2019 Spring Newsletter

ARE WE EDUCATING FOR A

Sustainable Future?

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. 

The unique challenges that define our time require fundamentally new ways of thinking. If we intend to transition to a sustainable way of life, educators and young people have a critical role to play.

Join us as we explore what’s possible when we educate for sustainability.

Our popular Introduction to Education for Sustainability (EfS) immerses participants in systems thinking games and simulations, group discussions about economics and quality of life, and the science of sustainability. Stories and case studies are shared, we explore contemporary ideas in EfS and we envision what's possible when we're intentional about what kind of future we want to educate for.

Contact us about hosting a One Day Introduction to EfS at your school, or join us on August 5th at The Omega Institute to learn what education for sustainability is, and to discuss how teachers everywhere are doing their part to educate for a sustainable future.

Our Annual Curriculum Design Studio will once again be held at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

Join us for the immersive Introduction to Education for Sustainability (EfS) on Monday (as described above), and Tuesday-Friday we'll work together to design, innovate, document and map curricula, assessments and performance criteria that meet both academic and EfS standards, and that improve student achievement, civic engagement and school culture - all the while preparing students for the shift toward sustainability.

During the week you will gain access to expertise, resources and tools required to design elegant curricula for use in the classroom. You can also choose to develop protocols for professional development or action plans to implement EfS initiatives in your school or community. Onsite lodging and meals optional.

Cloud Commons is our EfS Digital Library housing units, lessons, templates, assessment protocols, design tools, workshop handouts, videos and podcasts that support education for sustainability.

 
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Long Awaited Education for Sustainability Benchmarks Released on Earth Day

Educating for a Sustainable Future:  Benchmarks for Individual and Social Learning will be released by The Journal of Sustainability Education on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.  This 70-page account is authored by, and represents the current and best thinking of forty-two of the major scholars and practitioners of the field of Education for Sustainability (EfS).  The Benchmarks include the Big Ideas, Thinking Skills, Applied Knowledge, Dispositions, Actions, and Community Connections that define Education for Sustainability.  They embody the essential elements that administrators, curriculum professionals, faculty, board and community members need to adopt Education for Sustainability; to align with it; to self-assess their own performance, and to intentionally and effectively educate for the future we want by design. In addition, The Benchmarks embody the consensus that the field needs to demonstrate the impact of EfS and to catalyze wide spread implementation.

Read More

Want a Sustainable Future? Educate for it!

Repost with permission from: http://blogs.bard.edu/mba/2015/06/16/want-a-sustainable-future-educate-for-it, & https://christinelizblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/want-a-sustainable-future-educate-for-it
Published June, 2015. Written by Christine Kennedy

Jaimie Cloud, Founder of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, with other education reformers, is looking to change K-12 education to create citizens ready for the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.  She has built principles and curricula supporting Education for Sustainability. The list of school districts that she has helped transform are on the Cloud Institute website’s client list.

Education for Sustainability stands in contrast to Educating about Unsustainability: the depressing story of how much is wrong with the world and how horrible we are as humans for destroying the planet and each other.  While many feel that “fear, doubt and uncertainty” is an effective way to wake people up, Cloud believes that it has the opposite effect on the psyche.  The brain shuts down when it perceives a threat and stops participating, leaving the body to fight or flight.  A disengaged brain is not effective if you’re trying to change mindsets. Jaimie tells a story about her preschool daughter coming home sad that “air pollution is bad.”  She didn’t fully understand why or even what air was but while she knew that bad stuff was out there, she didn’t know what she was supposed to do about it. What a burden for a 3 year old!

Educating about Sustainability presents a hopeful view of a new future: good food, community, living within planetary boundaries, meaningful work, and joy.  Jamie feels, however, that prior efforts at this lacked the competencies for building this wonderful future. She has set out to remedy that.

Educating for Sustainability (EfS) is based on the belief that we must create new neural connections.  Cloud suggests “an alternative to the air pollution story teaching children about the reciprocation of plants and humans:  humans breathe out CO2 which plants use to create food and give out O2 that humans can breathe in to support life.”  What student wouldn’t appreciate plants after that type of lesson? Of course this is a very simplistic view of the CO2 problem, as it relates to climate change, but it’s a foundation level appropriate for pre-school that can then support advanced learning in planetary systems as a child progresses through school.

