Monday, January 19, 2015

What do Arizona School Administrators want regarding sustainability

The EfS team recently completed a survey of Arizona school administrators (with the gracious help of ASA) to determine how we could best support them in integrating sustainability into curricula and operations. We got roughly 25 responses (not everyone answered every question) mostly during a meeting with 60-70 administrators in attendance.)

In a nutshell, there was not a strong interest in attending a workshop themselves, but a great deal of support for teacher training on the topic.

Familiarity versus Importance

You can see from the chart below that the Administrators as a group are somewhat familiar with sustainability (blue bars) and they believe the importance of embedding it into schools (red bars) rates higher than their familiarity.

Learning needs

This chart below shows that the highest rated areas they wanted to learn about were:
  • Why it's important to teach sustainability
  • How to embed it into all classes (not just science or STEM)
  • What model schools are doing

We interpret this as the schools being in the toe-testing "Incubator" phase, wanting to learn more but not ready to commit significant time or resources.

Support needed

This next chart shows the support the administrators thought would be most helpful for their schools:
  • Sample lesson plans and materials
  • Training for teachers
  • Guest speakers

The request for sample lesson plans is interesting because there is actually a plethora of materials available on the web. However the administrators and teachers may not know where to find them. Also we have found that just providing materials is insufficient. Teachers need a chance to see the activities in action and integrate them with their existing curricula.

We are currently following this up with a Teacher Survey to get more detailed input from them regarding what they need and want.

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