Events and Competitions

2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo

The eleventh annual Green Schools
Conference and Expo will be held at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Portland,
Oregon, March 2 – 4, 2020. Don’t
miss this opportunity to learn from and network with educational leaders, green
building professionals, nonprofit partners, and others who are passionate about
the future of green schools.

Registration for the conference is now open. Both full and daily passes are available. Register before December 20, 2019 to save with early bird rates. Special room discounts are also available at the Hilton Portland Downtown until February 17, 2020.

Five tracks of programming will be offered at the 2020 conference. Learn more about each track and view the full line-up of education sessions.

2020 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference

The Natural Start Alliance’s annual conference is the nation’s largest professional event for teaching, administration, research, educator preparation, and advocacy in nature-based early learning. Next year’s conference will take place July 29 – August 1, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Take part in engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond. 

Submit a proposal to present at the 2020 conference. Deadline for submissions is February 7, 2020.

Carton 2 Garden Contest

The sixth annual national Carton 2 Garden Contest, sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, is accepting registrations. Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons. Your school can get started by collecting at least 100 empty cartons from home, the community, or the cafeteria.

Fifteen entries will be selected to receive award
packages for their efforts. Entries are due by April 1, 2020 by Midnight PST. 

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

10th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held April 20 – 24, 2020 in Albuquerque,
New Mexico. Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event convenes stakeholders
engaged in farm to cafeteria activities who are working to source local food
and promote a culture of food and agricultural literacy across the country.
Conference registration will open in January 2020.

PBL World 2020

PBL World is an immersive three-day conference for K-12
teachers, instructional coaches, and school and district leaders who want to
begin or advance their project-based learning practice and connect with a
community of their peers. Hosted by PBL Works, PBL World’s workshops actively
engage attendees in deep, focused, real work with peer collaborators.
Registration is open for the 2020 conference, which will be held in Napa
Valley, California from June 16 – 18.

‘See a Bloom, Give it Room’ High School Video Challenge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the
‘See a Bloom, Give it Room’ video challenge to promote public awareness of
harmful algal blooms through creative problem solving. The contest is open to high school students or teams (grades
9 – 12) in EPA Regions 7 and 8: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana,
North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. This includes students
in public, private, and tribal high schools, and home school programs. Students
are asked to create public safety videos (under two minutes in length) that
explain how to spot harmful algal blooms and how people and their pets should
be safe around them. A winner from each state, along with two regional tribal
winners, will be selected by judging panels to each receive a $2,000 cash
prize. Two grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $4,000 each.
Winning videos will be highlighted at the EPA Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)
Conference in February; featured on EPA web and social media channels; and used
by the Agency and its state environmental partners in HAB safety outreach
efforts. Submissions are due by 11:00pm ET on January 3, 2020.

Professional Development and GSNN PD Partner Resources

Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit dedicated to innovation inspired by nature. Biomimicry offers an exciting project-based approach that helps teachers blend STEM and environmental education in creative, hands-on lessons students love. The Biomimicry Institute helps educators and organizations bring biomimicry into their teaching by providing curriculum and training, networking opportunities, and content development support. Learn more about our services and visit the online library, AskNature, for the resources and information you need to bring biomimicry into your teaching practice.

Calling All Educators!

Registration for Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge coaches is open until March 1, 2020. Educators who register as coaches gain access to challenge curriculum and resources that can be used to integrate biomimicry study into classroom instruction. Register here.

Captain Planet Foundation

Captain Planet Foundation supports educators with grants, resources,
tools, and models to spark children’s curiosity, cultivate a love of nature,
and engage students in science and engineering practices to solve real-world
problems. Our programs and materials have co-evolved with education priorities
over the years to ensure educators have the tools and strategies to meet their needs in and out of the

Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation

The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF)
was founded in 2003 on the principle that education for sustainability is
essential for today’s K-12 students. CELF programs use real-world problem-solving
to prepare students with the holistic thinking skills and motivation to become
agents of change for a healthier, more stable, and sustainable future.

Upcoming Programming

CELF Annual Summer Institutes in Education for Sustainability

The Annual CELF Summer Institute in Education for
Sustainability (EfS) is an intensive multi-day workshop that enables teachers
to integrate the concepts of
sustainability into their existing curricula. The Institute equips K-12
teachers with practices and teaching methods to address the core concepts of
EfS – the intersection of social, economic, and ecological systems – and how
the balance of those three systems is vital to a sustainable future and
relevant to all subject areas.

New York and Houston, Texas Locations!

In partnership with Manhattanville College in Purchase, New
York (July 13-16, 2020) and New York
University, Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education
and Sustainability (August 2020)

In partnership with the University of Houston, Clear Lake and
Lone Star College Kingwood (dates coming soon)

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education works
with schools and school districts to help them integrate Education for
Sustainability (EfS) into their curriculum. Core services include consulting
and leadership development (on-site and off-site); professional development and
faculty coaching; curriculum design, assessment, mapping, and alignment; and
school and community partnerships. The Cloud Institute holds an annual Summer
Design Studio that enables educators,
administrators, and program designers to learn how to design and embed EfS into
curriculum, assessments, and programs.

