 730,000 students every year (36% of all students in Ontario) and encourages all grades to be actively involved in whole school environmental initiatives.

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  • How can I get involved at my local school?

    Parents and community members are crucial to a thriving EcoTeam and there are several ways to get involved. For example, volunteer to organize an environmental campaign, provide technical support in areas of your expertise (e.g., landscaping design for school ground greening, website support for school webpage, etc.), or donate supplies. Please contact the lead teacher or principal at your school for specific ways you can participate.

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  • What are the deadlines for certification?

    • September 30: Registration opens!
    • November 25 (Platinum): Complete Platinum Yearly Planner and upload to the online application.
    • January 27: Input results from the Initial EcoReviews into the online application.
    • January 27 (EECC): Upload a completed and signed Yearly Planner, Pledge Form, and Teambuilding Project to the online application.
    • April 28: Complete all applicable questions, including results from the Follow-Up EcoReviews, upload all required portfolio documents, and submit the application (early bird deadline is April 21).

    All dates for the 2016-17 school year. Please note that each school needs to register and input the required documents by the dates above in order to be eligible for certification.

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  • Is there a cost to certify my school?

    The Ontario EcoSchools program is free of charge for publicly funded schools. Information on private school certification costs can be found here.

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  • Where can I find a printable version of the certification application questions?

    Download the Ontario EcoSchools Certification Guide and print the Certification Questions and Tips for Success sections of the guide.

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  • When will we find out if we are certified?

    Board representatives are notified of final standings once all annual site visits are completed and schools will be notified before the end of school year.  Schools without a board representative will be contacted directly. Once standings have been released, schools can sign in to their online application to read assessor feedback and review their assessment.

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  • Who is eligible for Platinum certification?

    In order to be eligible for Platinum certification, schools must meet the following requirements:

    • Certified for at least 5 years with no more than a 1 year gap
    • Certified at the Gold level for at least 3 of those 5 years
    • Certified Gold in the year prior to Platinum certification

     

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