The Solutionary Teacher Fellowship has Been Serving Teachers for 9 Years!

The Environmental Solutionary Teacher Fellowship (ESTF) is a knowledge-to-action program that builds teacher capacity for designing and delivering learning experiences that are student-centered, problem-project-based, solutions-oriented, and integrate real-world environmental justice issues.

Applications for the 10th anniversary cohort of the Environmental Solutionary Teacher Fellowship are now open until June 1, 2024 and can be found on the ! 

Fellows who complete all requirements are eligible for a stipend (see below). Fellows may participate in one of two capacities: 

  • First-Time Fellow: First year participant ($1,000 stipend)

  • Senior Fellow: Return participant - transition to instructional leader to serve as a coach and mentor to First-Time Fellows ($1,500 stipend)

Intended outcomes of this program include the following:

  • Deeper understanding of the intersection between environmental, social, and economic issues.

  • Confidence and ability to successfully use student-centered learning strategies (inquiry, systems thinking, civic engagement, project-based learning, etc.), which increase student engagement and comprehension.

  • Tools and resources to make an impact in your school community, including connection with and access to funding for resources, field trips, and more.

  • Special focus this year is on English-Language Arts and ways to incorporate environmental literacy strategies in all subject areas!

Program Pathways and Requirements

The Environmental Solutionary Teacher Fellowship is built around four key elements of professional learning: Knowledge, Action, Accountability and Reflection, and Connection to Partners. These elements are based on research (and feedback from the past eight years of implementation) of what leads to successful outcomes in the classroom. Each of these elements and how they show up in this program are outlined below.

Program Elements

  • Knowledge: Foundational knowledge and skill building for environmental literacy, climate literacy, and solutionary teaching and learning is at the heart of the teacher fellowship program. Throughout the program, hands-on experiential learning workshops blend content knowledge development and training on solutionary teaching strategies.
  • Action: This part of the program is focused around teachers putting knowledge and skills into action by developing and implementing Solutionary Units of Study. During this phase, teachers are paired with an instructional coach who provides guided implementation support on planning, implementing solutionary teaching strategies, and evaluating student outcomes.
  • Accountability and Reflection: A critical key element of the program is accountability and reflection. This happens both formatively through discussions in the cohort-based community of practice, as well as summatively through case study reflections and oral presentations.
  • Connection to Partners: A final important component of a high-quality solutionary unit is engaging with local community-based partners that can provide hands-on and place-based learning, as well as supplemental curriculum partners who can help to enhance and enrich the overall learning experience.

Program Success and Testimonials

Since the start of this fellowship in 2015-16, more than 400 teachers have learned what environmental literacy is and how to do it — while also meeting the standards and fostering students' engagement and academic success. The program continues to be incredibly successful for empowering teachers - more than 90% of teacher fellows reported that the program was critical to their success and/or enhanced their ability to teach and engage students in the 2022-23 school year.

95% of participants report very high to extreme satisfaction with institutes and workshops

95% of teachers report that they will teach their solutionary unit again in future years.

96% would participate in additional fellowship programs, and 96% would recommend it to colleagues.

"This fellowship program took me from a 1-2 ft. understanding of solutionary teaching to what now feels like a 50 ft. understanding. Not only was the training itself interesting and engaging, but the wealth of materials and resources shared made the whole process feel doable right from the start. I learned so much and I felt inspired throughout the whole experience, especially while working on the lessons with my students. I am so glad I joined!"

— Cohort Participant in 2022-23

"This program guides teachers to more authentic and action-based teaching. I love the passion that the fellows have - this is an inspirational group to be a part of."

— Cohort Participant in 2021-22

"I found this to be the best professional development that I have participated in. The organization and resources in these programs are invaluable. Even though I felt overwhelmed at times, I also felt very supported. I came away with a solutionary unit of study that I will use year after year and share with my colleagues."

— Cohort Participant in 2020-21

"I've always wanted to incorporate more PBL into my teaching, but was always very intimidated and overwhelmed by it. I LOVE the structure that was provided by this program because it very clearly defined the steps and strategies. I will definitely incorporate this style of teaching into my class more often. Empowering my students to think of solutions on both small and large scale issues has been so motivating."

— Cohort Participant in 2020-21 

Full-length Testimonials from Teachers

  • 2022-2023:
  • 2019-20:
  • 2018-19:
  • 2018-19: Connecting Curriculum and Standards to Teach 51勛圖 Healthy Habitats and

Full-length Testimonials from Coaches and Community Partners

  • 2020-21:

  • 2019-20:

Teachers gather around a table to complete an activityA presenter introduces a hands-on activityTeachers gather outside for an activity

Case Study Examples from Program Alumni

Looking for inspiration on how to integrate sustainability into your grade level or subject area? Check out our past fellow case studies below.

2022-2023

2021-2022

2020-2021

Sand Hill Foundation logo
Ten Strands logo
SFUSD logo
San Mateo County Office of Sustainability logo
Peninsula Clean Energy logo

Julie Hilborn

Coordinator, Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Email: jhilborn@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5406

May Tran

Administrative Assistant III

Email: mtran@smcoe.org

Phone: 650-802-5561