Cloud’s journey toward EfS begins in Evanston, Illinois, as a student in one of the first Global Education schools.  It was 1968, the Vietnam era. The world was in turmoil, and schools were not immune. Global Education was created by professors at various universities with schools of education who came to believe that U.S. schools didn’t prepare their students for the complexity, diversity and uncertainty of the world around them. They came together to create curricula to ready students for the 21st century, which was still 30 years away.

Students, even as early as 6th grade, began to track data about the planet: the loss of languages and biodiversity, the changes to the atmosphere.  The data they collected showed that many aspects about our planet were in decline. Cloud felt like “the boy in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  Didn’t anybody else see the problem?”

In 1987 with the Brundtland “Our Common Future” report that there was a name for this: unsustainable.  The 1992 Rio Summit then created Agenda 21, a roadmap for sustainability.  Within this was Chapter 36 delineating the first set of competencies needed to educate young people for the future.  Using her early schooling and the UN’s new competencies, Cloud began collecting and collating curricula for Educating for Sustainability from around the globe: working with NGOs, University Centers, Ministers of Education, local schools.

Today, there is more pressure for schools to reinvent their curriculum through the lens of sustainability.  The Center for Green Schools from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has a goal that every school becomes a green school in this generation. The U.S. Department of Education has set 3 pillars to define a Green School: 1) health of occupants, 2) green building and 3) curriculum and instruction.  The first two pillars have more data and better defined standards. The third pillar is less defined and caught in the trap many feel that that EfS, Educating about Sustainability and Education about Unsustainable are equivalent. Outcomes of these different pedagogies need field analysis.

A three issue series in the Journal of Sustainability Education, seeking to bring the field together in a coherent manner, is being guest edited by Cloud.  The first was issued in late 2014. The theme is an invitation to scholars and thought leaders to weigh in on the essentials. A matrix of their work was created that spanned nine competency categories. The second issue, currently being edited, is a meta-analysis of the information received using grounded theory methodology to create benchmarks and measure impact.  The third issue will call for exemplars based on the nine competencies matrix and the meta-analysis.

What Cloud is doing is somewhat risky. Even Cloud Institute’s framework could need to change based on the creation of the new pillars. “But it’s worth the risk so that there can be a meshed framework”, says Cloud.  She believes that “one big area that needs to be included as a standard now as a result of our consensus process is the epistemology of thought: cognitive frameworks or ‘thinking about thinking.’ ”. It is difficult to shift mental models if you can’t recognize them or have language to describe them.

With all this is exciting work, there is still frustration.  Many sectors—government, business, energy, food, design—are addressing global un-sustainability, but to date, K-12 education has not been invited to the discussion table. There is little investment from the corporate or philanthropic worlds. Cloud has three ideas for why this is the case:

1)   Education, for good reason, is not considered innovative. For many, school was the least creative experience of their lives and they’ve had to unlearn mental models that keep them from building a sustainable world. To transform society we need to transform education. This is a daunting task.

2)   Investment in education is considered a 20-year payback and there aren’t 20 years to make the shift. “This is a classic misunderstanding of the power of youth leadership,” says Cloud. Young people are not afraid of innovation and their minds are creative, as long as they are given permission to use them. Adults who will not change their mindset for their own sake will break through mental brick walls for their children. See organizations like Teens Turning Green or Two Angry Moms.

3)   On the school side, branding as “Education for Sustainability” sounds like there is an agenda.  However, once educators see the curricula and programming they realize it is a curriculum based in meta-cognition, science, math, humanities and everything that goes into a good education.

The biggest barrier is understanding what EfS is all about. The EfS standards complement and can help make come alive the non-negotiable standards being imposed on school districts.

Some of the most enthusiastic supporters are underserved communities. The whole idea of sustainability is built around a positive reinforcing loop of justice, community health, and elimination of poverty. For teachers, it’s not just another set of standards they need to meet; teachers are remembering why they became educators.

I can’t help but be excited every time I talk to Jaimie. It is “joyful work” for her.

