The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Milwaukee Public Schools, and other Wisconsin-based climate and educational organizations partner with nonprofit SubjectToClimate to launch the Wisconsin Climate Education Hub
In March 2020, the state’s largest school district became the first school district in the state to pass a resolution designed to bring attention to climate change and develop an action plan for the district. Milwaukee Public Schools’ resolution affirms that schools should lead in modeling climate-conscious and environmentally friendly practices. As part of this resolution, a Climate Justice Curriculum Advisory Committee and a District Sustainability Team were created, which formalized and expanded support for green initiatives in MPS, including establishing a climate justice instructional coach staff position to support classroom educators.
In late 2022, the DPI and MPS began collaborating on the curation of resources for climate justice education and developed a partnership with SubjectToClimate, a nonprofit online connector for K-12 educators of all subjects to find credible and engaging materials on climate change at no cost.
Victoria Rydberg-Nania, environmental education consultant at the Wisconsin DPI says, “SubjectToClimate’s vetting process for resources provides us with the confidence to know that what we are putting into the hands of educators is scientifically-based and educationally sound.”
A customized Wisconsin Hub houses all the resources from SubjectToClimate’s core database (e.g. lesson plans, readings and curricular materials), but each resource is aligned to Wisconsin Academic Standards. In fact, the search function allows educators to filter their results by specific standards. This customization makes it that much more convenient for Wisconsin teachers to find a resource that meets their exact needs. The Hub also includes links to both general and Wisconsin-specific professional learning opportunities.
The Hub and its resources will help Wisconsin educators to implement Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability, which were adopted in 2018. The Environmental Literacy Standards emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to environmental education and tie sustainability education and climate literacy in with the Wisconsin Academic Standards.
In addition to The Hub’s initial launch, SubjectToClimate is training a cohort of MPS eachers to publish Wisconsin-centric exemplar lesson plans on The Hub. This training is led by SubjectToClimate and MPS’ Climate Justice Instructional Coach Kimberly Talarico.
Margaret Wang, COO of SubjectToClimate, notes, "The more that we integrate climate change across subjects, as discussed in the Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability, the better understanding students will have of climate change, justice, and ultimately action." The aim of both the Hub and the training is to “provide educators the means to do so, so that they can inspire climate action among their students.”
Access the Wisconsin Climate Education Hub at TeachWisconsinClimate.org.