Coming Soon

Austin Green School is in the beginning stages of development and planning. We hope to open our doors by fall 2013. Our school will be kinder through high school with the possibility of an early childhood center.
If you are interested in helping us in any way please email us at
In the mean time please enjoy our blog as we make public our efforts and experiences.
We know the road ahead will be filled with many challenges but we are determined to give the community of Austin
the gift of a progressive educational community. Wish us luck!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spirituality in Education

Spirituality in Education

"What transforms education, is a
transformed being in the world."

Parker Palmer
The spiritual poverty of much contemporary education provides few opportunities for today's youth to quench their deep thirst for meaning and wholeness. Misguided, or unconscious attempts by students to attain some sense of fulfillment often result in varying degrees of addictive behavior toward activities, substances or relationships - all of which make teaching and learning difficult, if not impossible.Compulsive or reckless activity, substance abuse, and empty sexuality can result from students trying to escape the pain of an inner emptiness. In the classroom this can manifest as lack of interest, lack of self-worth, lack of compassion, lack of self-discipline and lack of spirit.

A more 'soulful' education seeks to open the mind, warm the heart and awaken the spirit of each student. It would provide opportunities for students to be creative, contemplative, and imaginative. It allows time to tell old and new stories of heroes, ideals and transformation. It encourage students to go deep into themselves, into nature, and into human affairs. It values service to others and the planet.
A spiritualized curriculum values physical, mental and spiritual knowledge and skills. It presents knowledge within cultural and temporal contexts, rather than as facts to be memorized or dogma to be followed. It is integrative across all disciplines emphasizing inter-relationship and inter-connectedness. It challenges students to find their own place in space and time, and to reach for the highest aspirations of the human spirit.

Books on Spirituality and
Spirituality in Education

Zohar, D & Marshall, I. (2000). SQ: Connecting With Our Spiritual Intelligence. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing  
Walsh, Roger. (1999)  Essential Spirituality.  New  York: John Wiley  
Sloan, D. (1983) Insight-Imagination. Westport, CT:Greenwood Press  
Palmer, Parker (1983)  To Know As We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education.  New York:Harper Collins.  
Moffet, J. (1994). The Universal Schoolhouse: Spiritual Awakening Through Education, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers  
Moore, T.  (1994) Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. New York: HarperPerennial  
Moore, T.  (2000) Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality. New York: HarperCollins  
Miller, J.P. (1994)  The Contemplative Practitioner.  Toronto: OISE Press  
Kessler, R. (2000) The Soul of Education: Helping Students Find Connection, Compassion, and Character at School Virginia: ASCD  
Glazer, Steven. (1999)  The Heart of Learning: Spirituality in Education.  New York: Tarcher/Putnam  
Brussat, F. and M.  (1996)  Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life. New York: Scribner
Pearmain, E.D. (Ed.) (1998) Doorways to the Soul: 52 Wisdom Tales From Around The World Ohio: The Pilgrim Press
Grof, C. (1993). The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction and the Spiritual Path. San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco.  
Tacey, David (2000) Re-Enchantment: The New Australian Spirituality. Sydney:HarperCollins
Palmer, Parker (1998)  The Courage to Teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher's life.  San Francisco: Jossey Bass.  
Miller, John P. (2000) Education and the Soul: Toward a Spiritual Curriculum. State University of New York Press
Nakagawa, Yoshiharu (2000)  Education for Awakening An Eastern Approach to Holistic Education Foundation for educational Renewal, Brandon, VT
Great Ideas in Education
Box 328, Brandon, VT

(Translated by Madeline Newman Rios and Gregory S. Miller)
Miller, J &  Nakagawa, Y (eds)  Nurturing Our Wholeness
Perspectives on Spirituality in Education

Psychology Press/Holistic Education Press
Box 328, Brandon, VT

The preceding information and article come from the Holistic Education Network. HEN is a valuable resource for spiritual practices in education. Please visit their website for more information. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

As simple as ABC: Going Green in Education

As Simple as ABC: Going Green in Education

Green schools banner Students are our future – whether they are just entering kindergarten or about to graduate college, you can’t argue with that fact. So much time, energy and money are spent on education to ensure that we are raising up the leaders our world needs for tomorrow… According to the National Center for Education Statistics Digest of Education Statistics of 2010, the United States is home to some 140,000 schools (elementary, secondary & post-secondary) and over 85 million students in public & private schools. Educating our future leaders on the basics shouldn’t be our only goal while they are in school – we should be setting an example for them, including how we treat the environment. And we can start by greening our schools.
We already put money into our schools and they are doing just fine.
Why do they need more money?

