Environmental Education in California – Ezequiel Tafoya Alvardo Academy

Environmental Education in California – Ezequiel Tafoya Alvardo Academy



located in the heart of California's Central Valley the EFTA a charter school takes its name and inspiration from pioneering Latino educator and activist Ezekiel Tafoya Alvarado the high-scoring K through eight Academy in Madera is surrounded by flourishing agriculture in the nearby Sierra Nevadas and provides academic excellence with a very special emphasis study well and look after the environment with that focus the state's landmark California Education and the environment initiative EEI curriculum has proven to be an important resource for all ETA a teachers I think the overriding mission of our campus is that we produce children who take pride in their achievements and when I say achievements I'm looking at academically but I also want kids who are good human beings we have three very basic beliefs a TTA a number one we want our kids to always do the best number two we want our kids to be good citizens and the third one the more the one that I think has a nice fit with EEI is that we want people to take care of their environment so we really believe in the environment as being a part of the laboratory setting for a good educational background and a foundation for kids to be able to understand that my environments important I need to take care of the earth I need to relish the fact that we have flowers I need to be able to smell the roses I need to be able to look at birds at this school we actually encourage our kids to take nature walks we go on field trips to the river we like to go to the lake we go visit Yosemite we really do try to incorporate AEI principles and everything that we do I start one of our basic tenets here at ETA with over nine acres of gardens a nature trail and more than 300 trees on-site planted by families and community volunteers the Academy is also a federally certified schoolyard habitat for wildlife fruit is deliberately left undisturbed to feed the birds butterflies and other wildlife that are attracted to the gardens with the EEI students get a solid foundation inside the classroom then apply what they've learned outside and elsewhere in their lives the EEI curriculum is so vocabulary rich the students learn it and they don't realize that they're using it it was actually a semester later that one of my students I ever heard him use the word sediment in a regular science curriculum which is something that he had learned the previous semester and I was very impressed with that the EEI curriculum helps me really to motivate the students because the teacher that's one of the hardest things to do to get him wanting to do things and the EEI makes it they can make connections to it to real life so they use a vocabulary that comes with it without really knowing it they don't know that it's learning is taking place they're having their discussions and they're not realizing that they're picking up new vocabulary with it the EEI curriculum offers a rich selection of both science and history social studies units that support common core standards and skills development many teachers appreciate the curriculums flexibility as a teacher my favorite thing about the EEI is that you have units available online for whenever I want to use them whether I want to add it as a supplement to my curriculum or just replace a section of my curriculum it's available it has visuals it has student editions here student workbooks teacher editions and it's all free at ETA a charter school learning science and history social studies through an environmental lens with AEI is helping to create the scientists and civic leaders of tomorrow we have kids who leave here and or the high schools they get involved in clubs they do civic things that are involved in cleanups around the city of Madera I want children who look at the world through a different lens you are part of this wonderful organic cycle of livelihood that occurs every single day in your life don't be ashamed to be a part of it and we want our kids to know that so I think being at ETA with our butterfly gardens and our nature trail and the curriculum that we have to things of that nature it all encompasses this well-rounded kid that I want to graduate from ETA a so it works I hope that my students not only learn to be good citizens and are academically strong but also that they care about the things around them versus the environment that is something essential for our own living for our survival if they learn about what harms it and what is good for it they will be in charge of managing that so if they're well-prepared for it that is a very good thing not only for us for my kids you know one a movie also no that doesn't affect their descendants in the future

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