Every school should provide a healthy and engaging environment where our children can learn and grow.

There are over 130,000 K-12 schools in the United States. Within these schools, over 55 million students spend the majority of their time living, breathing and learning.

Today, due to budget constraints, aging infrastructures and competing municipal priorities, a majority of schools are often unhealthy and in disrepair.

A healthy school, however, has been shown to improve student and teacher achievement, attendance, health and well-being.

By supporting healthy schools in your community, you are fueling a movement to provide a safe and healthy future for our children and our country.

In this tough economy, every dollar counts. This is especially true at public schools where difficult budgetary decisions are faced every day. The installation of more efficient lighting, state of the art heating, cooling and ventilation systems to improve air quality, new windows and energy saving features like solar panels all can help to significantly decrease the amount of money a school must pay towards fuel costs. Instead, that money can go for teacher salaries, healthier food in cafeterias, safer play spaces and more physical education in the outdoors.

Obesity is a real and serious problem in our country. Historically, obesity and its host of related diseases struck only adults. Today, more and more our children are falling victim to this preventable condition. Indeed, the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. By supporting healthy schools, you’ll be ensuring that our children are served nutritious meals at school, including lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, accompanied by curriculum teaching them to make the right food choices to help them grow.

Healthy children need to spend time outdoors being physically active. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that youth participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Studies have also shown that time spent playing outside improves student test scores and behavior. Your contribution towards healthy schools will help build safe, engaging playgrounds where all children can have fun, enjoy exercising and engage the great outdoors.

In 2005, Earth Day Network was one of the first organizations to champion what has since become a national healthy schools movement. These schools are at the vanguard of progressive education and environmental movements, combining the best traditional educational approaches with 21st century innovations in building science, renewable energy and green economy support.

Healthy schools provide an extremely cost-effective way to enhance student learning and health, reduce operational costs and environmental impacts, and increase a community’s overall quality and competitiveness. Benefits accrue in the economic, educational and environmental sectors to create a win-win situation for any healthy school project.

In 2007, former President Clinton, on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, the U.S. Green Building Council and Earth Day Network, announced a commitment to “green America’s schools within

a generation.” Since that announcement, Earth Day Network has provided critical leadership and support to thousands of students, teachers, schools and communities in the U.S. and around the world. Annually, our programs directly reach over 30,000 educators and offer guidance and commentary in notable publications to transform the national dialogue on education in America.

Our combined efforts help communities to save millions of dollars, and millions of pounds of pollution. With one-fifth of Americans working and learning in schools everyday, should schools must become the norm. Earth Day Network seeks to continue our leadership to fundamentally build sustainability in schools nationwide.