How can we all help her bring the vision of EfS to life? As a parent, you can encourage your local schools to engage in the EfS revolution. As an educator, build the competencies into your curriculum.  As a sustainability leader, bring educators to the table. As a citizen, support and advocate for systems that make a difference.

Originally published on Fairy Ninjas, Christine Kennedy’s personal blog. Christine is a scientist and engineer who sparks connections between people and ideas. She has experience with product development and sustainability impact metrics. Her objective is to make science accessible and relevant to a diverse population driving better social, economic and environmental solutions. She completed her Bard MBA in Sustainability in May 2015. You can follow her @CKennedySTEM

NYC DOE CTE | Cloud Partnership & EfS Programming

The Cloud Institute is proud to announce our new partnership with The NYC Department of Education's High School Career Technical Education (CTE) Office, Envirolution One, a leader in sustainability education and career development in NYC, green industry experts, and Rubicon Atlas, the Curriculum Mapping Software.
 
NYC High School Career and Tech Education has over 300 CTE programs in 120+ schools, serving more than 120,000 students annually. The goal of the CTE Sustainability Education Initiative,  is to educate for sustainability across all career pathways over the next several years.  In this first year, we will work with faculty from Automotive, Solar, Green Building, Electrical, and IT to develop, map and pilot exemplary units of study that meet the Cloud Institute's EfS Enduring Understandings, Standards and Performance Indicators, as well as industry standards appropriate to each career pathway. The exemplary units will be piloted during the 2015-16 school year. This program is one of the ways that educators and students in NYC can contribute to the goals of ONEnyc 2030, which encompasses The Mayor's Sustainability and Resiliency Initiatives.

The Journal of Sustainability Education Publishes the 2014 “State of the Field” Issue

By Jaimie P. Cloud, JSE Guest Editor

I am proud to announce the first in a series of three issues of the Journal of Sustainability Education entitled, Sustainability Education:  The State of the Field.  As Guest Editor of this Journal series it has been my privilege to work with an outstanding Editorial team who designed this series for one purpose - To create benchmarks for Sustainability Education by asking the thought leaders and scholars who have created and continue to study EfS to address the following questions:

What is Education for Sustainability (EfS)?  What are the “essential ingredients” of EfS that distinguish it from other educational frameworks? What paradigms, knowledge, skills and attitudes characterize EfS?  What instructional and engagement practices are congruent? What are the favorable organizational conditions that will make it possible?  What types of school/community partnerships are key?

I invite you to go to the Journal of Sustainability Education to see the Table of Contents of this first issue in the series.  Then I invite you to read my introduction to the series here, and finally to explore the Matrix we have created of the different author’s work. You will see that some authors have spent decades drilling down deeply into one aspect of Sustainability Education, while others have worked to conceptualize the whole system of EfS. Some have focused on content for one or two categories in our database template, and some have contributed material in all the categories. We have combined all grade levels here as a starting point - before we attempt over time to determine the developmental appropriateness of the different aspects of EfS for different age groups (although some of us have already begun to do that in our own work driven by the markets we serve).  You can sort the data by author and by category and you are invited to compare and contrast the thinking represented there. Remember, the overarching question is “What is essential to Education for Sustainability?”

Sneak Preview of the next two issues:

The 2nd Issue in the Series:  A Meta-Analysis
Fourteen years into the 21st Century, educators and decision makers on the ground must be able to trust that what they are doing, and what they are receiving in the way of assistance, meets the industry standards for EfS. In order for that to happen, we need to have agreed upon industry standards or “standards of excellence” for EfS.   In the 2nd issue of the series, a core group of the thought leaders and scholars and a group of emerging scholars will come together to conduct a meta-analysis of our collective body of work with the goal of developing industry standards for EfS.  These standards, which should come to represent the whole of our collective thinking to date, will be used by school administrators and Board members, text book publishers, parents, faculty, students and the community at large so that they can assess the extent to which their institutions are educating for a sustainable future, and to what extent they are meeting those industry standards. More importantly, these benchmarks can help us to produce and distribute the highest quality EfS programs, curricula and learning experiences, intentionally designed to accelerate the shift toward a healthy and sustainable future.