Community Works Institute

Community Works Institute (CWI) directly supports K-16 educators and schools in making their local community the focus and context for powerful student learning experiences. CWI’s work with educators is focused on using the local community as the classroom through the lens of place-based service-learning, sustainability, and social justice. CWI particularly emphasizes student voice and reciprocity in its program design work. Since 1995, CWI has provided powerful on-site support and professional development for educators around the globe, including its acclaimed annual Summer Institutes in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. CWI’s Summer Institutes are the longest running professional development events of their kind. CWI also provides resources for educators, including its digital magazine Community Works Journal.

Upcoming Programming

Early bird and team rates are available
for all Institutes. Scholarship support is available on a need basis. Please
see CWI’s website for additional information.

CWI’s 2020 Institute SOUTH America on Place Based Service-Learning, Sustainability, and Social Justice

January 13 – 17, 2020

Lima, Peru (in partnership with Otis College of Art and Design)

The NEXT Institute: From Classroom to Community, Moving Toward Social Justice – An Experiential Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 8:30am – 4:30pm

Brooklyn, New York

CWI’s 2020 Summer EAST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning, Sustainability, and Social Justice

June 22 – 26, 2020

Brooklyn, New York (in partnership with Berkeley Carroll School
and Otis College of Art and Design)

CWI’s 2020 Summer WEST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning, Sustainability, and Social Justice

July 27 – 31, 2020

Los Angeles, California (in partnership with Otis College of Art and Design)


EcoRise offers engaging, hands-on professional development to K–12 educators across the United States. Check out our Eventbrite page for a current list of teacher workshops and events that connect and empower educators to ignite the next generation of green leaders. EcoRise PD sessions cover a wide range of topics, including our bilingual, standards-aligned sustainability and design curricula; our Eco-Audit Grant program that encourages student innovation through student-facing micro-grants; and preparing high school students for through workforce through a green building curriculum. Learn more about EcoRise’s leading-edge curricula and programs at

Facing the Future 

Facing the Future is an international program, based out of
Western Washington University, creating tools for educators that equip and
motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness,
and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curriculum is
organized around eight sustainability big ideas: Connecting with Nature; Equity and
Justice; Health and Resiliency; Interconnectedness; Local to Global; Peace and Collaboration; Respect for
Limits; and Universal Responsibility.

Facing the Future curriculum
materials and resources are available for K-12 teachers, teachers in colleges
of education, and for some community college and undergraduate classes. All materials
are developed for teachers, by teachers, with best teaching and learning
practices in mind and are aligned with Common Core Standards, Next Generation
Science Standards, and most state standards frameworks.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research Program 

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Research Program provides an opportunity for K–12 educators from the United States to conduct research and engage in other professional learning experiences abroad for three to six months. Fulbright Distinguished fellows complete individual inquiry projects on a topic relevant to education in the United States and the host country, take courses at a host university, and share educational practices with colleagues.

The 2020 – 2021 Fulbright Distinguished Awards program countries and territories include Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Greece, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and Vietnam. The deadline to submit an application is January 20, 2020.

Green Apple Day of Service

Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students,
companies, and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools
into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service
projects. Check out project ideas, pick up helpful event
resources, and register your project online. Register by
December 31, 2019 to be eligible for the 2020 Green Apple Awards.

Green Strides Webinar Series Calendar

The Green Strides Webinar Series
provides school communities with the tools they need to reduce their schools’
environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach
effective environmental education. It provides all schools access to the
resources that help them move toward the Pillars of the U.S. Department of
Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. Sign up for Green Strides
Webinar Series email updates to receive information on future webinars.

Green Teacher Webinar Series

Conservation through the Lens of

Wednesday, January 22nd, 7:30 – 8:30 pm EST

Carissa McKinney in this deep dive into the fascinating connections between
select religions and conservation education. Many of the overlaps can form the
basis of hands-on lessons in the science classroom and beyond.

Learning Lab

A product of the U.S. Green Building Council’s The
Center for Green Schools, Learning Lab provides K-12 teachers and school
leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages
student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action. Discover
best-in-class content, training, and tools. Access their curated catalogue of
lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other
multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current
educational standards and were created by educators, for educators.

Ocean Exploration Trust Science Communication Fellowship

The Ocean Exploration Trust’s Science Communication
Fellowship Program immerses formal and non-formal educators in the Nautilus
Corps of Exploration and empowers them to bring ocean exploration –
specifically in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) – to a global audience via the Nautilus Live website. Science
Communication Fellows bring their expedition experience back to their own
classrooms, organizations, and communities in the form of engaging lesson plans
and activities centered around their time at sea aboard Nautilus and other
vessels. Applications are due January 10, 2020. 

Shelburne Farms 

Farms is a nonprofit organization educating for a
sustainable future. That means learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and
action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the
planet. Its home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and
National Historic Landmark. Shelburne Farms’
school programs staff support student learning and educator professional
development by offering experiences that inspire deep connections to community
and a commitment to a healthy future.

