Our Education Director Participates in a Climate Education Summit at the White House

Michelle Eckman, foreground, takes a selife with 3 of 20 Common Ground High School students who marched in the People's Climate March on September 21, 2014.

Michelle Eckman, foreground, takes a selife with 3 of 20 Common Ground High School students who marched in the People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014.

We are proud and gratified that Michelle Eckman, our director of education, will be among 200 educators at the White House this week participating in a Back-to-School Climate Education summit organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The White House press release explains:

“The event supports the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, launched in December 2014 to connect students and citizens with the best-available, science-based information about climate change. For this event, OSTP will welcome a diverse group of approximately 200 participants – including exceptional high school students, educators, and key leaders in the education community from government, academia, philanthropies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Presentations will demonstrate new and innovative ways to increase climate-learning opportunities for students and to equip educators with science-based information and resources. The program will consist of an interactive climate “assembly,” fireside chats with senior officials, demonstrations of new free online educational resources, and a panel featuring outstanding student leaders.”

Michelle was chosen because she was one of 26 recipients of a prestigious international fellowship to develop a climate change curriculum for high school freshmen in New Haven, with a goal of expanding the curriculum to high schools throughout the state. We expect her to be reporting back from the White House later this week. Here’s what she told us:

“I am one of 26 fellows in North America who are a part of the EPA-funded program, EECapacity’s Community Climate Change Fellowship. For the past year, I have been working with my fellowship partner, Common Ground High School, in New Haven; an incredible and unique public school that focuses on environmental science and enmeshes their urban farm and neighboring state park into their curriculum.

“Our project provides pathways for students to explore multiple facets of climate change, including the science, economic impact, and inequality of social impacts on communities. This is being accomplished via project-based lesson plans in their Environmental Justice, Algebra, and Environmental Science courses; Chemistry, Global History, and others will soon follow. Ultimately, our goal is to share these lesson plans and approaches via professional development workshops, professional learning communities, conferences, etc., with other high schools in our state in hopes that educators and students grow to become climate literate citizens moved to take action.”

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