We are already putting money into our schools, this is true, but our schools are not fine. Take a look at these staggering statistics:
  • 60% of US schools have major building features in disrepair
  • 33% of America’s schools have buildings in need of extensive repair or replacement
  • 43% of schools have unsatisfactory indoor environmental conditions
  • 20% of schools have unsatisfactory indoor air quality
There are a number of schools on “probation” for mold content or other air quality issues. Our students are spending a majority of their week in these buildings. Problems in other areas require funding that would go to another area and so on and so on… leaving things like air quality at the bottom of the list. Leaving our students in an unsatisfactory environment is simply not acceptable.
Okay, so they need help… But why should I support “greening” my school?
Isn’t that more investment than it’s worth?

Image: Stuart Miles /
Looking for more of a reason than to set a good example for 85 million students while keeping them in a healthier environment? Take a look at these statistics from the Green Schools Leadership Center:
  • Green schools may cost less than 2% more than conventional schools (about $3 per square foot) but they provide financial benefits that are 20 times as large
  • A green school saves an average of $100,000 annually – enough to hire 2 new teachers, buy 250 new computers, or purchase 5000 new textbooks
  • Teacher Retention increases by an average of 3% and teachers experience a 7% decrease in sick days
  • Test scores and learning ability improves on average 3-5% – equating to an annual earning increase of $532 per student
So let me get this straight: we can create a better quality learning environment for our students that will increase their learning ability while retaining more of our teachers in a building that is better for the environment and also happens to save an average of $100,000 per year?
Yes! The statistics are right there and they’ve been verified. Green schools have more benefits and a higher ROI than we give them credit for, even starting with something seemingly small like recycling more.
Fantastic! How do I get started greening my school?
Whether you are a parent, teacher, superintendent or concerned citizen, we suggest speaking to someone who has authority over your school about improvements that could be made to address the green initiative while also providing benefits to the school. The Green Schools Leadership Center mentioned above is a great resource to look through as well as checking out LEED credits that your school can earn through simple adjustments. Though the GSLC was originally created to raise funding to build new green schools, their resources have since expanded to offer help to existing schools looking to implement green processes wherever they can.
Since energy and electricity are some of the biggest environmental bullies, we suggest starting by looking at your energy systems and electric appliances and then moving on from there.
  • Do you have any renewable energy systems – do you have a good spot for a couple of solar panels?
  • Are you recycling all the materials you can recycle (plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard, glass, batteries etc.) and are you incorporating recycled materials into your everyday processes?
  • Which areas in your building require the most electricity or energy and are there products out there to reduce the amount you are using?
  • What types of foods are served in your cafeteria or dining areas  and could more fresh or organic produce be used?
  • What are you doing with the property around your school building? Is there space for an educational school garden? Could you replace some of the recreational equipment with certified “green” playground equipment?
The list could go on and on!
What types of products of services should I be looking into?
Products and services which feature recycled materials, energy reduction, are biodegradable or can be recycled themselves are a great start. The reason green schools save so much money each year is that they reduce the amount of energy, electricity and water used while also providing a way to use renewable energy sources. In terms of hand hygiene and restroom hygiene, Workplace Essentials strives to be a green leader with its innovative products and services which are perfect for educational institutions.
Whether in your restrooms or in your food service areas, the Foam Hand Soap Service offers a Green Seal Certified formula that meets industry standards and reduces waste.
Earn LEED credits with the help of the EcoDri Automatic Hand Dryer, a touch-free hand dryer which dries hands in 15-20 seconds while using 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers.
Keep your female teachers, teenage and adult students safe from bloodborne pathogens with the Sanitary Disposal Service. A masking tray inside the unit shields and protects the user from the contents while reducing the risk of drain blockage since users will not need to flush sanitary products. Inside each sanitary disposal unit is an EcoCard Sanitary Waste Neutralizer, a biological alternative to hazardous chemicals which reduces exposure to toxins while neutralizing waste with vapor release technology. The EcoCard is made from 100% recycled, biodegradable products.