Upcoming Programming

Project Seasons for Young Learners: Cultivating Joy
& Wonder

13 – 17, 2020

Join us for a week of
fun and learning on the Farm while using the Big Ideas of Sustainability to
inspire your curriculum with fresh ideas. We will use lots of hands-on
activities, protocols, and shared learning to examine how these ideas can
instill a deep love and appreciation for the natural world in you and your
students. Rediscover your own curiosity and joy by connecting with peers;
engaging with our farmyard, forest, lake, and wetlands; and learning practical
activities and pedagogy you can easily employ in your own place.  

Cost $575. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes accommodations and graduate credit. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.

Education for Sustainability:
Summer Institute

July 27 – 31, 2020

Spend five rich days with colleagues
from around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to
give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of education for
sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop,
part retreat. The 2020 Summer Institute will use the lens of sustainability to focus
on health and the environment. Topics might include: Individual to Global
Wellness, Food and Health; and Health in the Climate Crisis.

Cost $600. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes travel and graduate credit. Limited on-site accommodations are available on a first come, first serve basis. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here

for Sustainability Immersion

August 13 – 14, 2020

For those who already have a strong foundation in education
for sustainability, our two-day Immersion will provide you with the opportunity
to reflect, learn, and collaborate with a small group of colleagues from across
the country in a residential, retreat-like setting here at Shelburne Farms. The
Immersion has a design studio feel with participants self-directing much of
their work with a few inspirational speakers and workshops/explore times. Expect
to take a deep dive into such topic areas as place-based education, social
justice, systems thinking, or other topics in the field of education for sustainability
that are important to you. This course is action-oriented with an expectation
at the end that each participant has a solid project or curriculum to

Cost $375. Includes meals and accommodations; excludes graduate credits. Limited to 16 participants. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.

Strategic Energy Innovations

Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) is a nonprofit that builds leaders to drive climate
solutions. For over 20 years, SEI’s focus has been on building capacity to
create sustainable communities through scalable programs and models. Its
flagship programs (Energize Schools, Energize Colleges, School of Environmental
Leadership, and Climate Corps) integrate climate education, training, and
career development. From young students to emerging professionals to
communities, SEI programs engage local talent to directly address their
community’s sustainability goals by leading projects with measurable
environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Susan Santone

Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with over 20 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. Through her nonprofit Creative Change Educational Solutions, Susan has led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations. Susan offers facilitator training to prepare school and university teams to lead professional development in their own settings; leadership development and strategic communication to advance understanding of sustainability and social justice, and consultation services for schools, universities, and other entities.

Learn more about online courses that Susan has developed in partnership with Kappa Delta Pi: Introduction to Sustainability and Introduction to Social Justice.

Teach Earth Fellowship from Earthwatch Institute

Teach Earth
is built upon the principle that every individual can contribute to a
sustainable planet, regardless of scientific background or skill. Each year,
Earthwatch Institute selects talented teachers from all subject areas to
participate in a 7-14 day immersive learning experience, working side-by-side
with world-class scientists on field research expeditions around the world.
From the edge of the Arctic to the coast of Maine, these teachers collect data
on climate change, ecology, wildlife, and more. Teachers have an opportunity to
learn the scientific process first-hand and help to solve some of the world’s
most pressing environmental challenges. Teachers return to the classroom with
new perspectives and knowledge, invigorated and inspired to share the
experience of real discovery with their students.

Visit Earthwatch’s Institute website to learn more about qualifications and award details and to fill out an interest form. 2020 Fellowship Applications are due January 10, 2020.

Teaching Our Cities Practice Toolkits

Teaching Our
Cities, a project of Common Ground, is creating a collection of toolkits that
share best practices that are working at partner schools. Toolkits include
videos, blog-style reflections, resources, and practice descriptions. Current
toolkits cover teaching a sense of place, learning expeditions, green
exhibitions, environmental leadership portfolios, and magnet theme days.

Civic Engagement and Citizenship Related Resources

Annenberg Classroom

A project of the
Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, Annenberg Classroom provides a
comprehensive, multimedia curriculum on the Constitution. Free classroom
resources include videos, games, lesson plans, and timelines as well as the Annenberg
Guide to the Constitution, which provides the original text and then explains
it in plain language. These materials are provided to equip middle and high
school teachers with the tools to create informed citizens who understand their
rights and responsibilities as outlined in the Constitution.

Bringing School to Life: Place-Based Education Across the Curriculum

From Bringing School to Life: Place-Based Education Across the Curriculum by Sarah Anderson offers insights into how to build a program across the K-8 grades. Anderson addresses key elements such as mapping, local history, citizen science, integrated curricula, and more. Additionally, Anderson suggests strategies for building community partnerships and implementation for primary grades. This book goes beyond theory to give concrete examples and advice in how to make place-based education a real educational option in any school.

