Redwood City, CA–Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) and the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) are partnering with the San Carlos School District to create a pilot online campus dashboard system that students, teachers, and administrators can use to understand the environmental impact of schools. The announcement was made at the kickoff for the San Mateo County Environmental Literacy Collaborative Clean Energy Teacher Fellowship, a six-month-long curriculum development process supported by Peninsula Clean Energy.
The campus dashboard system will make data on environmental indicators, such as energy and water use, waste generation, and transportation methods, more transparent and accessible online. Teachers will be able to use the data in grades K-12 classroom instruction, students will be able to draw from the data for school and community projects, and administrators will be able to use the information to make more informed decisions that reflect their commitment to creating sustainable schools. The U.S. Department of Energy says that K-12 schools nationwide spend over $3.3 billion on energy, which is more than they spend on textbooks and computers combined.
The San Carlos School District (SCSD) will work with SMCOE to develop the dashboard and implement standards-aligned learning units that focus on the environmental, social, and economic impacts of energy generation and use. Peninsula Clean Energy will provide funding and technical assistance for the creation and implementation of the program.
“These dashboards will offer schools instant access to data about how school facilities and operations contribute to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jan Pepper, Peninsula Clean Energy CEO. “SMCOE and the San Carlos School District will pilot the dashboard program, and eventually we hope to help expand it into classrooms countywide to create real-time learning laboratories that are readily available to every student and teacher. That will encourage proactive participation by all to identify measures that will reduce energy usage and address climate change.”
The State of California has recognized SCSD for its success in integrating environmental literacy into its project-based curriculum as well as its innovative green schoolyards and facilities. District Superintendent Michelle Harmeier sees the dashboard as a logical next step in this work, adding, “The campus dashboard initiative will offer our district a very powerful tool to support both our environmental literacy efforts and school operations.”
The campus dashboard provides schools with an equitable means of teaching about resource conservation and environmental sustainability. Traditionally, teachers have asked students to bring in utility bills from home. Now, teachers can turn to the campus dashboard, which will provide all students with the same data.
“We are creating a model that will transform how schools teach students environmental literacy, shifting the focus from home-based energy data to the school community,” explained Nancy Magee, San Mateo Superintendent of Schools. “Everyone, from students to school boards, will have the same data and can work together to create more sustainable schools. Students can then share what they learn at school with their families, and begin conversations about energy use.”
Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. PCE is a public not-for-profit local community choice energy agency that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County with cleaner electricity at lower rates than those charged by the local incumbent utility. PCE saves customers an estimated $18 million a year. PCE, formed in March 2016, is a joint powers authority made up of the County of San Mateo and all 20 cities and towns in the County. PCE serves approximately 290,000 accounts.
The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities.
Strategy and Communication Administrator
San Mateo County Office of Education
Environmental Education Coordinator
San Mateo County Office of Education
Peninsula Clean Energy