February 8, 2024 Newsletter

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that CAELI’s focus on equity was not always inevitable. In 2015, the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy Task Force recognized the need to understand how best to integrate equity. The resulting Theory of Action emphasized inclusivity and fairness in scaling up environmental literacy for all students and led to equity becoming a core tenant for CAELI in 2019. In a recent interview, Candice Dickens-Russell reflected on the early development of the Blueprint in 2015, how designing for the margins expands support for all, and reflected on her learnings as CAELI has grown.

🌲 What to expect this month:
▸ CAELI’s Equity Evolution
▸ Student Leadership Resources
▸ Responding to AB 285
▸ Innovation Hub Spotlight
▸ Innovation Hub Webinars

Reflecting on CAELI’s Equity Journey

Equity has become a cornerstone of CAELI’s journey. Historically, resource allocation and other decisions relied heavily on the school’s readiness for the investment. CAELI challenges the old paradigm where readiness often favors those with existing resources, overlooking the pressing needs and historical deficits in other communities. This month, we reflect on CAELI’s equity journey with Candice Dickens-Russell, who was one of the original forty seven people selected to serve on the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy Task Force and has continued to serve as the Equity Innovation Hub Co-Lead. 

The evolution of CAELI’s equity initiative can be traced back to the Blueprint’s  development, where discussions initially omitted equity. Recognizing this gap, a dedicated committee emerged to integrate equity, leading to a Blueprint that emphasizes inclusivity and fairness in outdoor education experiences for all students. Equity became a core tenant for CAELI in 2019. Since then, CAELI has led with the philosophy that “equity is both a column and a row.” 

Read more here.

Expand Student Leadership with State Seal Resources

Empower K-12 students to grow their leadership skills, while expanding their environmental learning with grade-appropriate civic engagement projects. California students can earn a State Seal of Civic Engagement on their transcripts, diplomas, and certificates of completion. By supporting both environmental literacy and civic engagement, California is encouraging educators to empower their students to take informed action on important issues in their communities. 

Help students earn the State Seal of Civic Engagement with CAELI’s implementation guide. Our guide is designed to support districts, schools, and teachers in using the lens of environmental literacy to implement the State Seal of Civic Engagement. 

Get our implementation guide here.

Approaches to Climate Literacy: Responding to AB 285

For this month’s District Innovation webinar, we will be discussing the new AB 285 legislation and its impacts on climate literacy. The new law requires the California course of study for grades 1-6 and grades 7-12 to emphasize the causes and effects of climate change and methods to mitigate and adapt to its effects. Join us as we discuss the implications of the law, how to respond, and what you need to know for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Check out our website for more information and register here.

CAELI To Showcase Environmental English Language Arts Superheroes CATE Conference

How do English teachers center environmental literacy and justice in their classrooms in ways that are place-based, meaningful, and empowering? At this year’s California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) conference in L.A., CAELI members will share inspirational stories of teachers integrating environmental literacy and justice into their classrooms through the lens of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Check out the CATE conference website for more information.

Innovation Hub Spotlight

CAELI’s innovation hubs represent a growing community of people dedicated to environmental literacy and outdoor education for youth. Here, we introduce one of our innovation hub members! 

Opportunities, Events, and News

  • Join our COE Community of Practice on February 28 to discuss approaches to support teaching environmental and climate literacy in English, math, and social studies courses. Register for Integrating Environmental Literacy into Core Curriculum here and learn more on our website.
  • CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork has multiple open positions including Special Programs Coordinator and Engagement Specialists. Learn more and apply here.