The State of California provided the San Mateo County Office of Education with $6 million to create curricular resources to help teachers promote students’ understanding of climate change and environmental justice, leading to action in their communities.

The San Mateo County Office of Education contracted Ten Strands to develop units for every grade level by engaging community writing teams and subject matter experts in student-centered pedagogy, climate change, environmental justice, trauma-informed practices, Indigenous ways of knowing, and more. These units will be free open education resources, standards-based, and will integrate California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts.

Curriculum Writing Teams

Ten Strands assembled community writing teams through a competitive process. These teams, which include seven community- and student-centered organizations, began work in August 2022 and are making progress in developing the units, which are in the preliminary piloting phase. The writing teams include:

Ten Strands also identified larger organizations that have broader experience in writing open education resources on climate change and environmental justice curriculum and professional learning. With oversight from Ten Strands, these organizations are providing support and capacity-building to the curriculum writing teams to ensure coherence and consistency within and across grade levels.

  • BSCS Science Learning: Provides broad curriculum development support and design for the curriculum framework, including unit and lesson design.
  • California Subject Matter Project: Provides expertise related to the California state standards, Environmental Principles and Concepts, content, cross-curricular design, and professional learning.
  • Concord Consortium: Provides access and support related to online modeling and data tools such as SageModeler and CODAP.
  • The Climate Collective: Provides expertise related to climate change curriculum frameworks and development.

Current Program Status

Updated April 2023

The writing teams have developed an initial draft of the first phase of the unit storyline called the anchor experience. The anchor experience launches the unit and engages students in activities to share their own questions about an observable phenomenon and to develop a model that reveals their initial understanding of that phenomenon. The student questions, observations, and models gathered during the anchor experience pilot will drive the further development of the curriculum units.

Each draft anchor experience prototype has been reviewed by a panel of diverse experts. These experts include members of the CCEJP Steering Committee, science educators, storyline specialists, and content experts. The reviewers used established anchor experience criteria to provide written feedback to the writing teams in advance of the pilot phase.

Each writing team has recruited between 3-5 educators across California to pilot and gather feedback about the draft anchor experience in classrooms. The pilot phase is taking place between April 1-June 30, 2023. The CCEJP evaluation firm, RTI International, has developed common evaluation tools such as an educators' survey, observation protocol, and interview protocol. The data collected during the pilot will be shared with writing teams to support the improvement and refinement of the draft anchor experience and development of the rest of the unit storyline.

Next Stages

June through December 2023

Using data collected from the pilot and other informal feedback, the writing teams will draft a full unit. During this drafting period, the writing teams may need to test another anchor and revise their unit. Ten Strands will help to coordinate expert reviews.

Patricia Love

Executive Director, Strategy and Communications


Phone: (650) 802-5559