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or
CIRCLE, conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young
Americans, especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged in political
life. The organization’s scholarly research informs policy and practice for
healthier youth development and a better democracy. is an organization of passionate people advocating for integrity, honesty, respect, and other core ethical values to be fused into education for the betterment of our nation. They offer an evidence-based framework for implementing and evaluating character development through their 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. On their website, you will find resources on key topics like service-learning and school climate; lesson plans and best practices; training opportunities; and information on their Schools of Character program.

Citizen Z: An Education Week Project

Education Week undertook a long-term investigation to better understand the state of civic education in America’s classrooms. This collection of articles presents the investigation’s initial results and explores what it’s like to teach civics in a divided nation.

Civic Education in the Elementary Grades: Promoting Student Engagement in an Era of Accountability

From As former elementary school teachers,
the authors focus on what is possible in schools rather than a romantic vision
of what schools could be. Based on a 5-year study of an elementary school, this
book shows how civic engagement can be purposive and critical―a way to
encourage young people to examine their environment, to notice and question
injustices, and to take action to make a difference in their communities and
school. Focusing on the intersection of student voice and critical inquiry, the
book describes how to embed civic engagement into curriculum, school
decisionmaking processes, and whole-school activities. Chapters provide an
overview of what research has demonstrated about civic engagement at the
classroom, school, and community levels, including detailed descriptions of
activities and lessons for practice. Classroom teachers, school principals,
community members, and teacher educators can use this resource to foster a
deeper, richer understanding of what is entailed in civic life.

Book Features:

  • A vivid portrait of a “typical” public school that
    wants to do more than teach to the test.
  • An examination of the conditions that enable young
    people to participate in democratic practices, including identifying and
    questioning injustices.
  • Concrete examples of student voice and critical
    inquiry in classroom contexts.
  • Practices and activities that encourage children to
    get along with others, exchange perspectives, and work across differences.

Common Sense Education

Common Sense Education supports K–12 schools
with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital
citizens. Our innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares
students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and
recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools.

The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action

From The Complete Guide to Service
is the
go-to resource in the fast-growing field of service learning. It is an
award-winning treasury of activities, ideas, quotes, reflections, and resources
and provides hundreds of annotated book recommendations, author interviews, and
expert essays, all presented within a curricular context and organized by
theme. This new edition maintains the easy-to-use format of the original and is
enhanced to reflect the most up-to-date service learning pedagogy.

Earth Force

Force partners with school districts and education and environmental
organizations to incorporate civic experiences into STEM and environmental
education, ensuring students have the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be
effective civic participants who bring environmental values to public
decision-making. In addition to its professional development opportunities,
Earth Force has curated a collection of online resources to help educators
implement their Community Action and Problem-Solving Process in their

From Inquiry to Action: Civic Engagement with Project-Based Learning in All Content Areas

From What really matters to your students?
The issues in front of them at school and in life.

When students inquire into those issues
and know that their arguments will be read with a skeptical eye next week by
the city council or published in the local newspaper, they’re eager to research
and find relevant information in nonfiction texts to bolster their claims. They
become committed to write, revise, edit, and correct their grammar. They want
to think broadly about what reasoning will be effective with their audience.

Want that kind of engagement in your
classroom? Whether you teach English, social studies, science, or math, From Inquiry
to Action
 will show you how step-by-step. Its projects for
civic-engagement help kids become not only college and career ready but citizen
ready. And not ready someday, but right now!

Research, argument, speaking and
listening, close reading, writing for real audiences and purposes, and
collaboration? It’s all here, growing through projects that give students
choice, ownership over their learning, incredible motivation, and a sense of
voice and power that only comes from focusing on and applying their learning to
real-world situations.

“It’s not enough to just talk about
change, or practice in mock legislatures,” writes Steve Zemelman.
“When students see adults actually listening to them with respect, that is
when they begin to realize they have a voice and can make a difference in their
world.” Read From Inquiry to Action and find practical
guidance that leads students to the heights you dream for them. After all, we
all want our students to grow as engaged, thoughtful citizens in our

Generation Citizen

Citizen works to ensure that all U.S. students receive an effective Action
Civics education. At the center of Generation Citizen’s work is its Action
Civics curriculum and Democracy-led and teacher-led models. The curriculum is
action-based, aligned to state standards, and academically rigorous.

Healthy Neighborhoods/Healthy Kids Project

Healthy Neighborhoods/Healthy Kids (HN/HK) Project is a service-learning/civic
engagement and project-based learning framework for students designed by
Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project in collaboration with Smart Growth
Vermont. HN/HK endeavors to engage students in meaningful exploration of their
community and to provide teachers, students, and communities with opportunities
for student-led community change. By providing structure and support for work
deeply rooted in student interest and community need, HN/HK is a vital example
of education for sustainability, place-based education, and service-learning,
as well as a tool for developing students’ literacy, analytical, and
communication skills in a relevant way. 


iCivics was founded in 2009 by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to reimagine civic education and engage students in meaningful civic learning. The organization’s innovative games and supporting classroom resources and curriculum teach students how the political system works by allowing them to experience it first-hand and empowering them to address real-world issues.

