School Assembly Program

Student-led School Assemblies


Green School Annual Kick-Off (Fall)

This annual, all-student assembly, presented by Sustainability Ambassadors and peers from the School Green Team and ASB, features the unveiling of the schools sustainability goals and work plan for the year. Student speakers inspire their peers by showcasing local and global case studies of what sustainability looks like when fully realized and how the school’s goals are related to performance measures used by city and county government. Every student leaves the assembly with a clear idea about the schools sustainability goals and what they can do to help achieve them.


Green Schools Annual Progress Report (April)

Held each year on or near Earth Day, the most popular secular holiday on the planet, this all-student assembly, presented by Sustainability Ambassadors and peers from the School Green Team and ASB, is the bookend to the Green Schools Kick-Off Assembly in the fall. Where the Kick-Off Assembly features a joint work plan and goals, the Progress Report Assembly features data-driven updates of actually progress made and relates the progress that the school is making to parallel work occurring at other scales, from local government to state, federal and global performance measures.


Freshman Orientation

This orientation assembly, especially designed by upperclassman for the incoming freshman class, supports new students in understanding how a “culture of sustainability” permeates clubs, classrooms, facilities and extracurricular activities and how all of these actions relate to the sustainability policies, goals and performance measures in the larger community.


School Assembly Program with Peter Donaldson

Assembly Topics can be presented in combination with the STAR Seminar Series


Sustainability 101

A lively introduction to systems thinking with the biggest possible systems to think about… the integration of ecological, economic and social conditions past, present and future. Students gain a personalized understanding of what a sustainable future looks like based on the following definition for sustainability, now accepted world-wide: “meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.” This assembly can be offered separately or in combination with the STAR Seminar Series.


Senior Project - Sustainability Speed Dating

This annual assembly-workshop-workout is especially designed for the juniors in high school. It’s scheduled just before the junior class makes decisions about their senior projects. It’s a raucous romp through 101 potential sustainability projects and how each is related to the sustainability policies, goals and performance measures in the larger community. Interactive and empowering with worksheets and online tools for each participant.


Stormwater Systems Thinking

A playful, poignant overview of the biggest source of pollution in Puget Sound.. The Stormwater Systems Thinking Assembly integrates three frameworks that support students in using primary source materials to drive inquiry learning and community problem solving: (1) stormwater pollution, (2) stormwater solutions and (3) stewardship actions. Students gain an understanding of the legal obligation their local city has to coordinate collective action to reduce polluted stormwater runoff in their jurisdiction. No one entity can do this alone. It’s a community challenge requiring a systems approach. This assembly can be offered separately or in combination with the STAR Seminar Series.


Green Building Systems

The Pacific Northwest leads the world in building the case for the greenest possible buildings. We are not only constructing them, we are designing the performance criteria and driving a new industrial revolution in materials and engineering. Students gain an understanding of the range of green building certification systems including current city green building codes, Built Green, LEED, the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol and the Living Building Challenge. The Assembly employs a case study approach using SEED, the world’s first sustainable school portable and the Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial office building on the planet, both here in Seattle. This assembly can be offered separately or in combination with the STAR Seminar Series.


Zero Waste

The City of Seattle has established a policy framework for eliminating the concept of garbage from our lives. Nature doesn't waste a single resource. It cycles every molecule. It seems inefficient not to follow nature’s example. Seattle defines “Zero Waste” as a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Here’s the question at the heart of the Zero Waste Assembly: “Where do you start? This assembly can be offered separately or in combination with the STAR Seminar Series.


Special Theatrical Performances


Our Town 2050

In the aftermath of the great depression, Thornton Wilder wrote “Our Town” about everyday life in Grover’s Corners, a fictional community in rural New England so wonderfully pedestrian we begin to believe that it is real. Our Town 2050 is a seductive journey backcasting from our everyday sustainable lifestyle here, in Puget Sound in the year 2050. Peter Donaldson walks us through a compelling PowerPoint presentation looking back on our many successes. The pictures are vivid, the narrative compelling, the science accurate, only there is no projector, just a blank screen and a really good story. The power of Peter’s imagination is persuasive and positive, a perfect introduction to our shared future. Imagine it. This assembly can be offered separately or in combination with the STAR Seminar Series.


Everybody Knows How the Real World Works

Peter Donaldson performs a fascinating riddle story excerpted from his one man theatrical production Salmonpeople. “Everybody Knows How the Real World Works” features the anxious deliberations of the great council of creatures as they anticipate the arrival of the first human people. Stepping in and out of character, Peter facilitates a dialogue about our assumptions today as we try to answer the question, “How does the real world work?” And, if we can figure that out… are we telling our collective story effectively? Where are we stuck and where can we find the leverage points to leap forward towards a sustainable future?


The Salmon Boy Story

Peter Donaldson performs an elaborate (and hilarious) drumming story based on Claire Rudolf Murphy’s beautiful picture book, The Prince and the Salmon People, an adaptation from a Tsimishian Legend. Stepping in and out of character, Peter facilitates a participatory inquiry comparing the teachings from this indigenous legend to the principles of sustainability today. Peter shares a range of inspiring actions taking place in our region with a focus on leverage points for systems change.


About Peter Donaldson