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Engaging Students with Sustainability Education

Appropriate for Teachers Grades K-12
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Course Description:

Even as we work on improving our curriculum & instruction, it’s important to remember why we teach in the first place. We have in our care the future leaders and stewards of our nation and our planet. What will they consider when making important decisions? How will they participate? Will they lead the changes our society needs? We are not only shaping lives, we are shaping the future.

Participants in this course will explore key sustainability concepts such as systems thinking, equity, mental models, and interdependence, while using the UbD framework to create a proficiency-based unit outline. Elements of service learning, designed to enhance student engagement, will be considered, along with effective and appropriate methods of assessment. The Montpelier High School model that utilizes the food system as a vehicle to deliver sustainability education will be examined.

Tom Sabo is a leading sustainability educator in the state of Vermont and a prominent local food activist. He is a chief architect of a model of service learning that integrates curriculum through a school greenhouse and gardens that provide food for the school system’s lunch
program, using soil derived from the cafeteria food scraps. Tom teaches at Montpelier High School and is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Montpelier Public Schools. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Systems, a 2009 recipient of the Milken National Educator Award, and a 2011 Rowland Foundation Fellow.