The 3rd Issue in the Series:  Exemplars
For the 3rd issue in the series, we will invite educators worldwide to submit exemplars of curriculum units, courses, assessments, rubrics and other forms of explicit performance criteria, as well as student work samples (with aligned performance criteria) that meet the EfS Standards of Excellence that emerge from the meta analysis published in the 2nd issue.

Please let us know your thoughts about the first issues - we are feedback driven and would love to hear from you. cloudinstitute.org/contact-us

Introducing Schools to the Future | The Journal of Wild Culture

Repost from: http://www.wildculture.com/article/introducing-schools-future/1282
Original Post Date: September 28, 2013, by Whitney Smith

Education as we have come to experience it is a system structured around 19th century models and needs is heavily influenced by the industrial revolution. Many have argued that this system is no longer relevant to the demands and aspirations of modern-day society; others have made claims that it is even detrimental. A few organisations have set out to redefine the weary standardised view within the education system today. • One of those organisations, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, works closely with individuals within school systems in the US and around the world. Jamie Cloud, lifelong global educator and founder of The Cloud Institute, wants schools to become ‘learning organisations’ which place children in the centre of a curriculum that encourages, inspires and empowers them to think about the wider systems of ecology, economy and ethics. • In these video talks Jamie outlines the origins and importance of the Institute’s work, and how it is now time to relent our old fashion notions of education: to allow the fertile, vibrant, and bright minds of tomorrow to experience a school system that will help to nurture and cultivate their potential. • If you have a story like this one please let us know. The domino effect of a few of these can make the difference that Jaimie Cloud is talking about. — Matthew Small, Education Editor.

Here Jaimie discusses using the Fish Game and understanding Mental Models as a way to start the conversation about education for sustainability.

Watch the entire video series here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZDpc7lPFHSKHV4hHzGjX-m5P5udq9eY4

The Las Vegas Downtown Project

The Cloud Institute is proud to announce that Jaimie Cloud will be a special consultant to the Education Initiative of the Las Vegas Downtown Project . We are working with an all-star team to create a 21st century state-of-the-art school system that works in partnership with the community to educate for a healthy, happy and sustainable future. We will begin with an early childhood center. This first learning community will enroll ages 6 weeks through kindergarten. The project involves the green renovation of an old and beautiful church building and grounds and is designed to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces for learning, growing, celebration and reflection.

Connie Yeh heads up the Education Initiative and Dr. Meg Murray is leading the research and design efforts of this extraordinary project. Jaimie Cloud joins Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Marie Alcock, Pat Wolfe, Trish Martin, Michelle Gielan, Ellen Booth Church and Cecilia Cruse, Ginny Streckewald and Debi Crimmins on the global think tank team to create the new paradigm for 21st century teaching and learning designed for the future we want.


Learn more about this exciting project here: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec/13/planning-zappos-school-long-community-involvement

Cherry Hill School Board Signs Off on Sustainability Initiative

By Bryan Littel. This story orginally appeared at http://cherryhill.patch.com/articles/cherry-hill-school-board-signs-off-on-sustainability-initiative

Officials from across multiple organizations, including township government and the school board, came together Tuesday night to sign off on a move toward education for sustainability.

Mayor Chuck Cahn, school board President Seth Klukoff, schools Superintendent Maureen Reusche, Sustainable Cherry Hill founder Lori Braunstein and Zone PTA President Lisa Saidel joined together on the joint resolution, which endorses the district’s commitment to education for sustainability.

 

Reusche hailed the resolution, which passed unanimously, as a historic move.

“Educating for sustainability broadens the lens through which we look at how the decisions we make and the actions we take impact the world around us,” she said.

The decision comes after several years of work between the grassroots Sustainable Cherry Hill, the township and the school district on some of the fundamental pieces—figuring out ways to make public buildings more energy-efficient, increasing recycling rates and lowering the amount of trash produced by the schools and government, among others.

 

The move to tackle education as part of the effort is just the next step, Braunstein said.

 

“It’s more of a public commitment to working together,” she said. “We want to be able to look our kids in the eye in 20, 50 years and be able to say we did everything we could so they had a high quality of life.”

