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Environmental Literacy Details

Our Vision for Environmental Literacy

Every student in Alameda will feel connected to the outdoors through regular and consistent field trips, access to service learning experiences, and integrated classroom and field-based experiences.

Through scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and environmental know-how, students will graduate prepared to solve the world’s problems.

Why is Environmental Literacy Important?

It’s essential: College and career readiness depends on students knowing how to think like scientists, and we have to work with students to protect our natural environment.

It’s engaging: Children are naturally curious and inquisitive, and our local natural resources are wonderful places to learn.

It’s for everyone: All students can learn from their beautiful Alameda environment and benefit from a connection to their home environment.



AUSD is currently focusing its environmental literacy efforts on three theme areas:

•    Ocean and Bay Science
•    Watershed Protection
•    Ecology and Biodiversity Awareness


Environmental literacy is also being integrated in science instruction in grades K-8 via the FOSS program. At the same time, the district is working to implement the goals of the Ocean Guardian District Grant, which was received in 2017. AUSD is the second (and largest) district in the state to receive this designation.

Experiential Education
In addition to curricula and programs, the district has developed an articulated list of environmental education experiences for grades K-12. The goal is for students to participate in at least one environmental education experience per year.

Professional Development

In order to support a wide range of activities currently being implemented, AUSD is providing professional development for teachers that includes experiential learning and follow-up training.

For years, for instance, AUSD has partnered with BaySci and the Lawrence Hall of Science to convene and develop teacher-leaders who have helped lead AUSD into increased levels of scientific inquiry in grades K-8.

Recently AUSD also partnered with ChangeScale as an inaugural district that is now providing additional paid professional development opportunities for teachers to increase their awareness and exploration of integrating environmental literacy in their science curricula.


In addition, Michelle Kuttner (a teacher at Bay Farm School and the Go Green Coordinator for AUSD) and Sean McPhetridge have both spoken to other districts about the environmental literacy work in which AUSD is engaged.  These presentations have been made at the request of BaySci and ChangeScale.


The district is also developing a network of environmental education providers who can provide support on integrating Environmental Principles & Concepts with NGSS.

Environmental Literacy
Curricular Materials

To support its environmental literacy efforts,  the district is using a range of curricular materials and practices across the grades, including:

  • California Department of Education Blueprint for Environmental Literacy
  • Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs)
  • Ocean Literacy Essential Principals
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)


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