Santa Cruz County Teacher Leadership Institute for Sustainability

Program Overview

The Teacher Leadership Institute for Sustainability is an innovative professional learning program supporting TK-12 teachers to integrate environmental sustainability within their classroom curriculum and engage students in action projects at school or in their communities. The program is open to all content areas. 

Applications are now open for the 2024-25 Cohort. See program details and apply here.

Program Components

The Institute is structured to include the following elements to support individual professional learning and collective growth and development within an inspiring teaching and learning community.

Program Impacts & Testimonials

99% of participants report an increase in their capacity to integrate environmental sustainability within classroom curriculum

96% of participants report connecting with local community partners for support of outdoor learning and stewardship action projects

99% of participants report classrooms taking action on environmental issues relevant to their students

"This program gave me what I have been looking for in the field of sustainability, a way to give students hope and empower them to make change."  -- High School Teacher Participant"My highlight was definitely seeing the engagement and focus of my students significantly increase."   -- 7th Grade Teacher Participant “The environmental work that Santa Cruz teachers are doing with their students  is not only sustainable, it  is inspiring! Our students are becoming caretakers of the Earth; this work fills me with a sense of hope!. I have a new perspective on teaching and a renewed sense of purpose as an educator”-- 6th Grade Teacher Participant “This institute provides a rare opportunity to collaborate in-depth with some of the most engaged, motivated, and knowledgeable educators. I came away motivated and reenergized to bring great, meaningful environmental experiences into the classroom” -- 3rd Grade Teacher Participant"This institute has inspired and invigorated me. I’ve gotten so many good ideas and a network of like minded educators."  -- 1st Grade Teacher Participant"This program guided me through planning and implementation of a meaningful project with my students. I feel both more connection to educators and resources in the community and with my own self as an environmental educator."-- Kindergarten Teacher Participant

Program Support: Facilitators, Partners and Mentors

Amity Sandage: Program Lead

Monterey Bay Science Project

Bird School Project

California State Parks

Coastal Watershed Council

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Regeneracion: Pajaro Valley Climate Action

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Save the Redwoods League

Save our Shores

UCSC History & Civics Project

Watsonville Wetlands Watch