The Kid’s Guide to Social Action: How to Solve the Social Problems You Choose – and Turn Creative Thinking into Positive Action

: Inspire kids to choose the social causes they care about and take action
themselves. Compelling, empowering, and packed with information, The
Kid’s Guide to Social Action
 is the ultimate guide for kids who want
to make a difference in the world. First published in 1991, this book has
helped thousands of young people get involved, get noticed, and get results. It
has won awards from Parenting Magazine (“Outstanding Children’s Book,
Reading-Magic Awards”) and the American Library Association (“Best of the Best
for Children”). And now it’s even better.

  • Step-by-step instructions show how to write letters, do
    interviews, make speeches, take surveys, raise funds, get media coverage, and
  • Real stories about real kids who are doing great things let
    readers know they’re not too young to solve problems in their neighborhood,
    community, and nation
  • 25 reproducible forms make it easy to circulate petitions,
    initiate proclamations, and prepare news releases
  • Ideas for working with government, including tips for
    lobbying local, state, and federal lawmakers, and for using social action
    skills with the courts
  • Resources point the way toward government offices, groups,
    organizations, Web sites, and books.

Designed for kids to use
on their own, this creative book is also ideal for schools, clubs, groups,
troops, and youth organizations.

Mikva Challenge

Mikva Challenge provides powerful learning opportunities and authentic
democratic experiences to help young people become empowered, informed, and
active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. The organization
provides teachers, schools, and youth organizations with curricula, strategies,
and tools to engage young people in high-quality, student-centered, and
project-based learning that activates youth expertise, amplifies youth voice, and
engages in deeper learning and reflection.

National Action Civics Collaborative

National Action Civics Collaborative is a network of practitioners and
researchers whose mission is to implement Action Civics in every school and
youth organization throughout the country, and to promote an experiential
understanding of how government works. The organization’s website features
stories of youth participating in Action Civics projects, a toolbox that includes
an Action Civics curriculum and evaluation tools, and a research page with
resources that make the case for Action Civics.

No Citizen Left Behind

From While
teaching at an all-Black middle school in Atlanta, Meira Levinson realized that
students’ individual self-improvement would not necessarily enable them to
overcome their profound marginalization within American society. This is
because of a civic empowerment gap that is as shameful and antidemocratic as
the academic achievement gap targeted by No Child Left Behind. No
Citizen Left Behind
 argues that students must be taught how to upend
and reshape power relationships directly, through political and civic action.
Drawing on political theory, empirical research, and her own on-the-ground
experience, Levinson shows how de facto segregated urban
schools can and must be at the center of this struggle.

Recovering the civic purposes of public
schools will take more than tweaking the curriculum. Levinson calls on schools
to remake civic education. Schools should teach collective action, openly
discuss the racialized dimensions of citizenship, and provoke students by
engaging their passions against contemporary injustices. Students must also
have frequent opportunities to take civic and political action, including
within the school itself. To build a truly egalitarian society, we must reject
myths of civic sameness and empower all young people to raise their diverse
voices. Levinson’s account challenges not just educators but all who care about
justice, diversity, or democracy.

Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities

From From a history of children’s rights to
case studies discussing international initiatives that aim to create
child-friendly cities, Placemaking with Children and Youth offers
comprehensive guidance in how to engage children and youth in the planning and
design of local environments. It explains the importance of children’s active
participation in their societies and presents ways to bring all generations
together to plan cities with a high quality of life for people of all ages. Not
only does it delineate best practices in establishing programs and
partnerships, it also provides principles for working ethically with children,
youth, and families, paying particular attention to the inclusion of
marginalized populations.

Drawing on case studies from around the
world―in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands,
South Africa, and the United States―Placemaking with Children and Youth showcases
children’s global participation in community design and illustrates how a
variety of methods can be combined in initiatives to achieve meaningful change.
The book features more than 200 visuals and detailed, thoughtful guidelines for
facilitating a multiplicity of participatory processes that include drawing,
photography, interviews, surveys, discussion groups, role playing, mapping,
murals, model making, city tours, and much more. Whether seeking information on
individual methods and project planning, interpreting and analyzing results, or
establishing and evaluating a sustained program, readers can find practical
ideas and inspiration from six continents to connect learning to the realities
of students’ lives and to create better cities for all ages.

Project Citizen

Project Citizen is an
interdisciplinary, active-learning program that promotes competent and
responsible participation in local and state government by engaging students in
developing public policy for their communities. The program is aligned with
Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies.

