Sustainability

  • The District is committed to operating in a way that promotes sustainability and encourages activities that promote the efficient use of resources.  As part of its extensive facilities modernization, the district added considerable solar power that generated well over a third of the district's electrical needs.  During the 2017-2018 school year the district has a goal of reducing overall electric use by at least twenty-five percent.  The district is also engaged in numerous other sustainability initiatives in the areas of water use, recycling, and hazardous materials. 

    We believe that sustainability efforts help us achieve four important things.  First, they mean that we use our financial resources more efficiently.  Second sustainability helps us reduce our carbon footprint.  Third, we can educate our students on how to save their own money and that of their families through appropriate use of resources, and finally, we provide an example of how to act sustainable to our students through our actions and activities.

  • June 21, 2021: SMUHSD Recognized with SMCOE 2021 Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools (SCRS) Challenge Award

    The San Mateo County Office of Education recently announced in June 2021 that SMUHSD was one of 20 stand-out leaders who received a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools (SCRS) Challenge award for innovative sustainability efforts during the 2020-21 school year.  In 2020-21, SMUHSD took action to build community and collaboration on sustainability issues, ensuring that all schools incrementally incorporate the environment into the whole school (campus, curriculum, community, and culture).

    This year's actions build upon the district-wide action on zero waste led by Mills High School student Lilian Chang and Independent Studies Teacher Aiko Michot. Together with Superintendent Dr. Skelly, and many other green champions, the district launched a Sustainability Committee. This committee has several outcomes this year: 

    • Successful advocacy campaign and unanimous passage of SMUHSD Declaration of Climate Emergency by SMUHSD Board of Trustees.  The resolution addresses green buildings, operations and transportation, food service, climate literacy, waste management, and goals for net-zero. This campaign was led by SMUHSD students (also Youth Commissioners): Atiya Shah, Maram Ahmed, and Lillian Chang.

    • Implementation of a district-wide model for sustainability leadership to support communication and bridging the divide between student action items and district priorities. This included the identification of a District Sustainability Coordinator and the hiring of Site Sustainability Facilitators at each school. 

    • SMUHSD partnered with San Mateo County Office of Education's Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative to complete a comprehensive Sustainable and Climate Resilient (SCRS) Baseline Assessment. This process involved synthesizing the current status of sustainability efforts in campus, curriculum, and community engagement at all school sites. This assessment has helped build a common language for sustainability efforts, and is a launching point for further strategic planning efforts. 

    Learn more about SMUHSD's efforts.

    Read the SMCOE press release.

    April 1, 2021: Declaration of Climate Emergency

    After months of writing and perfecting a Climate Emergency Declaration, SMUHSD students presented the resolution to the Board of Trustees on April 1. It was approved unanimously. 

    What does this mean: As per the resolution, the District will create a climate action plan tackling areas including:

    • Green Buildings
    • Transportation, and
    • Clean Energy

    This creates a myriad of opportunities to drive sustainable change and keep SMUHSD accountable for its actions. Our District will serve as an example for others across the county and state!

In the News

  • Meet the Students Who Got San Mateo County High Schools to Declare a Climate Emergency

    "Atiya Shah, a senior at San Mateo High School and chair of the youth commission's Environmental Justice Committee, lives in City of Foster City, where residents in 2018 voted to tax themselves in order to reengineer an eight-mile earthen wall, the only thing standing between them and San Francisco Bay.

    Shah says she was motivated by the threat. “This is how climate change is showing up in my life. Time is of the essence," she said. "If we don't take action now, things are moving at such a fast rate that it's really going to affect our future. And people don't recognize that.”

    Read the May 4, 2021 KQED article.

School Site Sustainability Facilitators

  • Back in January, the District put a call out seeking "Sustainability Warriors" at each of the school sites. Interested staff members needed to possess a deep interest in supporting the District's work in environmental stewardship at the site level. The role of the Sustainability Facilitators - with regard to environmental sustainability - is to promote awareness, encourage program participation, and foster an environmental sustainability conscious atmosphere at the designated site. 
     
    We asked the below staff members why they wanted to take on this new role:
     
    Silvia Beas, Capuchino High School
    I found a lot of value in taking this role as Site Sustainability Facilitator at Capuchino. With our students learning from home this year, I wanted to be able to serve as a supporting point person between our school's Environmental Club and our District Sustainability Committee. I look forward to what we'll achieve in the next year! 

    Lindsey Danehower, Mills High School
    I was so excited when the position of Site Sustainability Facilitator came up! My lifelong passion is for the environment and sustainable living, so it was the perfect fit for me. I'm really excited to finally have the opportunity to implement some of the ideas I've been thinking about since I started working here over three years ago. I can't wait to see some 'Green changes' on our campuses-coming soon.
     
    Dave Emmanuel, Hillsdale High School
    I took on this role because I love the outdoors and want us all to take action on the climate crisis!

    Bethany Li, Burlingame High School
    It's our responsibility to respect and protect this beautiful planet. Interested in improving your trash sorting habits? Watch the May 26 virtual waste management facility tour with staff from Recology San Mateo County