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Applications for the 2022-23 SCRS Challenge closed on April 28. 

Thank you to Peninsula Clean Energy for their ongoing sponsorship of the financial award for this program!

About the Challenge

The purpose of the San Mateo County Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools Challenge (SCRS) is to identify students, teachers, administrators, and community members who are leading meaningful change in the Campus, Curriculum, or greater Community, and to recognize them for their impact towards creating a sustainable future.

How to Participate


  • This program is open to both public and private PK–12 schools within San Mateo County.

  • Submissions can be made from any stakeholder in a school community: administrators, faculty and staff, students, parent volunteers, community partners, etc.

  • There can be multiple submissions from any school site.

  • If an activity is repeated in future years, leaders must submit each year to earn ongoing recognition.

All submissions will follow the four-step process below:

Step 1: Overview

In no more than 250 words, provide a description of the action taken. Include information about WHAT took place, HOW it went, and WHO was involved. Additionally, explain how the effort aligns with equity and justice, and/or health and wellness:

  • Equity and Justice: When explaining the connection to equity and justice, applicants should include how the effort reached a diverse audience (consider race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status), and/or provided access to groups of students in an equitable manner. Other justice related connections might be if the actions reduced the impact of this community on environmental justice issues (how can we reduce our impact) OR how to reduce the impact on an especially hard hit community.
  • Health and Wellness: Explain how this effort enhanced the wellbeing and happiness of all stakeholders in the school community and beyond.

Step 2: Learning

In no more than 150 words, provide a reflection on what the sustainability champions and/or community learned about environmental, social, and economic sustainability by taking this action. If this was classroom curriculum, explain what the students learned and how you know they learned.

Step 3: Evidence and Impact

Upload evidence of the action that took place. These may be in the form of photos, flyers, testimonials, etc. Additionally, for mid-level and full-integration levels, provide impact metric details.

Step 4: Next Steps

In no more than 250 words, provide an overview of what steps will be taken by the school, student, and/or teacher to ensure that the momentum and knowledge gained from the project will carry through. Submissions with the strongest clear steps forward will be considered for a financial award (up to $500) which will be put towards implementing the plan for next steps. 

Challenge Structure

Select a Topical Category

SMCOE's sustainability recognition and awards program is built around focus area topics that draw from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and One Planet Living Framework. Please choose the focus area categories that fit your submission (select all that apply)

Food Systems
Promoting sustainable, humane farming and healthy diets which are high in local, seasonal organic food and vegetable protein.

Land-Based Ecosystems
Protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Sustainable Watersheds
Use water efficiently, protect local water sources, and contribute to flood risk management.

Sustainable Transportation
Reducing the need to travel, and encouraging walking, cycling, and low-carbon transport.

Clean Energy
Making buildings and manufacturing energy-efficient and supplying all energy with renewables.

Zero Waste and Consumption
Reducing consumption, reusing, and recycling to achieve zero waste and zero pollution.

Air Quality
Reducing the pollutants in the air that cause poor air quality and negative health effects.

Green Building and Grounds
Making buildings and grounds more sustainable and efficient.

Marine Ecosystems and Shoreline
Reducing pollution, waste, and overconsumption in Marine ecosystems while addressing sea level rise and effects on the shoreline.

Select a Pathway and Level

Once an Analysis Lense is selected, there are three pathways in which a stakeholder may submit achievements to be considered for Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools recognition:

Campus and Operations
Greening facilities and operations by reducing ecological footprint and carbon footprint to zero impact, and making ecologically beneficial choices. The other two pathways also call on school communities to utilize these greening efforts as a laboratory for learning.

Create high-quality learning experiences that provide a transformative learning process that equips students, teachers, and school systems with the new knowledge and ways of thinking we need to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship while restoring the health of the living systems upon which our lives depend (definition of Education for Sustainability, Cloud Institute).

Community Awareness and Action
Engage the internal and external community in actions that walk the talk of sustainability, and contribute to a sustainable paradigm shift at the local level.

Other Recognition Programs

SMCOE’s SCRS Challenge allows leaders from school communities to build a portfolio of achievements, which can later be utilized in regional, state, and federally sponsored recognition and awards programs, such as: