BPS School Buildings as Living Laboratories: 

“’living laboratories’ merge academics and campus facilities management to provide students with real-world skills and, for the institution, a path to meet its sustainability goals.”

-The Campus as a Living Laboratory

BPS School Buildings as the Third Teacher:

“There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.”

-Loris Malaguzzi 


The Whole-School Sustainability Framework is founded on the imperative that in order to be successful, sustainability requires a whole-system approach.

A Whole-School Sustainability approach requires individuals from across an organization to work together—it cannot be accomplished in a silo. This system framework is organized into the three components of schools: organizational culture, physical place, and educational program. Within these three components, total of nine principles have been identified.


  • BPS Science and Boston Student Advisory Council created, K-12 science lessons on climate change.
  • Boston Green Academy is a recipient of a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award. The award honors schools that reduce environmental impacts and costs; improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and provide effective environmental sustainability and education.
  • During the 2018-2019 academic year, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School participated EcoRise’s Leed Prep Program.
  • EcoRise received a grant from Salesforce to offer their Sustainable Intelligence Program to BPS teachers and schools during the 2019-2020 academic year. The program includes curriculum, funding for student projects, and teacher supports. Details at
  • Following several weeks of learning climate change science, Ms. Finkel’s 7th grade science class at the McKay implemented the “Climate Change Mixer” from the People’s Curriculum for the Earth, to roleplay how real individuals are already being impacted by climate change.
  • BPS teachers Nicole Ruttan (Umana Academy K-8) and Kris Grymonpre (McCormack Middle School) were awarded the 2019 Massachusetts Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy & Environmental Education for their “Stormwater Management Curriculum integration pilot program”, using the Irving Middle School’s green stormwater infrastructure to teach the BPS GSI curriculum.
  • In 2019, Boston Green Academy received Chapter 74 status for an Environmental Science & Technology career and technical education (CTE) pathway program, the only BPS school to offer this pathway. Graduates of the CTE pathway will be prepared to continue their education in college or enter the workforce with environmentally-specific knowledge and experience for work as water quality specialists, environmental scientists and engineers, and community and state officials investigating real-world environmental issues. Graduates of the Environmental Science pathway program will be certified in First Aid and CPR, 10-hour OSHA general industry safety, and OSHA 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations. Students will also be trained in wastewater and drinking water technologies, and prepared to take the Massachusetts Class II Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Massachusetts Grade I Drinking Water Treatment Exams administered by the State of Massachusetts. 


Building Learners is a complete, data-driven and curricular package that uses your school’s eco footprint to bring lessons to life. Students sharpen their analysis and problem-solving skills and observe the benefits of their impact on their school’s sustainability performance.

Building Learners empowers students to use their building as a learning laboratory. Students collect, analyze, and conduct real-world investigations that inform improvements around waste, energy, water, health, and transportation at their school. Working with BPS Sustainability and a volunteer green building professional serving as a mentor, students also get exposure to sustainability careers and build positive relationships with members of their community.

Boston Latin School, Boston Green Academy, and Josiah Quincy Elementary School currently use Building Learners. 



Facilities Management
1216 Dorchester Ave.
Boston, MA 02125