That effort needs to extend to students in the school district, Braunstein said, in order to better prepare them for a changing world.

“We need to teach our kids to think differently,” she said. “The jobs that are out there are different, the challenges that the kids are going to need to solve are different—they’re going to have different goals and visions than we did…we really need to be able to prepare our kids.”

That means getting students to recognize connections in what they’re learning, whether that’s how learning from history can help influence the future, or real-world applications from math class, said Jaimie Cloud, founder of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, who is currently working with the district’s middle schools in the effort.“We want kids to see how all the disciplines hang together,” she said.

The resolution is somewhat nebulous—it talks about “development of curricular, instructional and organizational learning practices necessary for students to meet the Standards and Performance indicators of Education for Sustainability, especially those opportunities presented by New Jersey Learns,” though it doesn’t offer much specifically on what that might translate to in terms of any changes to the curriculum.

That vagueness is, to a degree, by design, Cloud said, and added that they’re not advocating any radical changes.

And as several board members pointed out, any changes to the curriculum would have to pass muster with both the district’s administrators and the school board.

“The administration and the board are firmly in control of the curriculum—this program is simply meant to foster opportunities for continued discussion and work in the schools,” policy and legislation chair Steve Robbins said. “Frankly, given what I know, the critical thinking skills that are being taught—especially in our middle schools—I am fairly confident the pros and cons will be discussed.”

 

Learn more about The Cloud Institute's NJ Schools Learn Program: /new-jersey-learns

Systems Thinking Leads to Long-Term View For Students at Trevor Day School (By Grant Lichtman)

Reposted from: http://learningpond.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/systems-thinking-leads-to-long-term-view-for-students-at-trevor-day-school/

Teaching context, the weaving together of content, is more powerful than teaching content alone. But teaching context to our students allows them to understand that one set of contextual relationships. Teaching them the skills of how to acquire context allows them to develop context on their own for the rest of their lives. This is the challenge of teaching students to become life-long self-evolving learners. It is hard. For years I have been looking for a school or set of educators who do this overtly, not assuming that through a generally good education their students will acquire these skills, but actually teaching them alongside the other critical skills of education like reading, and writing and math. If you are interested in how a school is teaching students to be systems thinkers, to both understand and create their own long term perspectives, read on.

Trevor Day School is a multi-campus New York City preK-12, and I only got to visit with the elementary division, but I also got to spend a lot of time with their two educational leaders, veteran Head Pam Clarke and Assistant Head Lisa Alberti. They told me that Trevor has had some rough patches in its history, including the difficult merger of two schools. They also have a cultural history of self-reflection. Their teacher conferences, even at the lowest grade levels, have always been organized around a student-teacher meeting to set goals, followed by a student-teacher-family conference to review performance and talk about how the student-set goals can best be achieved. Recently they have undertaken the departmental reviews by external teams that so many schools find helpful in revising curriculum and teaching methods. Trevor takes advantage of their location and invites university experts in along with K-12 colleagues on these reviews. They filter the reviews and reports to steer changes along pathways that are consistent with their mission. As we discussed, all ideas are not good ideas, or good for the time, and many schools fail to take the important step of filtering out change for the sake of change.

The exciting takeaway from Trevor is that they are intentionally teaching the skills of systems thinking in order to truly instill an understanding of longitudinal perspective in the students. The details that follow are mostly from the lower grades, and Pam and Lisa were clear that this mindset has not migrated completely upwards to the upper grades. But is it moving as the students bring these understandings with them.

Systems thinking is the core set of skills that allows students to understand complex relationships, which, of course, are at the heart of the complicated world in which we live. (Full disclosure of bias: they are also at the heart of my teaching and book, The Falconer. If you are interested, look to the right of this page and check it out; you can download the intro for free.) Many believe that we can’t teach these skills at a young age; they have been at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy and we have incorrectly thought that we have to teach all the lower parts of Bloom before students can get to the top. (See my post on Flipping and Doubling Bloom.) Trevor is proving we can teach these skills, and that, as with all skills, it is critical to have a multi-year, integrated sequence of exposure and practice.