Teaching Civic Literacy Projects: Student Engagement with Social Problems, Grades 4 – 12

From This practical resource shows
teachers how to enact robust forms of civic education in today’s schools. Both
instructive and thought-provoking, it will inspire teachers to craft curricula
addressing a wide range of genuine civic problems such as those related to
racial discrimination, environmental damage, and community health. Dividing
civic literacy projects into three key phases―problem identification, problem
exploration, and action―the author provides concrete examples from
upper-elementary, middle, and high school classrooms to illustrate and analyze
how each phase can unfold. The projects ultimately provide opportunities for
youth to participate in civic life while they develop essential literacy skills
associated with reading, writing, and speaking. The final chapter outlines a
curriculum design process that will result in coherent and meaningful civic
literacy projects driven by clear goals. It includes practical tools, such as a
sample unit timeline, an assessment chart, and student worksheets that can be
modified for immediate use.

Teaching Tolerance

A project of the Southern Poverty Law
Center, Teaching Tolerance helps teachers and schools educate children and
youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy. The organization’s
classroom resources page offers free lessons, learning plans, teacher
strategies, and film kits that educators can use to explore topics like race
and ethnicity, gender equality, and sexual orientation with students.

Teenage Citizens: The Political Theories of the Young

From Most teenagers are too young to vote
and are off the radar of political scientists. Teenage Citizens looks
beyond the electoral game to consider the question of how this overlooked
segment of our citizenry understands political topics. Bridging psychology and
political science, Constance Flanagan argues that civic identities form during
adolescence and are rooted in teens’ everyday lives―in their experiences as
members of schools and community-based organizations and in their exercise of
voice, collective action, and responsibility in those settings. This is the
phase of life when political ideas are born.

Through voices from a wide range of
social classes and ethnic backgrounds in the United States and five other
countries, we learn how teenagers form ideas about democracy, inequality, laws,
ethnic identity, the social contract, and the ties that bind members of a
polity together. Flanagan’s twenty-five years of research show how teens’
personal and family values accord with their political views. When their
families emphasize social responsibility―for people in need and for the common
good―and perform service to the community, teens’ ideas about democracy and the
social contract highlight principles of tolerance, social inclusion, and
equality. When families discount social responsibility relative to other
values, teens’ ideas about democracy focus on their rights as individuals.

At a time when opportunities for youth
are shrinking, Constance Flanagan helps us understand how young people come to
envisage the world of politics and civic engagement, and how their own
political identities take form.

Ultimate Civics

A project of Earth Island Institute, Ultimate Civics has developed curriculum and resources for grades 6 – 12 that teach foundational civics concepts and skills and empower students to take action. All lessons are aligned to the C3 (College, Career, and Civic Life) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

What Kids Can Do

What Kids Can Do (WKCD) champions student
voice by documenting and sharing stories of youth who are actively engaged in
promoting and creating change. WKCD’s website is a repository of feature
stories, special collections, videos, and other resources that demonstrate the
impact of, and provide guidance for nurturing, student voice.

The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries

From How can
we create a just, healthy, and humane world? What is the path to developing
sustainable energy, food, transportation, production, construction, and other
systems? What’s the best strategy to end poverty and ensure that everyone has
equal rights? How can we slow the rate of extinction and restore ecosystems? How
can we learn to resolve conflicts without violence and treat other people and
nonhuman animals with respect and compassion?

The answer to all these questions lies
with one underlying system―schooling. To create a more sustainable, equitable,
and peaceful world, we must reimagine education and prepare a generation to be
solutionaries―young people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to create
a better future. This book describes how we can (and must) transform education
and teaching; create such a generation; and build such a future.

Young Voices for the Planet

The Young Voices for the Planet film
series empowers youth through uplifting and inspiring success stories to play a
role in speaking out, creating solutions, and catalyzing change in their
communities and society-at-large. Besides student films, the website features a
civic engagement curriculum guide that educators can use to integrate Young
Voices for the Planet films into their classroom lessons.

Youth Service America

Founded in 1986, Youth Service America
(YSA) supports a global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a
lifetime of meaningful service, learning, and leadership. With half the world’s
population under age 25, YSA’s mission is to help all young people find their
voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. In 2016, YSA
began to focus its assets and outcomes on achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals by 2030.

Through YSA’s programs, youth lead
community change through:

  • Awareness – educating others to change behaviors
  • Service – using their passion, creativity, and idealism
    to solve problems through volunteerism
  • Advocacy – to change policies and laws
  • Philanthropy – generating and donating financial
    and in-kind support

YSA’s Learning Center has resources and
trainings for educators, and the website’s Take Action tab provides ideas for
service broken out by cause, audience, and YSA Programs.


YPAR (Youth-led Participatory Action
Research) is an innovative approach to positive youth and community development
based in social justice principles in which young people are trained to conduct
systematic research to improve their lives, their communities, and the
institutions intended to serve them. YPAR Hub started through an ongoing
partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco
Peer Resources and serves as a hub for curriculum and collaboration. Educators
can find guidance and lesson plans for integrating YPAR into their curriculum.

Grants and Awards

ASM Materials Education Foundation K-12 Education Grants

The ASM Materials
Education Foundation awards 20
grants of $500 annually to help K-12 teachers bring the real world
of materials science into their classrooms. “Living in a Material World” grants
recognize creativity and enhance awareness of materials science and the role
that materials play in society. Teachers must describe a hands-on,
curriculum-based K-12 project that involves student observation, teamwork,
mathematics, and science skills that enhance student awareness of the everyday
materials around them. The deadline for applications is May 25, 2020. 

