New Cohort of Fellows for the 2015-2016 school year begin training

nick-mollyTwo new Fellows have begun their work with the Sustainable Schools program, training for a year of engagement with District sustainability projects and teacher training programs. Molly Cashion and Nicholas Weller will be working with S4 leadership on the Paradise Valley Waste Stream Reduction Project which is entering into the second year of engagement with teaching teams on waste reduction activities, audits, and curriculum development. They will provide assistance for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives new National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy, starting with the first one-week professional development program held in Tempe, Arizona from June 22-26, 2015. Both fellows will also be available for outreach to valley schools, businesses and community groups in keeping with normal outreach activities of the program during this final year 7 of the NSF grant. No doubt, they will have a busy year keeping up with a growing list of K-12 sustainability education initiatives anchored within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

S4 Fellows and Leadership celebrate during last class of the 2014-2015 school year

Fellows gather during last class session on April 27, 2015
Past, present and future (next year’s) Sustainable Schools fellows gathered with program leadership to reflect on successes and challenges of the program across the past six years. A gallery walk of posters and viewing of new videos anchored the first hour of the meeting, with a roundtable discussion rounding out the second half. In all, Fellows reported that their work with the S4 program has positively impacted their career trajectories and life plans. In many instances, fellows have moved forward into teaching as a profession, an unexpected and delightful outcome of the NSF grant!

S4 Fellows reflect on Fall, leading to strong plans for a successful spring semester

The Sustainable Schools Fellows are kicking off 2015 with strategic plans to ensure a highly successful spring semester with their partner schools. During one of the last classes before Christmas break, each fellow crafted a “mind map” of their fall activities and plans for spring, leading to energetic discussions about how to improve strategies, share insight between fellows and collaborate on common goals and project efforts. The fellows are excited to continue to engage multiple school and community stakeholders, and work with teachers across a variety of disciplines to successfully deliver lessons and sustainability projects that are poised for implementation over the next four months!

Jorge Ramos’ mind map
Jorge Ramos’ mind map

Matt Cohen's mind map
Matt Cohen’s mind map



S4 Fellows team with TUHSD Teachers to implement Green Apple Day of Service Events

photo: Compadre Academy Students plant seedlings on Green Apple Day of Service

The Sustainable Schools Fellows worked with their lead teachers in the Tempe Union High School District to plan and implement Green Apple Day of Service events at their schools. Desert Vista High School threw a frock swap and displayed their solar project, McClintock High School hosted a set of Solar Awareness activities including solar cooking of quesadillas, Tempe High constructed raised beds for composting and planting on campus and assisted the Clark Park Community with gardening activities, and Compadre Academy planted their new 80’ x 13’ garden plot with 200 seedlings. The project was spearheaded by Compadre science teacher Elliott Belden, who worked with Whole Foods, the Tempe Union High School District and ASU Sustainable Schools Fellow Ben MacNeille to implement planting of seedlings that were grown by students of DJ Moran’s sustainability class. Compadre’s garden was a vision created by students and teachers over a year ago, and through their hard work, it is now a reality!

 Solar Power Showcase at Desert Vista's Green Apple Day of Service
Solar Power Showcase at Desert Vista’s Green Apple Day of Service

Sustainable Schools Summer 2014 Teachers’ Workshop a Success

s4-workshop-2014The two day summer teachers’ workshop was held at the Wrigley Building on June 10th and 11th. Over twenty teachers from our partner schools attended the workshop, with guest speakers from the City of Phoenix on the Reimagine Phoenix, Transforming Trash Into Resources Project, the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives on a local school district’s waste stream reduction project, and Harvest for Humanity on community engagement practices.

The workshop was organized by the S4 program’s three C’s approach, with sessions organized under the headings of Curriculum, Campus and Community. New learning videos produced by the 2013-2014 Fellows were shown and are now available on our website under Learn More, Sustainability Concepts in 5 Minutes.

Sustainable School’s Fellow attends 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University at ASU on March 21st through 23rd

Anna_CGIS4 Fellow, Anna Novotny attended the 2014 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at ASU on behalf of the Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools program on March 21st through 23rd. CGIU selects participants based on projects they propose and provides mentorship to help make those projects become a reality. Anna’s project is aimed at developing a community garden for the Town of Guadalupe, Arizona. Over 1000 university students attended CGIU from all over the world. At the opening reception Anna spoke with students pioneering projects in sustainability, education, poverty alleviation, health, and wellness from Latin America, Africa, India and the United States.

