Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is my school eligible to participate in the Green Schools Initiative?
Our eligibility criteria are simple. If your school is located in Elkhart County and is accredited by the State of Indiana, then yes you are eligible! Identify a Green Ambassador and sign up.
(Which means ... if your school isn't in Elkhart County, or if your school isn't accredited by the State of Indiana, your school is not eligible to participate. That said, you are still welcome to utilize our challenges and educator resources if you find them helpful.)
2. How does a school decide what to do with their cash prize at the end of the semester?
We do have a few suggestions for how schools might proceed in this decision making process. We also trust that Green Ambassadors and/or principals will use responsible judgment when making decisions for how cash prizes are allocated.
a) The teacher Green Team can decide with consultation from the principal
b) A recycling club, student council, or another leadership club can submit a proposal to the teacher Green Team and principal for how cash prizes can be spent
c) Green Team can split cash prize evenly among all teachers in the school to use for classroom supplies
3. How often are prizes and certifications awarded?
Cash prizes and certifications are awarded on a semester basis. During fall semesters, qualifying schools should receive verification of their awards in December; in spring semesters, qualifying schools will receive verification in June.
4. How long can my school participate in the program?
Schools can qualify for cash prizes and certifications for six participatory semesters (three academic years).
5. What if my school doesn't complete additional challenges to the previous participatory semester? Will my school still receive a cash prize for previous completed challenges?
No. In order to qualify for and receive a semester cash prize, you must show continuous improvement by earning at least one new credit. For example, if a school accomplishes two credits in one semester, but does not accomplish another one new credit the following semester, that school would not receive any cash prize and would not have first consideration to participate in the program the following semester.
6. How will my school receive the cash prize at the end of the semester?
For the 2020 fall semester, checks from the SWMD will be sent out in January 2021 for all qualifying schools. A confirmation email for the awarded cash prize will be sent out to all Green Ambassadors in December 2020 or January 2021.
7. How often does our school have to apply to participate in the program?
Your school has to apply every semester to participate in the program. Your school also has six participatory semesters to earn the Gold-Leaf certification and graduate from the program. So if you participate in the program for one semester, and you miss the deadline to apply in the next semester, your school will still have five more semesters to earn a Gold-Leaf certification. Check out the bottom of our Green Schools home page for more information on this question.
8. Does our school have to verify completed challenges every semester?
Yes. Even if your school has received credits for previous challenges, we still want to see that you are completing those challenges. For example, if you completed the food-sharing table challenge in one semester, you will still have to complete the challenge and submit a picture the following semester to qualify for a cash prize and for your cash prize to accumulate.