DC Environmental Literacy Plan
In June 2010, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed the Healthy Schools Act of 2010, which prioritizes the health and wellness of students throughout the District. The Healthy Schools Act calls for an environmental literacy plan for the District – a road map that will lay the foundation for District-wide implementation and integration of environmental education into the K-12 curriculum.
Environmental literacy is the development of knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to make informed decisions concerning the relationships among natural and urban systems.
An environmentally literate person:
- discusses and describes ecological and environmental systems and human impacts on these systems;
- engages in hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that involve discovery, inquiry, and problem solving;
- formulates question and analyzes information pertaining to his or her surrounding environment; and
- understands how to take actions that respect, restore, protect, and sustain the health and well-being of human communities and environmental systems.
An environmental literacy plan creates the framework for standards, achievement, professional development, assessment, and leadership for individuals and organizations to thrive and achieve innovation in education. As described in the 2011 Healthy Schools Act Amendments, the DC Environmental Literacy Plan includes:
- Relevant teaching and learning standards adopted by the State Board of Education
- Professional development opportunities for teachers
- How to measure environmental literacy
- Governmental and nongovernmental entities that can assist schools; and
- Implementation of the plan.
On July 2, 2012, the Mayor’s office transmitted the final draft of the DC Environmental Literacy Plan to DC Council. The DC Environmental Literacy Plan is the local component for regional and national environmental literacy efforts, such as the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order 13508 and the No Child Left Inside Act of 2013. Combined, these road maps will empower future generations to make effective environmental decisions and become caretakers of our natural resources.
DOEE continues to collaborate with DC Public Schools, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education, DC Public Charter School Board, DC State Board of Education, DC Department of Parks and Recreation, the University of the District of Columbia, the DC Environmental Education Consortium, and other community stakeholders to implement this plan.
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