Superintendents’ Environmental Education Collaborative hosts climate change events

LA Swamp

On March 2, 2017, Upstream Alliance is leading a team that will take 90 school superintendents on a boat trip through a Louisiana bayou and a bus tour through the Lower 9th Ward. The excursion will use climate change in New Orleans as a “teachable moment.”

The four-hour field trip will follow a one-hour briefing session on the opportunities for superintendents to partner with environmental education organizations to strengthen their curriculums. The events are part of the American Association of School Administrators’ annual conference and are sponsored by the Superintendents’ Environmental Education Collaborative (SEEC).

“This is a historic opportunity to facilitate an ongoing conversation between superintendents and environmental partners and to leverage ESSA funding to help environmental literacy efforts,” said Dr. Kevin Maxwell, chief executive officer (CEO) of Prince George’s County Public Schools, in Maryland.

Designed to further the ongoing conversation between superintendents and partners from environmental organizations, the morning session will explore how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be used to expand environmental education and environmental literacy. We will encourage school administrators to create real-world learning experiences that bolster Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning, civic engagement, and prepare students for the opportunities of the 21st century workforce.

“This is innovative and unprecedented – to have funding and cooperation among superintendents across the nation,” said Don Baugh, president of Upstream Alliance.

On the boat trip and bus tour, we will discuss disappearing local ecosystems and the need for education on environmental issues. On the bayou, the superintendents will “jug-line” for catfish, set crab pots, cast nets, look for alligators, and step onto the marsh under the tutelage of local boat captains and National Park Service interpreters.  This world-class ecosystem is in peril due to climate change and is an ideal canvas on which to illustrate the need for environmental education. Several superintendents and educators will present their own experience in turning environmental challenges into employment opportunities in the 21st century.

The Collaborative is co-chaired by Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland and Anne Campbell, superintendent of San Mateo County Schools in California. This effort is supported by Upstream Alliance, North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and Project Learning Tree.