As with many of the other schools I have visited, it was clear to me that none of this would have happened without the highly intentional direction and support of Head Pam Clarke. She is not only a strong and dynamic leader, but also a keen academician who has been a leader in what we call 21C since well before the dawn of this young century. Getting faculty to collaborate along all-school pathways is never easy and Pam had to put people and processes into the “right places on the bus” in order to get the pieces moving in coordination. She is also a supporter of teaching systems thinking, which is a key, if not the key, to so much of the cross-grade collaboration that is deeply rich with what we call 21C skills.

We visited a 2nd grade class that is studying plant biology. The teacher was using a Venn diagram to introduce the system of nutrients (sun, water, soil) required for plant germination. The second graders not only learned and understood the use of Venn, but they independently saw how to solve for missing nutrients in a scientific experiment. Our visit ended with the students and teachers huddled on the floor, placing seed pots into the spaces of the Venn relative to their upcoming experiments. Venn diagrams are a tool, but they also represent a mindset, both of which can be extrapolated in the future to more complex, multi-variable systems. Trevor extends this long-term view of the world through its off-campus relationships, including a forest conservation and biodiversity project in upstate New York, and with ongoing research projects in Central Park and on the Hudson River:

  • 1st graders have a 2.5-hour block of time in Central Park every week to research and collect data on plants that are revisited every year to compile and compare longitudinal data.
  • 2nd graders study the system of trees, and adopt and research individual trees in the Park.
  • 3rd graders research and collect field data on the Hudson, and participate in a major Snapshot day where many university researchers collect and compile data on the ecology and health of the river.
  • 5th graders study the local marsh communities, and fold environmental indicators in to their study of economics.
  • 7th graders study biodiversity indicators including salamander populations in the Black Rock Forest.

Through these programs, the students develop a common language of what it means to have a long view of the world around us. They prescribe to Jaimie Clouds ideas of common and shared resources and try to understand their own world, from the classroom to their areas of study, within this context.

Lisa told me they do not see the choice that stresses some schools between being “rigorous” and being “supportive”. Support is a core part of the culture demonstrated in their use of space, as they have Common Time and a Common Room that is a core for each group of grade level classes. Teacher’s desks are in these Common Rooms; students can find help and a place to work, and the teachers have dedicated time for collaboration and a place to meet.

I wish I had time to visit the other divisions at Trevor, but my dance card was full! It was exciting to see intentional systems thinking instruction, even at the youngest ages validating much of my assumptions about teaching these critical skills to our students. Now, my only worry is that Pam is an expert editor and proof reader and she is sure to find some typos or errors in this post!

Green Ribbon School Awards | Denver Green School & EfS

Green Ribbon School Awards

We are proud to congratulate our clients and partner schools who each received the 2012 Green Ribbon School Award this year. "Schools that take a green approach cut costs on their utility bills, foster healthy and productive classrooms, and prepare students to thrive in the 21st century economy," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow's environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and our country."


U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating "green" environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.


The 78 awarded schools were named winners from among nearly 100 nominees submitted by 30 state education agencies, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education. More than 350 schools completed applications to their state education agencies. Among the list of winners are 66 public schools, including 8 charters, and 12 private schools. In total, the schools are composed of 43 elementary, 31 middle and 26 high schools with around 50 percent representing high need, and at-risk schools.

 

We would like to acknowledge:


Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamuela, Hawaii
The Willow School, Gladstone, New Jersey
Gladstone High School, Gladstone, Oregon
Tahoma Junior High School, Tahoma, Washington

The Denver Green School, Denver, Colorado


 

We would like to give a special shout out to our most recent and youngest school partner, the Denver Green School (DGS) because 2012 marked the end of their second year as a Denver Public School. DGS is a Neighborhood Innovation School in southeast Denver – meaning they implement their own unique program design, approved through a rigorous process by the Denver Public School Board. The innovation they proposed was Education for Sustainability. Their emphasis on project-based learning allows teachers and students to engage in relevant, self-directed, teacher-facilitated learning. DGS refers to the current national "Green Movement"- but they also believe that "green" has a deeper meaning. They believe that green must mean a focus on the whole student and the whole community. 

