preparing students to be change makers

A team of educators and parents lean in

Seventh graders create persuasive posters on environmental issues of their choice. At the high school, members of the sustainability club research local organic farms and CSAs. Elementary students plant lettuce for a home-grown harvest.

These are just some of the sustainability initiatives happening at Katonah-Lewisboro schools in any given month. It’s part of a district-wide commitment to integrate environmental awareness and conservation into the curriculum. To further prepare students to be impactful members of their communities, a team of district educators and parents recently attended the Next Generation Science Standards, Science Literacies, and Activism: A Science, Education, and Climate Change Institute.

understanding the science of climate change

communication that inspires people to care

The three-day seminar, hosted virtually by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, focused on equipping students to take action in the face of environmental challenges.

Representing Katonah-Lewisboro were Melissa Brady, unified arts teacher at John Jay Middle School; Mary Ford, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; Board of Education President Marjorie Schiff; Superintendent Andrew Selesnick; Kweon Stambaugh, assistant principal of Katonah Elementary School; Melissa Sultana, district parent and member of the BOE Sustainability Committee; and Steven Zoeller, engineering teacher at John Jay High School and advisor to the Sustainability Club.

Learning from diverse and cutting-edge practitioners

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, founder of the non-profit think tank Urban Ocean Lab, led a dive deep into the science of climate change, David Wallace-Wells, a journalist known for his writings on climate change, offered thoughts on the role of voice and passion in science writing. Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D., a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, shared ways to bring indigenous knowledge into the science classroom.

“The seminar was both inspiring and incredibly informative,” reflected Superintendent Selesnick. “It provided us with many resources we’ll be able to share with teachers across the district. And its lessons were delivered with an appropriate sense of urgency, and also with hope.”

Note: the posters shown were created by Melissa Brady's seventh grade Family and Consumer Science students.