Following a series of community forums, work is now underway to implement environmentally conscious programming at four neighborhood schools before this fall and through January 2018.
Eco-Schools USA, a subsidiary of the National Wildlife Federation, the organization in charge of implementing the program, is training teachers from PS 31, PS 34, PS 110, and MS 126 to prepare for a seamless transition into the regular curriculum when school starts again.
The teachers undergoing training will then serve as ambassadors for their colleagues at each of the respective schools.
At a three-day workshop conducted this week by the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF), the teachers learned about creating a shared vocabulary around sustainability, discussed the challenges students of the future face, as well as what they need to know and do to become initiators of positive change upon graduating.
CELF, a non-profit that provides professional development to teachers on education for sustainability, held the workshop at MS 126 on Leonard Street.
Over the three days, the Summer Institute, as the training program is called, hosted science teachers, a Principal, and a sustainability coordinator who have successfully implemented environmentally conscious curricula,and the Eco-Schools program, in their schools.
“Teachers and principals are receiving training on how to support and implement this kind of learning in their schools,” said Emily Fano, a senior manager for Eco-Schools USA, who is overseeing the project in Greenpoint. “Each school will have a full-time “Sustainability Coach” who will support teachers and student learning throughout the year, as well as help to implement sustainability initiatives to reduce waste, energy, and water use, reduce toxics and increase green space.”
Back when the program was first announced, all four schools involved were given presentations on the new program. Teams of teachers volunteered to spearhead the change at their schools and work collaboratively with the Sustainability Coaches throughout the year.
The program is made possible by a Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) grant, which provided $1.4 million in funding to the project; several city agencies provided $10 million in matching funds to the project as well.
To learn more about the project visit http://www.gcefund.org/docs/projects/schools.pdf