Washington Green Schools
Washington Green Schools engages hundreds of teachers annually through engaging, hands-on trainings, wherein NGSS instruction is anchored in local climate phenomena that model effective classroom pedagogies, which lead to deep learning and relevant understanding. Through these trainings, teachers explore the relationship between climate science and a local environmental topic (e.g., fires, coastal hazards, agriculture, human health), engaging in science and engineering practices (e.g., argumentation with evidence, asking questions and defining problems) and planing an integration of a learned activity or resource with their students.
Teacher Professional Development
In partnership with ESD 112, Washington Green Schools created STEM Seminars, a “best practice” in professional development, where teachers are challenged to engage in adult learning around climate change locally. A “hook” is used to kick off the day and anchor learning around a local environmental issue. The training balances content around how we know the climate is changing with Ambitious Science Teaching strategies. At each seminar, teachers analyze current and vetted data with climate scientists who have first-hand experience conducting research in Antarctica and Greenland. As a complement to this elevated educational experience, a local speaker specializing in the topic at hand speaks to the regional perspective of the climate challenge being addressed and discuss approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change locally. Structured planning time is also embedded into the day to allow for application of what has been learned into the classroom. In its inaugural year, WGS served 370 teachers through STEM Seminars.
Migrant Education Summer Program
Working with school districts with high migrant student populations and low-income rates, Washington Green Schools created a new summer experience for the Migrant Education Program in Grandview, Prosser, and Kiona-Benton school districts. The program included leveraging lessons from Zombie Guacamole, a 5th grade curriculum about decomposition, ecosystems, and waste, while introducing a digital storytelling component that captured and shared student voices. Field experiences to the local landfill and arboretum also helped create a rich and highly relevant summer school experience for nearly 100 migrant youth.
With connections to our food choices and their effects on climate change, WGS is working to create professional development opportunities for primary school teachers using Zombie Guacamole, a NGSS-driven curriculum for 5th grade. Connecting these lessons to school grounds and gardens and food waste behaviors, these full-day and multi-day experiences will connect what teachers learn in these trainings to their classrooms…and out onto the school campus where they and their students can take action to promote environmental sustainability.
Partners & Collaborators
UW Climate Impacts Group
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Southwest Clean Air Agency
Seattle Public Utilities
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Cowlitz County Public Works
WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
This was seriously the best PD I have attended since I started teaching 14 years ago! Relevant, useful, and great resources!
I felt that this training gave me real-life connections to bringing climate change instruction into the classroom.
Success Stories from Washington Green Schools
The Elementary ClimeTime Institute offered by ESD121 created a hybrid professional learning community of K-5 educators who used the phenomenon of poor air quality due to wildfires to learn how to engage with the NGSS science and engineering practices through the pedagogical approaches outlined in the Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) Project.
Standing in the shadows of giant wind turbines, it’s hard not to be awestruck. For Yakima-area teachers, a field trip to the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility outside Ellensburg not only inspired wonder, it connected them with local resources to engage their students...
March 4th, 2020, Becky Bronstein of Washington Green Schools met 15 middle school teachers in Chehalis, WA to better develop their understanding of floods and droughts. They centered their discussions on relating these issues to their students' lives region-wide,...