With the tremendous support of the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Curriculum Council, the P/NW BOCES Curriculum Center decided to undertake the development of a K-12 Education for Sustainability Curriculum in 2008. The Curriculum Center believed this curriculum project is timely, important and urgent and will prepare students for a democratic society, global economy and sustainable future. The goals of the project remain to create, continuously update, and improve a multidisciplinary web-based curriculum that combines engaging and relevant content with the highest quality pedagogy. The project incorporates the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects and insures consistency between units both vertically and horizontally.
The curriculum development project was a multi-year undertaking that included building the capacity of administrators to lead in this area as well as working with teams of teachers to develop a cutting edge sustainability education curriculum. The first year of curriculum writing focused on creating units for Grades 6 – 8. During the summer of 2008, over 100 talented middle school educators from seventeen districts, worked together to draft a multidisciplinary sustainability education curriculum in ELA, social studies, math, science and the arts. The teachers built the sustainability education units around the overarching question, “How are we all going to live well within the means of nature?” which, in turn, was inspired by the definition of sustainability: providing a rich quality of life for all, and accomplishing this within the means of nature. Each grade level then chose an essential question to drive inquiry across the disciplines. These essential questions were based on the teachers’ work with Jaimie Cloud, and addressed the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education (EfS) Core Content Standards.
Once the units were developed by the teachers, they were refined by expert curriculum and sustainability consultants and placed on the web for teacher-writers to pilot during the year. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the teachers returned to BOCES in the spring to provide feedback about curriculum units which was used to enhance the pilot materials.
In 2009-10, the curriculum development cycle continued, and sustainability education curriculum units for grades three, four, and five were developed and in the summer of 2010, K-2 teachers developed their sustainability curriculum. This curriculum has been completed with the creation of EfS units for grades 9 - 12 in 2011 – 2012. The Sustainability Education (EfS) Core Content Standards are therefore addressed throughout elementary, middle and high school. PNW BOCES will use a continuous improvement model to ensure that the units remain at the cutting edge of content and instruction.
To implement this ambitious project, PNW BOCES assembled a talented group of sustainability, curriculum design, and instructional technology experts to work with the educators in involved in the project. Consultants included:
Cloud, international consultant and founder and president of The
Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education in New York City. The
Cloud Institute is dedicated to the vital role of education in creating
awareness, fostering commitment, and guiding actions toward a healthy,
secure and sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations.
Morrison led the development of the grades K - 6 Integrated Social Studies/ELA
curriculum and has published articles, presented at conferences, consulted
to districts and public television, and trained and mentored hundreds
of teachers throughout New York State. For the past twelve years as a
BOCES consultant, Ms. Morrison has worked on-site with districts on
curriculum at all levels. The Westchester Council for Social Studies
has presented Ms. Morrison with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Social
Brandon designed the instructional technology for grades K– 6
Integrated Social Studies/ELA curriculum. She is the Director of Instructional
Technology in the Lakeland Central School District and has presented
at local and national conferences on a variety of topics relating to
instructional technology. Ms. Brandon has received several awards, including
the Pioneer Award for Outstanding Technology Leader from the Lower Hudson
Regional Information Center and the “Excellence in Teaching, Learning,
and Technology” award from Apple Computer.
Helen Pashley worked on the revision of grades 6 – 8 and was the
lead science and math consultant for grades K – 5 and grades 9
- 12. Dr. Pashley was educated at the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge
in the UK, where she taught Biology for grades 6-12. After moving to
the U.S. she became involved with P/NW BOCES Science 21 program as a
curriculum writer, and professional development consultant. She has
worked with teachers and students in many districts throughout Westchester,
Putnam, and Duchess Counties and in New Jersey.
She is committed to environmental issues, and served as President of
the Board of Directors of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
order to facilitate a clear understanding of the EfS Core Content Standards,
teachers involved in the Education for Sustainability project have created
several podcasts related to some of the standards. This is an ongoing
project, with the goal being to have at least one podcast per standard.
here to view and listen to the podcasts.
Education (EfS) Core Content Standards
Preservation and Transformation
How the preservation of cultural histories and heritages, and the transformation
of cultural identities and practices contribute to sustainable communities.
Students will develop the ability to discern with others what to preserve
and what to change in order for future generations to thrive.
The rights, responsibilities and actions associated with leadership
and participation toward healthy and sustainable communities. Students
will know and understand these rights and responsibilities and assume
their roles of leadership and participation.
Dynamics of Systems & Change
A system is made up of two or more parts in a dynamic relationship that
forms a whole whose elements ‘hang together’ and change
because they continually affect each other over time. Fundamental patterns
of systems include growth, decline and vacillation. Students will know
and understand the dynamic nature of complex systems and change over
time. They will be able to apply the tools and concepts of system dynamics
and systems thinking in their present lives, and to inform the choices
that will affect our future.
The evolving theories and practices of economics and the shift towards
integrating our economic, natural and social systems, to support and
maintain life on the planet. Students will know and understand 21st
century economic practices and will produce and consume in ways that
contribute to the health of the financial, social and natural capital.
Healthy Commons are that upon which we all depend and for which we are
all responsible (i.e., air, trust, biodiversity, climate regulation,
our collective future, water, libraries, public health, heritage sites,
top soil, etc.). Students will be able to recognize and value the vital
importance of the Commons in our lives and for our future. They will
assume the rights, responsibilities and actions to care for the Commons.
Laws and Ecological Principles
The laws of nature and science principles of sustainability. Students
will see themselves as interdependent with each other, all living things
and natural systems. They will be able to put their knowledge and understanding
to use in the service of their lives, their communities and the places
in which they live.
and Affecting the Future
The vital role of vision, imagination and intention in creating the
desired future. Students will design, implement and assess actions in
the service of their individual and collective visions.
The perspectives, life experiences and cultures of others, as well as
our own. Students will know, understand, value and draw from multiple
perspectives to co-create with diverse stakeholders shared and evolving
visions and actions in the service of a healthy and sustainable future
locally and globally.
Sense of Place
The strong connection to the place in which one lives. Students will
recognize and value the interrelationships between the social, economic,
ecological and architectural history of that place and contribute to
its continuous health.
It is our
hope that the EfS curriculum project will raise awareness, provide meaningful
experiences for our students and teachers alike, and move our region to
the forefront of sustainability education.
These sample lessons that illustrate “Teaching the Common Core through the Lens of Sustainability” are provided for districts who are interested in previewing the materials before implementing this curriculum in their district. All materials are web-based, and are reviewed and revised each year. This is a "living, breathing" curriculum. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Marla Gardner or Fred Ende at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES. (914) 248 - 2332.
note that you will not be able to link to the other units in the curriculum.
You will have access to all files and links for these two units only.
at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
Curriculum and Instructional Services
further information regarding this curriculum and staff development program,
please contact Dr. Marla Gardner (914) 248-2332. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES,
200 BOCES Drive, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598-4399
rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,
or oltherwise) without the prior written permission of the Putnam/Northern
Westchester BOCES Curriculum Center.