Whole School Transformation - Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation

Whole School Transformation

CELF’s Whole School Change program is designed to assist systemic integration of sustainability throughout curriculum, school culture, campus and community. We support facility and campus infrastructure changes and/or projects and create new corresponding learning opportunities.

Commit to a school-wide approach embracing Education for Sustainability (EfS) as an integrated context for learning across grade levels and subject areas, and in your learning community at large. 

Through this program, CELF supports multiple district/school goals and initiatives, including:

  • Integration of local environmental assets and challenges into customized place-based curriculum units
  • Enhancing current curriculum with the Big Ideas of Sustainability
  • Connecting NGSS to place-based units set in your community 
  • Establishing a professional learning community of educators who work together to implement best practices for sustainability
  • Direct support for achieving the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award reflecting whole-school change
  • Advise on facility and campus changes and/or projects and create new learning opportunities
  • Engage community stakeholders and strengthen partnerships in sustainability initiatives 
  • Coaching on instructional plans for change
  • Ongoing curriculum and instruction support throughout the school year
  • School/District team participation in the CELF Summer Institute

Examples of Tier III/Whole School change engagement with CELF

Putnam Valley Central School District

Putnam Valley’s sustainability initiatives began with their campus infrastructure. As part of an energy performance contract with Consolidated Edison, their local utility company, the school district installed a number of energy efficiency projects on multiple school campuses. The District worked with CELF to better integrate the sustainability changes to their physical plant with their curriculum to engage students in the transformation process. Now the District is on its way to implementing whole-school-change.

CELF engagement in Putnam Valley included: 

  • Working together with school administration and teachers to establish project plan for duration of contract including desired goals and outcomes
  • Touring key facilities with teachers, sustainability teams, and facilities staff to generate new curriculum units connected to infrastructure changes
  • Welcoming teams of Putnam Valley teachers to the CELF Summer Institute for two consecutive summers
  • Conducting 16 on-site professional learning workshops with teacher teams across all schools over a two-year period

Outcomes:

  • Creation of a dedicated website connecting school and community sustainability initiatives
  • Sustain Putnam Valley Week – an annual week-long celebration of sustainability that connects school and community 
  • Ban the Bag campaign – successful student-led effort to convince local businesses to stop using single-use plastic bags
  • School-wide trash-free lunch challenge
  • Establishment of after-school garden club and installation of new school garden

Selected Curriculum Connections:

  • Elementary School/ Kindergarten: Trash Monsters: devising ways to re-use materials 
  • Elementary School/3rd grade: Persuasive writing units on plastic pollution and water conservation 
  • Elementary School/3rd grade: Rainforest Animal Project – create a new animal that can survive well in habitat
  • Elementary School/4th grade: Research project into wind energy
  • Middle School/6th Grade Science: Product Life Cycle unit examining everyday objects from conception to production to end-of-life
  • Middle School: Pollinator Project Symposium
  • Middle School: Place-based pond unit: exploring interdependence and systems in local pond ecosystem
  • High School/Environmental Science: Energy Efficiency investigation unit

Additional resources: 

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