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants

The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution
Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining
basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years. The Foundation has
funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youth around the
world – actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of
environmental stewards and change agents.

ecoSolution Grants range
from $500 – $2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led
projects that result in real environmental outcomes. Visit the website to learn
more about eligibility and restrictions and to fill out an application. The
deadline to submit applications for the current grant cycle is January 15, 2020.

Captain Planet Foundation ecoTECH Grants

Originally developed in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson
Foundation and with ongoing support from Voya Financial, ecoTech
Grants are specifically
offered to engage children in inquiry-based, STEM-related projects that
leverage technology and/or use nature-based design to address environmental
problems in local communities. ecoTech Grants were created to combat the notion that
students needed to choose between “the screen” or “the green” and to encourage
educators and students to explore the role technology can play in designing and
implementing solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges.
ecoTECH grant projects must:

  • Be based in the U.S.
  • Integrate the use of technology to address environmental
    problems (not iPads or other tablets)
  • Be project-based
  • Be youth-led
  • Result in real, demonstrable environmental outcomes

grants are available as cash grants of up to $2,500 and support the purchase of
materials and other project implementation expenses. The
deadline to submit applications for the current grant cycle is January 15, 2020.

Dorothy Stout Professional Development Awards

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers gives
these professional development awards to faculty and students at two year
colleges and to K-12 teachers in support of:

  • Participation in Earth Science classes or workshops
  • Attendance at professional scientific or science education meetings
  • Participation in Earth Science field trips
  • Purchase of Earth Science materials for classroom use

Awards of $750 are made annually in three categories:
Community College Faculty, Community College Student, and K-12
Educator. Award winners are also given a one-year membership to the
National Association of Geoscience Teachers, which includes an online subscription
to the Journal of Geoscience Education and the In The Trenches magazine. The deadline to
apply is April 15, 2020.


GetEdFunding is a curated
collection of grants and awards created by education professionals for
education professionals. Its database was designed to be easy-to-use and
reliable, and all grant and funding opportunities are updated daily. Users
can search by six criteria, including 43 areas
of focus, 8 content areas, and 14 twenty-first century themes and skills,
including environmental literacy. Once registered on the site, users can save grants of
interest and return to them at any time.

Fund for Teachers 

Fund for Teachers provides educators the resources and funding they need to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. Fund for Teachers grant awards support a variety of projects, all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students, and school communities. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $32 million in nearly 8,500 teachers. Applications for 2020 are being accepted through January 31, 2020. Learn more about the application process and what current and past fellows have accomplished.

International Young Eco-Hero Awards

The nonprofit Action For Nature (AFN) created
the International Young Eco-Hero Awards to recognize and reward the successful
individual environmental initiatives of young people ages 8 to 16. To be
considered, projects must address environmental health, advocacy, research, or protection of the
natural world, be action-based, and self-initiated. Winners will be selected by a team of independent judges with
experience in environmental issues. 

Applications for 2020
are being accepted through February 28, 2020. Visit the website to learn more about eligibility
requirements, judging criteria, prizes, and how to apply.

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grants

The InvenTeam initiative,
created by the Lemelson-MIT Program, offers an unparalleled opportunity for
high school students to cultivate their creativity and experience invention. InvenTeams
are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors who receive grants of up
to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Up to
15 teams are selected for grants each school year. Each InvenTeam chooses its
own problem to solve. Funds may be allocated for research, materials, and learning
experiences related to the project. Funds may not be used to purchase capital
equipment or professional services (e.g., intellectual property legal
protection, engineering services). All teams are expected to present and showcase
a working prototype of their invention at EurekaFest, held at the Massachusetts
Institute for Technology, in June of their grant year.

applications for 2020 InvenTeam Grants are due on April 6, 2020.

NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Program 

Shell and the National Science Teachers
Association (NSTA) have partnered to recognize outstanding middle and high
school programs for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction
utilizing limited school and laboratory resources. The Shell Science Lab
Challenge showcases the work of teachers who submit innovative, replicable
strategies to deliver quality lab experiences with limited equipment/resources,
and award teachers/schools with additional tools, resources, and rich
professional development opportunities needed to support high-quality science
teaching and strengthen their existing capabilities. To be eligible:

  • Applicants may be individual teachers or teams of
    teachers of science in grades 6-12, in the United States and Canada,
    representing their schools.
  • A teacher is limited to one application per year
    (whether submitting as an individual or team applicant).
  • A school may submit an unlimited number of

Shell Science Lab Challenge national
winners will be honored during a black-tie dinner gala at the NSTA National
Conference on Science Education. The grand prize winner will receive a lab
makeover support package valued at $20,000.

Applications are due by Midnight EST on
January 15, 2020 via online submission.

