LA Middle School Adopts Nation's First Environmental Curriculum

Stella Middle Charter Academy will implement environment-based education in science and history/social science from California's Education and Environment Initiative.

California Secretary for Environmental Protection Linda Adams recently announced that the Stella Middle Charter Academy in Los Angeles has adopted its environmental curriculum.

Onsite to tour the school on March 22 were U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who applauded the adoption of the state’s first-in-the-nation environmental curriculum.

“The EEI curriculum provides a model on how we can cultivate environmentally literate citizens who understand the challenges of the 21st century and are prepared to answer the call for innovative solutions,” said U.S EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld.

“This landmark curriculum will expand environmental literacy at a time when protecting our environment is paramount. I applaud Stella Middle Charter Academy for being an early adopter of this curriculum and hope that ultimately we’ll be able to provide this up-to-date, environment-based education to every school in California. This will help prepare today’s students to become future scientists, economists, and green technology leaders,” Adams said.

“By adopting California EPA's ground-breaking curriculum, Stella Middle Charter Academy is educating the next generation of environmental stewards and giving their students the critical reasoning skills necessary to integrate recycling, conservation, and other positive, green habits into their daily lives. I hope more schools will be inspired by Stella Academy's commitment to the environment and academic excellence,” said Villaraigosa.

The curriculum includes 85 units of environment-based education in the traditional subjects of science and history/social science for grades K-12. The curriculum is available at no cost, online at www.calepa.ca.gov/Education/EEI/Curriculum. The state aims to implement the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum statewide, reaching 6.2 million students. With the help of public-private partnerships, the EEI curriculum can further implementation by including teacher training and printed materials. Currently, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Manteca Unified School District are implementing the program at its schools.

The curriculum comes at a time when there is five-year moratorium on the adoption of new textbooks in the state, making the EEI curriculum the only new State Board of Education approved instructional materials available to students for years to come.

The curriculum has already been both field- and pilot-tested in 19 California school districts, where it received invaluable feedback from participating teachers and students. The EEI curriculum also underwent a comprehensive review and received unanimous approval by the State Board of Education. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and Manteca Unified School District are currently implementing the program at its schools.

The California Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for the implementation of EEI pursuant to AB 1548 (Pavley, Chapter 665, Statutes of 2003) and AB 1721 (Pavley, Chapter 581, Statutes of 2005). These landmark laws mandate the development of a unified education strategy to bring education about the environment into California’s primary and secondary schools. The 2003 law was sponsored by Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization in Southern California, which has been an active partner in the EEI curriculum’s development. Other current key partners include the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education and the California Natural Resources Agency.

Source: California Environmental Protection Agency

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