Anna also attended two workshop sessions hosted by former CGIU participants who shared how they made their projects a reality. The most inspiring story she encountered was from a woman who started a project in Michoacán, Mexico that traded recyclable items for fresh, local produce. The Town of Guadalupe has been struggling to implement a recycling program and this seems like an inspired way to keep waste out of landfills and good food in the kitchens of people who need it. Both provided insight on how Anna can continue work at the local level to gain cooperation from citizens and to sustain the Town of Guadalupe community garden project well into the future.

Sustainable Schools program partners with Arizona Forward and four local schools on a year-long educational project and the March 1st Color Canalscape Event!

group hug at Jan site mtg
Photo: Courtesy of Arizona Forward’s Canalscape Initiative

The Sustainable Schools program has been working with Arizona Forward’s Canalscape Committee and four local schools over the last year on visioning the future for a stretch of the Grand Canal between Central Avenue and 7th Street. The four schools that surround this stretch of the Grand Canal include St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, Central High School, Brophy College Preparatory School and Xavier College Preparatory School.

The goal of the educational project is for this section of the Grand Canal to become a shared outdoor learning center and “outdoor classroom” for the four partner schools which border the canal. Three student teams have been working since last August on their sustainability-themed projects for the Canal with  one  team working on environmental art along canal, another team focusing on landscape systems and the third focusing on bridging and connectivity between schools across the canal.  Each student team manned a booth at the March 1st event to showcase their work and visions!

Video: Courtesy of Vianka Villa – Multimedia Reporter, the State Press

No Impact Week kicked off this year on November 18th

Tempe High garden framing work.
Tempe High garden framing work.

Our Fellows supported a full range of No Impact Week activities at the Tempe Union High School District high schools that kicked off on November 18th this year. Activities ranged from a big Food and Water themed day at Desert Vista, to a water taste test and celebration of sprouting seeds and garden framing work at Tempe High School. Students worked at Mountain Pointe High School to paint concrete blocks for their raised planting beds with the school’s colors. No Impact Week activities are playing an increasingly important part in our Fellow’s fall work with their schools, with a new theme energizing every day of the week.

Mountain Point garden block painting.
Mountain Point garden block painting.

Green Apple Day of Service Events in the Tempe Union High School District

All five of our first year Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools Fellows were involved in the US Green Building Council (USGBC) sponsored Green Apple Day of Service with events across the Tempe Union High School District on Friday, September 27th and Saturday, September 28th. Activities included: recycling activism at Desert Vista by painting trash cans and generating a plan for the future, engaging students and teachers in improving the greenhouse and garden space at Mountain Pointe, performing an energy audit at Compadre, urban heat island investigations at Marcos de Niza, a long awaited garden creation at Tempe High and a solar energy cafe at McClintock High School. Both students and parents at McClintock learned how the school’s solar living lab works and talked to industry professionals about what the technologies offer on Friday. They were initially charged with the question, “which one of these is made by solar photovoltaic technology versus solar thermal technology: S’mores, hot dogs, a cell phone charger in an Altoids can or cookies?” The event provided them with the delicious answer! If you want to learn how to make a cell phone charger with your students, check out the video here:

Summer Core Sustainability Teacher Workshops, June and July 2013

Over three days from June 18th to June 20th, our new cohort of Sustainable Schools Fellows assisted with facilitation of the third annual summer core sustainability teacher workshops. The first day of the workshop session was located at the Compadre High School north campus within the Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD). The first day’s agenda included a wide range of speakers including Dan O’Neil and Kelly Saunders from the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative and Alison Smith of Chevron Energy Solutions demoed an energy lesson activity with the group. The second two days of focused sustainability project planning work was hosted at ASU’s SkySong facility.  We followed up after a month’s time with the final SkySong workshop on July 29th. During this morning work session, our Fellow placement strategy for the 2013-2014 cohort year was announced and we heard from the teaching teams and their assigned Fellows on exciting strategies and community partnership concepts for sustainability projects.  Everyone left the workshop with great energy, a growing sense of camaraderie and formative project plans for the new academic year.