San Mateo Environmental Learning Collaborative

Environmental Literacy Teacher Fellowships:

Classrooms that Save the World

The San Mateo Environmental Learning Collaborative (SMELC) is a collection of PAID Teacher Fellowship Programs that prepare teachers to drive environmental and social change across their school communities. Each fellowship program builds teacher capacity for designing and delivering learning experiences that are student centered, problem- and project-based, solutions-oriented, and integrate real-world environmental and social issues.

Read below for an overview and outcomes, testimonials from past fellows, details about each program, and links to register. Links to cohort pages for 2018-19 fellows can also be found below.

Download SMELC 2019-20 Flyer Here

Quick Links

General Structure and Overview

STRUCTURE

  • Summer Institute: Professional learning intensive that centers around building knowledge and skills, and unit design for implementation in the Fall Semester.
  • Guided Implementation and Practice: Ongoing support through coaching, content knowledge development, and collaboration.
  • Final Deliverables: Finalized and piloted unit of study, reflection presentation, and completion ceremony.
  • Community: Support for establishing a partnership with community and environmental education partners.

OUTCOMES

  • Deeper understanding of the intersection between environmental, social, and economic issues
  • Confidence and ability to successfully use student-centered problem-based learning (PBL) strategies, including: inquiry, systems thinking, and civic engagement.
  • Increased student engagement and comprehension with long-lasting impact
  • Tools and resources to make an impact in your school community
  • Peer-based learning through collaboration with cohort fellows
  • Connection with and access to funding for resources, field trips, and more

Past Fellow Testimonials

Since the San Mateo Environmental Learning Collaborative (SMELC) first formed, more than 200 teachers have learned what Environmental Literacy and how to do it — while also meeting the standards and fostering students engagement and academic success.

“This experience both reinforced my knowledge of the standards and deepened my knowledge of the standards. It also provided me with many resources that can help in this process. I felt empowered.” — 2016 Participant

TESTIMONIALS

“Reflecting on the experience, I did indeed teach my students about the environment, and there was plenty of time. I realized that when it comes to teaching science through project-based learning, none of those challenges I was thinking about at the beginning of the school year get in the way — not reading levels, different first languages, or even personality differences — because what the children experience is pure and natural and caters to all of their learning styles. We sacrificed nothing. In fact, the experience was so enriching that it enhanced my entire program throughout the year.”

— Cohort Participant in 2016

“As I reflect on this experience, this unit is one of the achievements I am most proud of in my teaching career. The unit was student-driven and differentiated. Students were proud of their work and were self-motivated and engaged. The unit was both relevant and authentic, and students had a sense of purpose. Not a single one asked what their grade was, as it didn’t matter. They knew they made a difference and they felt honored.”

— Cohort Participant in 2017

Read more testimonials and perspectives on this great professional learning opportunity in the following posts:

Fellowship Program details

Saving the World with NGSS & PBL (this fellowship program was called SMELC from 2015-2019)

Target Grade Levels: TK/K-5 and 6-12

Subjects: Science

Stipend Amount: $750

Requirements:

  • 4-Day Summer Institute: June 17-20, 2019
  • Design and Implement an NGSS aligned Problem-Based-Learning Unit that Culminates with Solutionary Action and Advocacy
  • Capstone Presentation: January 2020
  • Partnership with one community partner

Application: Apply Here Now!

Creating a Waste Free Future with PBL

Target Grade Levels: TK/K-12

Stipend Amount: $500

Requirements:

  • 3-Day Summer Institute: Week of July 29 - August 1, 2019
  • Design a standards aligned Problem-Based-Learning Unit focused around solving the greatest challenge facing the waste system.
  • Implement & Measure Impact
  • Capstone Presentation: January 2020

Application: Apply Here Now!

Target Grade Levels: TK/K-12

Subjects: All Subject Areas

Stipend Amount: $500

Requirements:

  • 3-Day Summer Institute: June 24-26, 2019
  • Design and Implement a Problem-Based-Learning Unit focused around energy issues, that Culminates with Solutionary Action and Advocacy
  • Capstone Presentation: January 2020
  • Partnership with One Community Partner

Application: Apply Here Now!

Target Grade Levels: TK/K-12

Subjects: All Subject Areas

Stipend Amount: $500

Requirements:

  • 3-Day Summer Institute: June 26-28, 2019
  • Design and Implement a Problem-Based-Learning Unit focused on water topics, that Culminates with Solutionary Action and Advocacy
  • Capstone Presentation: January 2020
  • Partnership with One Community Partner

Application: Apply Here Now!