CAELI March Update: Our Innovation Hub Projects are Thriving!

As we edge closer to the final quarter of the 2023-24 school year, we’re thrilled to bring you a quick update on the many Innovation Hub projects. 

  • First, we had fun at the CAELI COE Innovation Hub meet-up during the annual CISC Leadership Symposium. It was a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and insights with fellow innovators.
  • Then there’s the Equity Innovation Hub, which has been leading the charge on some fantastic equity work within CAELI. We’ll be sharing an update on how this work is coming to fruition starting at the CAELI quarterly meeting.  
  • Finally, we are providing a sneak peek preview of  a new special report that the Green Career Innovation Hub is wrapping up, called the Green Career Call to Action.

Learn more about each project and stay tuned for the rollout of more exciting resources! 

Reflections from the CISC Leadership Symposium 

Anthony Quan of Los Angeles County Office of Education and Amity Sandage of Santa Cruz County Office of Education at CAELI’s first booth at the CISC Leadership Symposium in Monterey. 
Anthony Quan of Los Angeles County Office of Education and Amity Sandage of Santa Cruz County Office of Education at CAELI’s first booth at the CISC Leadership Symposium in Monterey.

Amity Sandage from the COE Innovation Hub Co-Lead represented CAELI as the host of the CAELI table and networking meet-up, and shared the following reflection: “By hosting a  table and networking reception at the CISC Leadership Symposium, our goal was to connect with district and county office of education leaders to increase awareness of CAELI and understanding of environmental literacy within the context of the TK–12 education system. Conference attendees often feel they must prioritize sessions tied closely to their role in the school system and they may not understand how environmental literacy fits in. A number of CAELI members did present sessions, but the tabling allowed us to tailor the conversation to meet folks’s specific needs and point to the wide range of CAELI resources related to their goals. The reception offered a space for people curious to learn more to mix with current and emerging environmental literacy champions to have more in depth conversations. Having the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action youth panel members join us at the reception was an added bonus that kept the discourse tied to the reality of the student experience. I fielded questions from a county superintendent I had never spoken to before about how to support districts to put environmental literacy into their LCAPs – I’d call that a win!”

Yee Wan, Ed. D. celebrates the leaders and climate activists from Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action alongside Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.

Upcoming Debut of the 2024 Equity Guidebook

When CAELI reorganized in 2021, there were numerous discussions about how CAELI members would truly put equity at the heart of the mission to advance environmental literacy. In response to these discussions, the CAELI leadership team and members of the Equity Innovation Hub developed a holistic approach to make this a reality. Most notably by facilitating several equity–related sessions for CAELI members during quarterly meetings to provide opportunities for learning, sharing, and discussion. 

In 2022, the Equity Innovation Hub identified the Equity Guidebook as a vital project and tool for CAELI members and prioritized its development. Compiled by Jason Schlatter and Celeste Royer, the guidebook aims to support CAELI leaders, activators, and members in embedding equity within their actions taken in Innovation Hubs and Working Groups and in building equity literacy more generally. It’s designed to foster equity literacy and encourage practical implementation of recommended strategies. This resource is a step forward in CAELI’s ongoing journey toward equity.

We look forward to sharing this resource with CAELI members at the March quarterly meeting! 

Our Green Career Call to Action 

Should every job be a climate job? We think so! Last week, members of CAELI’s Green Career Innovation Hub debuted a draft of their forthcoming report at the Educating for Careers conference in Sacramento. 

In their “Call to Action: Educating for a Green Economy,” the authors make the case that the realization of California’s ambitious climate policies hinges on the contributions of skilled and innovative workers. However, our education and workforce development systems lack the research, alignment, and commitment to meet this pressing need. The report serves as a call to action to invest in leadership infrastructure to align research–based, green career education and workforce development initiatives to support students and communities who have been left out of the growing green economy. 

We have also curated a collection of promising practice profiles to showcase innovative work happening already in our schools. Right now, counties and districts are also applying for the Golden State Pathways Program (GSPP), which prioritizes ‘STEM pathways focusing on climate resilience ’as part of their ‘high-wage, high-skill, high-growth areas.’ We hope that these profiles serve as models and inspiration for programs that can be taken to scale through the GSPP and other investments. 

Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the full report and opportunities to take action in support of green career education in your region.