 

Apparently the Denver Public Schools (DPS) agrees, and so do the test scores. DGS was also recently awarded the DPS’s “green school” designation—which in that context means that DGS met and exceeded the DPS’s expectations for academic achievement this year. Of course, at the heart of their success, is their focus on carbon footprint reduction and on environmental and social sustainability. Think deep dark green squared! Next year DGS will complete their growth as a Pre-K-8 school at 550 students. 

 

The Cloud Institute began working with the leaders and faculty partners of DGS one year before they opened their doors. They did it right. Even though almost everyone coming to work at DGS had another job that year, by the time the school opened, the team was ready. Every year the faculty has worked with the Cloud Institute to design, document and map curriculum aligned with State, Common Core and EfS Standards, and the faculty has worked tirelessly to produce learner centered instruction that educates for the future we want, while administering assessments that produce learning.

 

Additional highlights from the first two years include the ongoing study of the rights to, and responsibilities for tending the Commons by the Pre-School students, an energy audit and reduction of energy consumption led by the second graders, and the small group of 6th graders that facilitated our fish game simulation to 75 US Green Building Council Members in the first year (with the usual results). This year, another group of 6th graders determined that DGS has used ONE MILLION gallons of water a year LESS since it opened (with hundreds of people in the building and a CSA Farm on the property run by their partner Sprout City Farms) then it did when it was unoccupied for the several years before it opened. That is what we call contributing to the regenerative capacity of a place. Elegant curriculum and instruction, co-leadership, faculty partners, community involvement—THIS is the new paradigm. It works. 

 

It gives us great pleasure once again, to honor the Denver Green School, Hawaii Prep Academy, The Willow School, Gladstone High School, Tahoma Junior High School and all the other winners of the 2012 Green Ribbon Schools Award for their contribution to a healthy and sustainable future for us all.

Reflections on ‘Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm’. By Jaimie Cloud

On April 2nd of this year I attended a meeting at the U.N. Hosted by The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley entitled, ‘Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm’.  Bhutan is famous for developing the Gross National Happiness Index, a stunning measure of sustainable development that  takes a holistic approach towards notions of progress and gives equal importance to both economic as well as  non-economic aspects of wellbeing.   In attendance at the full day meeting were,  Her Excellency Ms. Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic of Costa Rica,  H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, our U.S. based friends and colleagues Mathis Wackernagel (The Ecological Footprint), Bob Costanza (Ecological Economist and  Professor and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) at Portland State University), Hunter Lovins (Co-Author, Natural Capitalism) and Gifford Pinchot (Bainbridge Graduate Institute), and the list goes on. It was thrilling to see and hear so many important dignitaries talking about the need for alternative indicators to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about re-thinking what we really want and how to measure what really counts.  The Cloud Institute and other educators for sustainability have been educating young people and educators about that since 1995.

It was an amazing event and I was very proud to be included in the conversation.  I would have loved to see a public figure from the field of PreK-12 Education for Sustainability included in a panel.  It is, however,  not uncommon for the leaders of  professional sectors engaged in the shift toward sustainability (business, economics, government, higher education, architecture and design) to inadvertently leave out the Pre-K-12 Education sector in their deliberations.  It is a commonly held belief that Pre-K-12 education requires a twenty year return on investment period—in other words, that it will take twenty years before the children who are educated for sustainability will grow up and make a difference that can contribute to sustainability.  This, of course, is not true.  It is, in fact, the children and young people who are educated for sustainability that are “making the difference that makes the difference” (Gregory Bateson) right now.  They have everything to gain from the new paradigm and everything to lose in the old one.  They get that more than most. See our Inspiring Kids section for evidence.

Working documents and frameworks from the initiative and from the meeting:

http://www.www.2apr.gov.bt
http://www.2apr.gov.bt/images/stories/pdf/unresolutiononhappiness.pdf
http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/sitefiles/file/Sachs%20Writing/2012/World%20Happiness%20Report.pdf
http://www.gnhusa.org

Jaimie Cloud Presents at Amy Greenwell Garden in Hawaii

by Donna Mitts
(Reposted from: http://kohalacenter.org/schoolgardensblog/?p=803)

On January 10, 2012 school garden teachers along with others were fortunate enough to listen to Jaimie Cloud present at the Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook. Jaimie is a visionary leader in sustainable education.  The Cloud Institute “prepares K-12 school systems and their communities to educate for a sustainable future by inspiring educators and engaging students through meaningful content and learner-centered instruction.”
 
