The 2023-24 CAELI season got off to a strong start with the first annual CAELI Executive Committee coming together in June 2023 to connect around our shared sense of purpose and to assess and further evolve CAELI’s collective action model. The retreat also marked the change in leadership between former co-chair Craig Strang and new co-chair Estrella Risinger, as well as a change in leadership for several Innovation Hub Co-Leads. An outcome of this retreat included establishing priorities for the year ahead for CAELI Innovation Hubs, and the formation of a few new CAELI-Wide Working Groups.
With a strong foundation in place, CAELI members were able to hit the ground running at the start of the fall season with various working group projects taking hold that have been providing opportunities to build capacity through communities of practice, networking meet-ups, and fellowship programs.
A few highlights from the fall include the District Innovation Hub’s success at hosting a meet-up at the Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit in October, and winning their Green Ribbon award! We have also built ongoing communities of practice hosted by the County Office of Education (COE) and Community-Based Partner (CBP) Innovation Hubs. The Taking Green Ribbon to Scale CAELI-Wide Working Group has also been successful in bringing together several Green Ribbon technical assistance providers across the state, as well as launching a statewide Green Ribbon Network. A number of other hubs have also continued with the theme of landscape-style projects, which center around gathering and analyzing foundational data for understanding systems change from various perspectives. It is particularly exciting to see the launch of the CAELI Site Level Educator Survey by the CAELI Metrics Working Group, in partnership with The Lawrence Hall of Science, which will provide data that will be incredibly useful to all CAELI members.
As we seek to take environmental literacy to scale across California, a key theme that we have been exploring with the CAELI Community at CAELI Quarterly Meetings is an equity-informed understanding of “scale”. In particular, getting more familiar with the enrollment size of school districts and the corresponding demographics related to equity and need, and how this data might inform different strategies of CAELI working group projects to catalyze change at the local, county, and regional levels. This data work is made possible because of the partnership between Ten Strands and the CAELI Metrics working group to support the Data Initiative for Environmental and Climate Action in California’s TK–12 Schools.
Looking forward into the second half of 2023-24, we can anticipate diving deeper into conversations and collaborations that deepen CAELI’s emphasis and commitment to long-lasting systems grounded in equity-based practices with the release of the Equity Guidebook by the CAELI Equity Innovation Hub. Other exciting projects getting underway are a story-telling project being led by the Professional Learning Hub, as well as continued efforts by the Green Career Innovation Hub to build a movement around career education that is grounded in green and climate pathways.
There is much to look forward to in the second half of 2023-24, and CAELI leadership remains grateful for the ongoing commitment that CAELI members have in working collectively to advance environmental literacy in California for ALL students.
Ten Strands Chief Innovation Officer and CAELI Project Director
Stay tuned for upcoming resources and events including our spring webinar series and share our first-ever statewide environmental literacy survey to all of the educators, principals, and administrators in your life. This 15-minute survey will help us understand the ways Environmental Literacy Education takes place in California schools. Take or share the survey.