By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director
Improving the sustainability literacy of California’s 450,000 sixth graders is the goal of a new pilot project uniting SJSU and Creative Change Educational Solutions, a national leader in sustainability education.
This effort will also form a network of teacher education faculty members from SJSU and CSU East Bay. They will develop a sustainability lens for teachers of grades K-8.
The California Alliance for Sustainability will be funded by a $71,333 grant from the the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.
Professor of Geology Ellen Metzger will be the principal investigator. Assistant Professor of Education Grinell Smith, science education coordinator for elementary education, will be the co-principal investigator.
Over 20 in-service teachers and education faculty members from SJSU and California State University East Bay will participate in summer workshops. Then they will receive follow-up support as they significantly re-frame their instructional units and university courses using a sustainability lens, one that expands environmental education to include issues of social equity and economic sustainability.
Metzger and her colleagues will focus on sixth grade science standards, investigating and addressing barriers to implementing educating for sustainability in real classrooms.
Chevron provided $5,000 in seed funding for the project. The effort will build on Metzger’s role as director of SJSU’s Bay Area Earth Science Institute. Now in its 21st year, BAESI offers a comprehensive, year-round professional development program for teachers of grades 4-12.