Students encouraged to celebrate Earth Day every day

Longfellow Elementary students pick up trash
San Francisco Unified School District schools are turning green -- but not with envy.

This past school year, from August 2017 through April 2018, K-12 schools were invited to participate in the Earth Day Every Day Challenge, intended to promote a culture of environmental stewardship and encourage action in support of SFUSD’s sustainability goals.

The challenge, spearheaded by the SFUSD Sustainability Office, allowed schools to compete by participating in sustainability-related activities. Schools received points by completing activities related to the district’s sustainability goals of Zero Net Energy, Water Resilience, Zero Waste, Sustainable Transportation, and Connection to Nature.

Activities ranged from field trips to classroom lessons to school initiatives -- the possibilities were endless for SFUSD’s schools, teachers and students.

While SFUSD honored the winning schools with a cash prize, and they received congratulatory letters and certificates signed by SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Mathews, district and school leaders are also taking pride in celebrating all schools and students that have made strides to improve their environmental stewardship.

Take a look at Longfellow Elementary School, for instance. Each week students meet at the Excelsior Playground park with other elementary schools in the neighborhood and they walk to school together for their weekly walking school bus. On one particular week this school year, they picked up trash on the Walking School Bus route.

At Civic Center Secondary School, students built and decorated wooden bird houses. They also collected a wide variety of materials and used these materials for planting seeds and plants. Their greenery is literally growing by the second.
Seedlings being nurtured at Civic Center Secondary School
Why is rain the only thing that should go down a drain, and not other pollutants? That’s the question Stevenson Elementary School teacher Sandra Camp asked her fifth grade students. The fifth graders then visited each classroom to teach younger students the importance of “only rain down the drain.”

Though the school year is rapidly coming to an close, there are a number of resources available to families that want to continue their environmental push into the summer. The Bay Area boasts a number of beautiful outdoor spots to visit where students can experience the value of a clean environment. Families may also want to check out the Global Climate Action Summit that’s heading to San Francisco in September.

Learn more about SFUSD’s sustainability goals.