November 9, 2023 Newsletter

The good news? A  growing number of school districts across California are developing environmental literacy plans to ensure that every student has access. 

Even better news! Leaders in many districts are moving toward a whole systems approach by including a wider range of partners and perspectives in the transformation process. This month, we share reflections from the Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit in Pasadena, highlight the incredible work by district leaders across California, celebrate CAELI’s District Innovation Hub’s statewide leadership award, announce our first-ever statewide survey, and more. 

Awards, Meet-Ups, and Solidarity for CAELI’s District Innovation Hub

Award winners, including Jeff Rivero (far right) and students from Merced Union High School District, Ava Codd, Michael Benitez, Omar Antonio-Vasquez, and Roberto Piceno
Award winners, including Jeff Rivero (far right) and students from Merced Union High School District, Ava Codd, Michael Benitez, Omar Antonio-Vasquez, and Roberto Piceno

CAELI’s District Innovation Hub was honored to win the Environmental Literacy Leadership award at the Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit in Pasadena last month.

The District Innovation Hub hosted its third annual meetup at last month’s summit to bring district leaders together to share their experiences and recognize the larger network of environmental literacy champions across the state. District leaders shared how they are passing board resolutions requiring climate change education, developing K–12 scope and environmental learning lessons, and linking sustainability and equity. We heard from environmental literacy leaders from Fremont Unified, Montebello Unified School District, Rio School District, Modesto City Schools, and other districts across the state. It was exciting to see the power of collaboration in action through our District Innovation Hub.

Read our recap here.

take the California school survey for environmental literacy

Help Us Spread the Word! Announcing Our First Statewide School Survey

We are excited to announce our first-ever statewide environmental literacy survey to help us understand the ways Environmental Literacy Education takes place in California schools and how CAELI can expand efforts in the future! 

Our goal is to hear directly from educators, principles, and site administrators across TK–12 schools in California so we can best address the needs on the ground. Help us get a full picture of the landscape across California by taking our survey if you are eligible and sharing it with any California teachers, administrators, or principals in your life. Complete the 15-minute survey for a chance to win one of four $250 prizes!

The survey will identify areas of strong achievement, as well as which schools and districts might currently lack access to environment-based learning experiences. The information will be used by school districts and county offices of education to make equity-focused decisions regarding support for student programs, professional learning, and other resources. 

Take or share the survey.

Save the Date! December 13 CAELI Quarterly Meeting

The next CAELI Quarterly meeting will be held on December 13th. CAELI Members, please check your calendar for an invite from 9-12. At this virtual gathering we will share resources to advance environmental learning for all of California’s TK–12 students, hear from other CAELI members, and get updates on our statewide efforts. All CAELI members are welcome and encouraged to attend. 

If you’re not currently a member, we have many opportunities for you to get involved. Learn about how you can become a member of CAELI here.

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 leaders! 

Opportunities, Events, and News

  • “Mother Nature may be the best teacher.” EdSource agrees that time in nature can be a powerful educational tool for students of all ages. Read more
  • The California PTA is getting involved in combating climate change. Recognizing the role that parents can play in advancing environmental literacy in schools, the PTA shared resources with PTA leaders throughout the state on how to start climate conversations at your school or school district. We are especially excited to see their commitment to the Sustainable and Climate Ready Schools Coalition (SCRSC). 
  • In the U.S. Congress, the Green Ribbon Act was introduced in September to “promote environmental education, health and wellness, and sustainability literacy in schools across the United States.” We will be watching its progress to hopefully become national law in the future. Learn more.
  • Launching The American Climate Corps! The Biden Administration’s recent announcement for a workforce initiative to train young people for high-quality jobs in the climate resilience economy helps expand awareness of the need for quality environmental education. Visit the website.
  • Happy plants, happy class! Education Week shares that having plants or views of nature in the classroom has been proven to help boost students’ moods and reduce stress. They even include practical tips from teachers! Learn more
  • Learn how to access $500 million in funding for climate career pathways through California’s Golden State Pathways Program. Join CAELI’s Green Career Innovation Hub on Thursday December 7th, 2023 from 9:30-11:00 am for an interactive webinar launching our resource site and hearing from climate education leaders. Register here.