Description of NPDES Stormwater Education Services
Sustainability Ambassadors has developed a suite of stormwater education services and resources in partnership with the Tahoma School District and the City of Maple Valley with funding support from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. The services described below are organized around three objectives:
OBJECTIVE 1: Benchmark improvements in knowledge and behavior at the community level.
Stormwater Systems Thinking Seminars
Deliver Stormwater Systems Thinking Seminars to selected grade levels (5-12) with pre and post online survey to benchmark knowledge change at the individual level. The Stormwater Systems Thinking Seminar is a two-day series that integrates three action-oriented frameworks that support teachers in using primary source materials to catalyze project-based learning aligned with the Common Core State Standards across multiple disciplines: (1) stormwater pollution, (2) stormwater solutions and (3) stewardship actions.
The 2-day Seminar set is interactive, face-paced and playful, integrating PowerPoint slides (with very little text), storytelling and facilitated inquiry. Students explore a series of big maps to understand their place in the bioregion and examine the interplay between the natural and built environment through an analysis of historical patterns and future trends. The seminar introduces the use of primary source materials including policy frameworks and performance measures to make conceptual content relevant to students’ lives. Tailored for grades 5-12, the seminar serves three block periods or five regular sections. The first day immerses students in system inquiries and the second day follows up with system solutions. It’s ideal to schedule 2-3 days of student research between each day of the seminar series.
Snapshot is a 20-minute, Web-based, in-class survey in which students take a “snapshot” of their household’s environmental behavior. The survey is completed anonymously, enabling students to analyze grouped data within or beyond their home community. The data is immediately available to teachers who support students in applying inquiry and systems thinking skills to address community conditions where the data reveals the greatest need. Snapshot is fully aligned with the King County Environmental Behavior Index,
Because Snapshot is standardized acorns King County, local governments can improve decision making by accessing anonymous Snapshot data and allocating resources to address priority needs. By integrating household data and student learning, local governments can support constituents’ environmental stewardship while allocating scarce resources wisely. And as governments improve the transparency of these activities, student projects increasingly align with jurisdictional goals.
STAR Community Sustainability Profiles
Publish STAR Community Sustainability Profiles for King County cities and school districts with a focus on stormwater management and green building. Profiles are aligned with the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s first voluntary, self-reporting system for measuring progress on sustainable community conditions, created by and for local governments.
The STAR program includes: (1) a framework for diagnosing the social, economic and environmental attributes of communities, (2) a measurement rubric for outcomes and actions across 7 goal areas that include 44 objectives, and (3) a rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters a race to the top. Sustainability Ambassadors uses STAR as a framework for developing profiles as well as for identifying primary source materials such as local sustainability indicators, comp plans, green team work plans, annual reports, policy frameworks, and visionary initiatives, to integrate in the core curriculum. At the same time, we are educating our local government and business partners on the value of adopting the STAR framework to drive professional learning and collective impact. We believe that shared measurement systems are critical for demonstrating real progress across generations and community sectors.
Coordinate Neighborhood Workshops with pre and post surveys to benchmark behavior change at the homeowner level. Workshops are curriculum based and co-facilitated by student leaders. Sustainability Ambassadors support city/school partnerships in co-hosting annual workshops based on school neighborhood boundaries. Workshops are curriculum-based and seek to engage new parents and families through school networks including student Green Team efforts, the Principal’s newsletter, the PTA, and local Home Owner Associations. The goal is to empower all family members with simple and specific actions that they can take at home to help reduce the impacts of polluted stormwater runoff. A pre and post survey process measures awareness and behavior change using the Stormwater Neighborhood Workshop as an explicit intervention to meet NPDES requirements.
OBJECTIVE 2: Build community capacity around a common agenda, shared measurement systems and mutually reinforcing activities.
Community Sustainability Summit
The Community Sustainability Summit is an annual convening of stakeholders from across
generations and sectors to report data-driven progress on STAR community
objectives. Participants use sector benchmark data to identify gaps and
prioritize joint stewardship projects based on the following criteria: (1) the
selected project is the easiest thing to accomplish in 12 months, (2) it
engages the greatest number and diversity of people, and (3) it generates the
biggest measurable impact on sustainability community conditions.
Initiate CommonAgenda software and coaching to support coalition communications, collaboration, and shared work planning through a curated online environment for distributed (anytime and anywhere) interaction.
OBJECTIVE 3: Integrate school and community learning to measurably improve community conditions.
Project Design Lab
Facilitate a 3-day Project Design Lab convening secondary level educators (grades 6-12), city staff, student leaders and community champions to develop project-based learning units that align with community goals. The Project Design Lab provides professional development opportunities for secondary-level educators and selected leadership students, along with their counterparts in local government, green businesses and nonprofits, to integrate real-world primary source curriculum material into existing or new units of instruction. Snapshot benchmark data and STAR Community Profiles are used to drive a problem-based approach to learning based on real data from the community integrating civics, science and engineering concepts. Using primary source material such as local sustainability indicators, comp plans, green team work plans, annual reports, policy frameworks, and visionary initiatives, ensures that learning about real work, doing real work and measuring impact become the foundation for 21st Century learning. Student motivation for academic excellence increases as rigor and relevance align in the classroom. Students understand that the quality of their research and the effectiveness of the projects they design has direct and measurable impact on community conditions.
Stormwater Curriculum Units
Identify potential entry points for pre-existing Stormwater Curriculum Units developed by the Tahoma School District and provide in-service as needed. Tahoma School District is a regional leader in integrating sustainability education and has developed stormwater related curriculum units at grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Sustainability Ambassadors, in partnership with the Pacific Education Institute can provide in-service, classroom modeling, and resource upgrades as needed.
Stormwater Neighborhood Atlas
Adapt the Stormwater Neighborhood Atlas for local geography, provide in-service for classroom teachers, and coordinate community distribution. In collaboration with the King County GIS Center and the Tahoma School District, Sustainability Ambassadors has produced a stunning Atlas intended to be experienced as a work of art, one with as little text as possible so that each person is free to follow their own curiosity. The Atlas improves geographic literacy, inspires systems thinking, raises awareness about stormwater pollution solutions, and informs student projects and local decision making.
The Atlas is available for Tahoma schools, public libraries, city government, and a host of other community groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lake Wilderness Arboretum Society, SHADOW, Home Owner Associations, gardening clubs and others. The Tahoma Atlas will also be distributed to casual community meeting places such as in doctor and dentist waiting rooms, Starbucks, and in the lobbies of other participating businesses such as realtors, insurance agents and tax accountants.
The Stormwater Neighborhood Atlas is designed in modular units for replication in other cities and school districts.
LID Manual for Schools
Adapted from the LID Manual for Puget Sound developed by the WSU Puyallup Stormwater Research Center and the Puget Sound Partnership, our LID Manual for Schools is a curriculum-based engineering and science guide for how to construct and maintain green infrastructure. The manual also features a glossary of terms, aerial photos and black-line footprints of each school, plus an extended set of plant identification cards. The Manual is designed in modular units for replication in other cities and school districts.
Video Library and Production Services
Provide video production services to document and disseminate key issues and trend updates. Sustainability Ambassadors has partnered with the Tahoma High School Video Production Department to produce a series of short educational videos on LID demonstration projects plus special focus topics such as the Chemistry of Stormwater, Stormwater Career Path Stories and a Virtual Tour of the Washington Stormwater Center. These videos will be released throughout the 2013-2014 school year to support both classroom and community learning.
Sustainability Ambassadors is also available on a contract basis for producing additional educational videos on sustainability topics of critical interest to our partners.