Through discussion and exercises in sustainability participants learned valuable tactics in teaching sustainability to others.  This was a wonderful presentation enhanced by the beauty of the Amy Greenwell Garden.

Press Release: The Cloud Institute Releases New EfS Standards

For Immediate Release

The Cloud Institute Releases New Education for Sustainability (EfS)
Standards and Performance Indicators

(New York, New York) - - The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, a non-profit organization and leader in the field of education for sustainability is, for the first time, making their EfS Standards and Performance Indicators available for free as a download.

The 14-page package of nine EfS core standards and performance indicators were developed for PreK-12 school systems, and are designed to equip teachers and students with the new knowledge and ways of thinking needed to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of our living systems.

The interdisciplinary content standards replace the traditional problem-based approach to learning with pedagogy that is aspiration-based. “Moving toward an aspiration offers a broader perspective and solves more than one problem at a time, while minimizing the creation of new ones,” says Jaimie P. Cloud, founder of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. “Our standards promote greater awareness and sense of efficacy in students, and support teachers with a rich and highly flexible foundational system to educate for a sustainable future.”

The Department of Education has not approved a set of national standards for education for sustainability. This means that states, districts, and individual schools have an opportunity to enhance existing frameworks and curriculum by selecting the EfS Standards and Performance Indicators that are most closely aligned to their educational vision.

As part of The Cloud Institute’s teaching and learning system, these standards draw upon the most progressive fields of study - biomimicry, neuroscience, environmental ethics, systems thinking, and others - and have been aligned to Common Core, State Standards, Character Education, Cultural Competencies and Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The content is influenced by top leadership principles including The Entrepreneurial Mindset, Systems Thinking and System Dynamics, Characteristics of Resiliency, Habits of Mind (Costa and Kallick), and the attributes of catalytic or “quiet” leadership (David Rock).

The nine Core Content Standards are: Cultural Preservation and Transformation, Responsible Local and Global Citizenship, Dynamics of Systems and Change, Sustainable Economics, Healthy Commons, Natural Laws and Ecological Principles, Inventing and Affecting The Future, Multiple Perspectives and Sense Of Place.

According to Dr. Moira Wilkinson, The Cloud Institute’s Senior Director of Education and Research, “Any one of The Cloud Institute’s EfS Standards on their own, offer a valuable contribution to education. The nine core content standards that we promote, and the indicators that accompany them, are woven together to produce catalytic results. This collection is both comprehensive and rigorous, based on relevant and carefully selected fields of thought, and designed to integrate smoothly into existing programs.”

To learn more about the Cloud Institute’s EfS Standards and Performance Indicators and to download your free copy, visit /cloud-efs-standards

Cranford School District to Build Community Sustainability Team | By Glenn Eisenberg, The Cranford Chronicle

The Cranford school district has been selected by the Cloud Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainability education, to receive funding for its “Education for Sustainability” program, in order to build a team of community volunteers who can work with the program.

The grant of $17,000 a year for the next three years, entitled “New Jersey Schools Learn,” was provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to the Cloud Institute, which then picked Cranford and two other school districts in New Jersey to pass the funding on to last spring. It will be used for professional development, curriculum development, and support resources through the team.

The Education for Sustainability program, which is run through the Cloud Institute, was pushed for by Cranford Environmental Commission member Mary Catherine Sudiak and the district’s Science Supervisor Lisa Hayeck, both of whom were trained by the Cloud Institute to facilitate the program.

Continue to NJ.com to read the full article

Jaimie meets the Mayor of Cleveland, OH

On a recent visit to Cleveland, OH, where we are interested in launching a Sites Learn initiative, Jaimie attended the Schools that Can Conference and met with educators from across the city.  She also had the opportunity to meet with  Cleveland's Mayor, Frank G. Jackson, who in August 2009 convened the first ever Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit.  The Summit brought together hundreds of people interested in applying the principles of sustainability to the design of the local economy.

Learn more about Cleveland's sustainability plan here...