Scorcard® in the Schools
Three Tulsa-area public high schools were given a yearlong membership to Sustainable Tulsa’s Scor3card® program. The schools chosen were Union High School, Booker T. Washington High School, and Tulsa MET High School. For each of these schools, 3-4 teachers were designated as program leads and were paid stipends for their time and commitment. We expected teachers to develop a classroom or afterschool program curriculum that encouraged sustainability action in their students and incorporated Scor3card® into their schools.
These schools were chosen because they make up a diverse sample. Each school serves a different demographic of students, both socio-economically and geographically. Also, the schools represent multiple different disciplines in pedagogy. For example, the Tulsa MET High School specializes in project-based learning, while Booker T. Washington follows a magnet method. By conducting the pilot with this group of schools, we were able to see diverse applications of our program in their school environment.
- Each school would complete the Scor3card® Cornerstones
- Each school would design an afterschool program that engages students with Scor3card®
- Host guest speakers from the sustainable community
- Spend at least 50 hours on this program during the 2018-19 school year
School Leads were required to submit reports periodically through the school year. These are their results:
All schools preferred more time in the program and would want to continue if we offered a second term.
Approximately 577 high school students were engaged in this program across the 3 schools.
All schools showed in-classroom and extracurricular use of the Scor3card® in developing student interested in sustainability.
Each school was provided $2,000 for their teachers’ classrooms. Also, teachers spend about 10-20 hours per month on this program and were compensated for their extra time.
While our participating teachers said that the pay for their involvement in the program was adequate, they would have liked more teachers to be able to participate in the program to drive a school-wide campaign.
When asked what their biggest accomplishments were in the program, most of our program leads referred to their students’ and fellow faculty’s new understanding of their impacts through their daily actions. Students at Union felt they had some say in the direction that their school was going. Teachers at Booker T. Washington felt as though their colleagues came around to make more sustainable choices.
Booker T. Washington High School
At Booker T. Washington High School, teachers reached out to TPS District administration to have more access to benchmarking information that depicted resource usage at their school. Through access to this information, they were able to better understand their school’s individual impact.
Also, teachers were able to get a better grasp on what was district-controlled and what they could control. By separating these responsibilities, they were able to develop programs for their own school to supplement where the district fell behind. Their school’s National Honor Society took responsibility of their school wide recycling program. Learning that the district’s recycling hauler didn’t cover all recyclables they were disposing of, the students stepped up to take the refuse to their nearby M.e.t.
Tulsa MET High School
As an alternative school, the Tulsa MET High School has the flexibility to engage their students in sustainability in a non-conventional way. Many of their students participate in internships with nearby schools and businesses to learn trade skills. Through their involvement with Scor3card® in the Schools, their students began managing the recycling programs at the schools and businesses they interned with. This group included Scor3card® member AAON, a Tulsa Police Department station, and Hamilton Elementary School.
Also, teachers involved in the program were able to invest into their school garden and outdoor classroom. They’re planning on using program funds to build a Monarch butterfly garden. When they build this garden over the summer, they plan on inviting students and neighbors to help out.
Union High School
Union High School students had multiple opportunities to interact meaningfully with the Scor3card® programs, their school administrators, and faculty. In their Scor3card® club afterschool, they would review the Scor3card® and identify what activities were approachable for their school. Next, they would meet with Union administration and open a dialogue through which the students would have their concerns and suggestions heard by the district wide decision maker. Some incredible changes came out of this meeting. For example, when talking with their head of maintenance, students wanted to know why leaks in the roof weren’t serviced quickly. The leaks were affecting their HVAC efficiency and indoor air quality. The maintenance man then shared that he would have more time to handle leaks if students weren’t continuously vandalizing the bathrooms. That student group then decided to pivot their efforts to develop an anti-vandalism campaign to free up their maintenance department’s time to handle roof leaks.
Also, Union High School students attended and participated on a panel at the 2019 TCC Conference for Sustainability. During their panel, they spoke about being able to feel like changemakers to the culture and administration at their school. The students described feeling empowered and aware of career options they weren’t aware of before this program.