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. Applications open each spring. Thank you to Peninsula Clean Energy for their support and sponsorship of the financial awards!
How to Participate
This program is open to both public and private PK–12 schools within San Mateo County.
Submissions can be made from anyone 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
Describe the project. 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. Another example is if the actions reduced negative environmental impacts on vulnerable communities.
- Health and Wellness: Explain how this effort enhanced the wellbeing and happiness of all stakeholders in the school community and beyond.
Step 2: Learning
Reflect 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
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.
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)
Promoting sustainable, humane farming and healthy diets which are high in local, seasonal organic food and vegetable protein.
Protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Use water efficiently, protect local water sources, and contribute to flood risk management.
Reducing the need to travel, and encouraging walking, cycling, and low-carbon transport.
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.
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: