In Year One, CELF will partner with the NYC Department of Education's (DOE) Sustainability Initiative to provide training for all NYC public school (over 1,700) Sustainability Coordinators at each of three (3) professional development sessions. Of these, CELF will work with six (6) K-12 schools on Leadership training for Best Practices in Sustainability Curriculum. This year-long curriculum development program is focused on integrating sustainability topics into K-12 schools existing curricula and will be explicitly connected to the Common Core Learning Standards.
Educators from selected schools will receive: two (2) full days of CELF's professional development and curriculum design guidance, on-site CELF Educator each semester during the school year; access to the CELF Online EfS Curriculum Library, an EfS Curriculum Integration Template, resource lists and assessment tools for follow-up Evaluation.
The Project is aligned with the Common Core Standards, National Science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education standards, and career preparation in the emerging green careers sector.
Teams will be interdisciplinary and will include (5) teachers from each of six (6) participating schools in Year One. Subsequent years will add twelve (12) new NYC public schools for participation in the Project.
The program will provide teams with:
- 2 full days of training and sustainability curriculum development;
- A deeper understanding of EfS principles, strategies to connect these principles to each participant's subject area and grade level;
-A framework to map EfS concepts across their curriculum;
- Support for creating "replacement units" - quality reframed EfS curriculum units, aligned with state and common core standards and a framework to guide assessment of student learning;
- Remote support as needed during the school year;
- Twice per year on-site follow-up support and assessment of student learning outcomes and impact on teaching practices conducted by CELF.
- Sept - April: Teacher Training/ Staff Development Workshops and Program Implementation: with active support including on-site meetings, on-line interactive communication, and telephone support at all levels of sustainability curriculum implementation.
- April- May: Teams document and compile curriculum implementation examples, case studies and student feedback.
- April: Select 12 (twelve) new schools in NYC, and 12 (twelve) schools in additional target regions (D.C./Maryland/VA in 2013 and Boston/MA in 2014) based on RFP criteria which includes demonstrated progress towards sustainable practices, a commitment to ongoing professional development for their faculty, and commitment to reframe curriculum to address Common Core and Education for Sustainability Learning Standards.
- June: Assessment of teaching modifications and student learning. Evaluation: What have teachers done to make a difference in their students' knowledge, skills and attitude?
- June: New Participating School Professional Development Workshop with CELF and Project Partners
Students today face a complex world rife with economic crises, social discord and injustice as well as unprecedented environmental degradation. The necessary solutions to these challenges will require innovation with a global perspective and a local understanding, as well as environmental literacy and economic expertise. Research indicates vast knowledge gaps on such vital 21st century questions as population growth, loss of biodiversity, climate change and air pollution. According to the 2005 Roper/NEETF report 'Environmental Literacy in America', most Americans (~80 percent) believe they know more about the environment than they actually do, and just 12 percent can pass a basic quiz on awareness of energy topics. Without additional efforts today to prepare K-12 students for contemporary challenges, traditional curricula and educational standards will continue to fall behind rapidly advancing frontiers of knowledge.
Education for Sustainability (EfS) is recognized world-wide as a critical teaching platform for producing students capable of addressing these challenges. The Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) focuses on professional development for teachers and administrators and whole school change for a sustainable future. CELF EfS programs strengthen teaching skills and administrative practices that support and enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and citizenship skills, helping teach students to recognize and make decisions based on their understanding of the interconnections between a healthy environment, a vibrant economy and just social structures.
CELF is committed to recruiting and training teachers and administrators from municipalities and school districts across the country to accelerate the adoption of Education for Sustainability as an overarching teaching platform for improving college, career and life preparedness in this increasing complex world.