Education For Sustainability – Philly:  Inspiring Student STEM Engagement and Success by Harnessing Regional Resources and Developing Teacher Leadership

Education for Sustainability (EfS) – Philly is an National Science Foundation funded project that will address the national need for highly effective teachers who can engage and inspire their students to succeed in STEM by linking the study of STEM to the real world issue of sustainability. The project will create a model for master teacher development in Education for Sustainability that prepares teachers to teach STEM content using themes from sustainability. The teachers will learn to incorporate hands-on pedagogies that put learning into action by providing opportunities for students to address authentic sustainability challenges in their own schools and communities. The master teachers will support implementation of the School District of Philadelphia’s comprehensive sustainability plan, GreenFutures, which calls for including education for sustainability core standards  throughout the curriculum. The project is situated within the region’s STEM sustainability “ecosystem”, a rich array of STEM and sustainability assets, including informal education organizations, institutions of higher education, green businesses, community, parent and teacher groups, that will be cultivated to support the master teacher program and the GreenFutures plan.

This one year planning grant will lay the foundation for a future NSF grant proposal to implement a five year teacher leadership program in Education for Sustainability.

Principal Investigator:  Victor Donnay, Bryn Mawr College                                                                                                                      

Co-Principal Investigators:  Paul Morgan, West Chester University and Margaret Stephens, Community College of Philadelphia


Education for Sustainability – Philly Teacher Leadership Program.

During the 2017-18 academic year, EfS-Philly will develop and pilot a model for place-based STEM teacher leadership development in Education for Sustainability. This pilot project will lay the ground work for submitting a future grant to NSF to implement a more extensive 5-year Teacher Leadership program.

In this year long teacher leadership program, 8-12 SDP secondary teachers from a range of disciplines and grade levels will join together with three or more faculty from the Community College of Philadelphia to participate in 60 hours of EfS and teacher leadership-focused professional development while taking part in an EfS learning community.  This Teacher Leadership program will explore components of teacher leadership that would inform future initiatives.  

Program components include:

  • 60 hours of Professional Development in environmental sustainability content and pedagogy and teacher leadership skills. The group will meet for three days in August and for seven Saturdays during the academic year (see PD Calendar for specific meeting dates)  
  • Field Trips and networking with sustainability focused organizations in the region
  • Collaborative learning and networking with peers
  • Up to $2400 Stipend (Contingent on completing program components)

Participants will identify ways to connect issues of environmental sustainability and Education for Sustainability core concepts with the School District of Philadelphia’s Scope and Sequence for their discipline. They will produce place-based EfS themed lessons, pilot test instructional materials in their classrooms and then engage in an assessment and revision process to refine the lessons.

Applicants must be willing to commit to the following:
  • Attending 60 hours of professional development scheduled for designated days in  August, 2017 and seven (7) Saturdays during 2017-18 school year (see PD Calendar below for specific meeting dates)
  • Working collaboratively with other educators on development of key project products
  • Securing the support of their principal through a short written memorandum of agreement and maintaining communications with the principal throughout the year to inform them of their work (Memorandum of Support    efs-philly-principal-memorandum-of-support  
  • Participants receive a stipend of up to $2400 (contingent on completion of project products)
Applications consisting of a STEM/Non-STEM team from the same school are encouraged.

EfS-Philly Teacher Leadership Professional Development Calendar


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