Power of Youth Challenge

The Power of Youth Challenge, an
initiative of America’s Promise Alliance, invites youth from across the country
to bring positive change to their communities by leading social service
projects. Teams made up of at least three young people, ages 13 to 18, will
have access to a mini-grant of up to $250, with the amount determined by
project needs. Teams who complete their projects will be eligible to apply for
an accelerator grant of up to $5,000 to grow their projects over the next year.
The deadline for team registration is June 30, 2020. Visit the Power of Youth
Challenge website to review the eligibility criteria and application process.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching recognizes teachers who develop and implement high-quality instructional programs that are informed by content knowledge and enhance student learning. They are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

of the award receive:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.

This year’s awards will honor science, technology, engineering,
mathematics, and/or computer science teachers working in grades K – 6. Applications
must be submitted by May 1, 2020.

Salad Bars to Schools Grants

Salad Bars to Schools launched in
2010 with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools so that every
child has daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Any district or
independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program is
invited to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit the
website to learn about eligibility, award criteria, and the application

Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant

Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grants
are available for grades 6 – 12 educators who are ready to use their physical
classroom space to advance learning in new and important ways. Grants are
valued at $132,000 and include furniture, a design review, installation, on-site
training, and a Learning Environment Evaluation measurement tool. Up to 10
grants will be awarded in 2020. The deadline to submit applications is February
3, 2020.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP)
was founded in 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute to
complement the Stockholm Water Prize. The SJWP is considered the world’s most
prestigious award presented to a high school student for a water-research
project. Any high school student in grades 9 through 12, who has reached the
age of 15 by August 1 of the competition year and has conducted a water-related
science project, is eligible to participate in the competition.

Teams of up to three students may enter.
Projects should be aimed at enhancing the quality of life through
improvement of water quality, water resources management, or water and
wastewater treatment. Projects can explore water issues on local,
regional, national, or global issues. It is essential that all projects use a
research-oriented approach, which means they must use scientifically accepted
methodologies for experimentation, monitoring, and reporting, including
statistical analysis. Entries into the SJWP
competition will be judged based on six criteria: relevance, creativity,
methodology, subject knowledge, practical skills, and report and

Note: All students must
enter the State SJWP Competition first. National competition entries are open
to State winners only.

The entry deadline for the 2020 competition is April 15, 2020.

Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants

Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants support educators who embrace and embed anti-bias principles throughout their schools. These grants, ranging from $500 – $10,000, support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy. Grants fund projects on three levels: classroom, school, and district. Educators nationwide in public or private K-12 spaces, as well as in alternative schools, therapeutic schools, and juvenile justice facilities, are eligible to apply. Applications for Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants are reviewed on a rolling basis. There is no deadline to apply.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Environmental Education Local Grant Program

The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award up to $3 million in funding to
eligible entities through the 2020 Environmental Education Local Grants Program.
This grant program supports locally-focused environmental education projects
that increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental and
conservation issues and provides the skills that participants in its funded
projects need to make informed decisions and take responsible actions toward
the environment. EPA will award three to four grants in each of its ten regions,
for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-35
grants nationwide. Proposals are due January 6, 2020.

U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s 2020 Presidential Environmental Youth Awards and Presidential
Innovation Awards for Environmental Educators

The Presidential Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) recognizes outstanding K-12 environmental stewardship projects that promote environmental awareness and encourage community involvement. EPA will select up to two winners in each of EPA’s 10 Regions – one regional winner for grades K-5, and one regional winner for grades 6-12. Winners will be invited to participate in an awards ceremony and poster session in Washington, D.C. in mid-2020 and their projects will be highlighted on EPA’s website. Application and eligibility information can be found here.

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education. Up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. Teachers will receive a Presidential plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further professional development in environmental education. Winning teachers’ local education agencies will also receive awards of up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs. Winners will be invited to participate in an awards ceremony and poster session in Washington, D.C. in mid-2020 and their projects will be highlighted on EPA’s website. Application and eligibility information can be found here.

is seeking 2020 PEYA and PIAEE award applications for projects on a variety of
environmental topics, including (but not limited to): 

  • reducing food waste and loss and
    excess food recovery efforts;
  • reducing contributions to ocean
    and marine litter;
  • solutions in recycling;
  • using science, technology,
    engineering, and math (STEM) to teach environmental education;
  • environmental sustainability;
  • sustainable agricultural
    practices; and
  • healthy school environments.

for both awards programs are due no later than January 15, 2020.

Voya Foundation Grants

Voya Foundation grants are focused on
Financial Resilience. We work to ensure that youth are equipped with Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expertise and financial knowledge
necessary to compete in the 21st century workforce and make smart financial
decisions that lead to a secure retirement.

We accomplish this by accepting
year-round grant applications from organizations that:

  1. Provide
    innovative and experiential K-8 STEM learning opportunities to
    promote an early interest in STEM career fields and improve teachers’
    capabilities in STEM; or
  2. Provide financial
    education curriculum to grade 9-12 students focused on navigating major
    financial milestones including student debt, credit, home ownership, financial
    products and services/financial capability, and family needs.