Green Schools

Kearney Public Schools is committed to going GREEN!

In January 2014, KPS established the Green Schools Initiative, representing the district's collective efforts to be a good environmental steward and use resources in a wise and sustainable manner. The Green Schools Initiative began with the development of the KPS Sustainability Master Plan, which identified goals and strategies in four key areas: energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction + recycling, and employee engagement.

Via the Green Schools Initiative and the implementation of the identified strategies, KPS will become a "greener," more sustainable school district. A district that is fiscally responsible and maintains an excellent learning environment, while generating less waste, being more energy and water efficient, limiting the use of toxic chemicals, and demonstrating a culture committed to environmental responsibility.




Kearney Public Schools
Board of Education Sustainability Statement

Embodied within the mission of Kearney Public Schools is a dedication to help our students develop into good citizens that are responsible, contributing members of our society. And part of what defines a good citizen is one that uses resources in a wise and efficient manner, otherwise defined as using our resources in a sustainable way.

The actions we pursue are a collection of focused efforts to help meet our educational goals by wisely using our resources and concurrently demonstrating environmental stewardship to our students, staff, and community.

Kearney Public Schools seeks to serve as a positive role model for our community and our students; our efforts to be resource efficient further solidify our stature as a community leader, as well as demonstrate the type of behaviors and commitment to environmental stewardship that will help students develop into responsible and contributing members of our community.

"As it aligns with our system's mission, KPS will continue to serve as a good role model for our community and our students, and the Green Schools Initiative presents an exemplary opportunity for us to do this while also reducing our environmental impact and saving financial resources."  Dr. Kent Edwards, KPS Superintendent



School-based Green Teams play a vital role in the KPS Green Schools Initiative. Fortunately, almost every KPS school has a Green Team, which are led by talented Green Team Champions (volunteer co-coordinators) who help facilitate the team and coordinate activities. The activities can vary from school to school, but they often involve students and contribute to reducing energy use, water use, and/or waste production. As a result of these activities, Green Teams help their respective schools limit their environmental impact and demonstrate good environmental stewardship. For additional information on KPS Green Teams, please email

KPS Cares!

In 2019, 95% of KPS employees indicated that it is important to them that the district is committed to environmental stewardship and conserving energy and resources. 

"I believe the KPS Green Schools Initiative is a good program that helps us to be good stewards of our resources, including our financial resources as well." KPS Sustainability Survey Respondent 





Dashboard - This new tool helps the district track progress toward its overall sustainability goals, which were originally adopted in January 2014 and updated in 2018. Click on the tabs/icons below to see the district's progress in the areas of recycling, waste reduction, energy use, water use, and sustainability engagement.

Screenshot of KPS sustainability dashboard


Green Data Sheets - This internal resource is integrated with the Dashboard above, and it allows teachers, building administrators, and custodial/engineering staff to view the data specific to their school. It shows school-by-school data as well as peer averages, district data, and district goals for Energy Star ratings, water, and waste data. Internal KPS staff/students can also view electricity and natural gas usage by building using this tool. 



 As shown in the dashboard above, KPS uses the EPA's Energy Star program to assess and communicate how energy-efficient the district's buildings are. Energy Star provides a rating from 1 to 100. Higher scores are better, and a rating of 75 or above makes a K12 school eligible to apply for a national Energy Star award. Energy Star also accounts for variables such as weather, building size, and hours of operation. In doing so, it allows KPS to not only compare its buildings, but it also allows for national comparison with other schools and districts. If your building has a rating of 75 or above and your school is interested in applying for an Energy Star award, contact

KPS' average Energy Star rating for the district is 87.5 as of May 2020. The district set a goal in 2018 to achieve an Energy Star rating of 85 by 2023. While KPS has made significant progress on this goal outside of the pandemic that should not be discounted, this increase in score may be due in part to decreases related to unoccupied buildings during COVID-19. For more information contact

To view the Energy Star ratings for specific KPS schools as of May 2020, click the link below. Internal KPS staff can also view these ratings by school on the Green Data Sheets site.


 The 2019-2020 KPS Green Schools Challenge (GSC) involves completing various activities that help individual buildings and the district as a whole be more environmentally responsible. The activities provide opportunities for staff and students to get involved in sustainability issues such as energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling and many more.

Three recognition/incentive levels are incorporated into the GSC to reward schools for their active involvement. Schools achieve these levels of recognition by completing activities.
  • Level 1 (Green Performance) - Participation in five activities.
    Receive a framed certificate of recognition and $50 for Green Team Activities next year and $100 for the Principal’s budget.
  • Level 2 (Green Achievement)- Participation in six to nine activities.
    Receive $150 for Green Team activities next year and a small award banner and $200 for the Principal’s budget.
  • Level 3 (Green Excellence) - Participation in ten or more activities.
    Receive $300 for Green Team activities next year and a large award banner and $400 for the Principal’s budget.
    All schools that achieve Level 3 participation are placed into a raffle; the selected school receives $450 to spend on district-approved items. Approved items could entail smart power strips, vending machine energy misers, native landscaping/trees, rain barrels, native plants for classrooms, and indoor/outdoor recycling containers. All items must be approved by the district prior to purchase.

Due to COVID-19, the Green Schools Challenge is currently paused for the 2020-21 school year. Visit the GSC webpage to learn more about the resources and details of the 2019-2020 KPS Green Schools Challenge.


The district offers many resources to be involved in the Green Schools Initiative. During a normal year, the best way to be involved is to participate in the Green Schools Challenge. However, while COVID-19 has caused a disruption in this program, you can still take actions to help your school reduce resource use and be more sustainable. See below for guidance documents and resources.

KPS Green Schools Challenge & Related Resources: This webpage explains the details, awards, and resources connected to last year's KPS Green Schools Challenge. 

KPS Green Schools Initiative 101: Simple ways your school can still be involved in the Green Schools Initiative and reduce resource use. 

KPS Energy and Resource Management Policy: This comprehensive document outlines the district's expectations for operating a resource-efficient building. Updated in August 2018.


Energy and Waste Guidance

Click the arrows on the right below to view resources specific to energy and waste/recycling.

KPS' Energy goal is to reach a district-wide average Energy Star rating of 85. Energy Star ratings are a direct reflection of a building's energy efficiency. Below are resources to help reduce energy use in your building and get involved in the Green Schools Initiative.

  • Pesky Plug Load: A Guide for Turning Off & Unplugging Devices: This resource explains which devices should be turned off or unplugged when not in use. If printing, please note that this poster is 11"x17". 
  • Energy Smart Classroom Checklist: A quick checklist for classroom occupants to reference when leaving at the end of the day.
  • Energy Smart Squad: An Energy Smart Squad is a group of supervised students who tour unoccupied classrooms and/or offices after the school day ends to see if key pieces of equipment are shut down or unplugged.  See the resource documents below for more information: 

KPS' goal is to reach a district-wide recycling rate of 40%. Below are resources and actions to help your building reduce waste and increase recycling. 

  • KPS What's Recyclable List: This document identifies all of the items that can and cannot be recycled via KPS' recycling program.
  • KPS Office/Classroom Recycling Sign: This sign can be attached to any container used to collect recyclables (or posted near/above the container). It communicates to individuals that the container is for recyclables and reminds them of the main items that should be recycled.
  • KPS Recycling Bin Assessment: Use this form to identify if your school has adequate office and classroom signage. Send the completed form to to request additional recycling bins.

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