JOIN THE CORPS
Are you a natural leader? Are you are passionate about nature, building community, social justice, the environment, elementary education, science, and/or public service? We're looking for recent college graduates who share these passions to join our growing Corps for Education Outside—the nation's first-ever science-and-sustainability service corps. We're looking for gutsy, energetic folks with a positive attitude and a can-do spirit. We're looking for independent self-starters who also understand the value of teamwork. Most of all, we're looking for bright, passionate young people who are ready to dedicate two years of their lives to service.
Each Corps member is assigned to a public elementary school in San Francisco for a two-year term of service. San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is a large, ethnically diverse district, with many English-language learners and a high percentage of low-income children. We serve schools all across the city. Some of our schools are language-immersion programs, where instruction is given in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Korean as well as in English.
This is a full-time position starting in July, when we begin training, and ending in May at the end of the school year. Mondays through Thursdays are dedicated to teaching in the outdoor classroom at your school site and building relationships so as to guide sustainability efforts within the community; Fridays are reserved for school site administration, peer collaboration, and mandatory (and fun!) professional development trainings. There are occasional extended and weekend hours dedicated to community building, schoolyard workdays, and community events. As a Corps member, you will serve on your own at your school site, working to become part of the school and staff community. But you will also be part of a Corps for Education Outside cohort, which means you'll have a posse of peers with whom to learn and grow.
In 2003, 2006, and 2011, San Francisco voters approved a school facilities bond to bring public school buildings into Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Education Outside helped to secure a portion of these funds for the design and construction of green schoolyards. Thanks to this Proposition A bond program, all elementary schools and most middle and high schools within San Francisco Unified School District have, or will receive, funds to create a vibrant green schoolyard and outdoor classroom space at their site.
Corps members may work to steward and enhance the bond work that has already been done on site or ensure the bond's successful implementation, depending on the stage of the project. This might mean creating an edible garden from scratch, determining what elements are necessary to make the space an outdoor classroom, or procuring tools. Get ready to get your hands dirty!
The Corps member position is demanding and has many moving parts. Corps members must have a passion for and understanding of what it means to serve and a passion for social justice. Members must possess extraordinary professionalism, maturity, optimism, and organizational skills. Corps members must also be strong leaders and communicators in order to effectively build relationships and organize school communities in and around new environmental initiatives and model exemplary outdoor teaching. While each Corps member is part of a very supportive and collaborative network of educators and is supported by Education Outside staff, much of a Corps member's on-site work requires a high degree of self-reliance, confidence, and initiative. Corps members must possess in their nature the desire to go above and beyond what is required, to anticipate community needs, and to constantly seek out opportunities to address these needs. Working with elementary-aged kids and complex school communities is not for the faint of heart, so you should be flexible, able to think on your feet, and know when to stand firm and when to go with the flow.
The Corps member job encompasses three primary areas: outdoor education, sustainability, and leadership development.
I. Outdoor Education
Corps members will curate and teach standards-based science curriculum in the on-site outdoor classroom; plant, harvest, and cook food in the garden; and involve the school community in caring for the space. Corps members will also promote ecoliteracy-oriented professional development (PD) and field trip opportunities among classroom teachers. Corps members will:
- Work with students and the community to create, maintain, and improve the outdoor classroom.
- Procure supplies for the outdoor classroom.
- Work with classroom teachers and site administration to create an outdoor classroom teaching schedule.
- Curate and teach science-based lessons in the outdoor classroom in accordance with the Education Outside Lesson Pathway as well as other curriculum sources.
- Plan for and coordinate planting, harvesting, cooking, and eating in the garden with students.
- Model best outdoor classroom teaching practices for classroom teachers.
- Work with school community to build and maintain an effective base of support for the program.
- Introduce classroom teachers to the benefits of experiential and place-based learning through the promotion of and recruitment to ecoliteracy-related PD and field trips.
- Coordinate occasional PD workshops at school sites.
- Ensure ecoliteracy-related news, events, and updates are disseminated to school staff and community members in a consistent and timely manner.
II. Sustainability Practices
Corps members will promote energy efficiency, water conservation, alternative transportation, and waste reduction through curriculum-based lessons in the outdoor classroom as well as through on-site community collaboration and stakeholder-based behavior change campaigns. Corps members will:
- Perform an informal audit of sustainability efforts at their site in order to understand current initiatives.
- Work with the school district's Director of Sustainability to review overall operations at school sites and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Cultivate and support site-based Green Teams composed of staff, parents/guardians, and students.
- Increase waste diversion by initiating, reinvigorating, and/or expanding the Food to Flowers composting program.
- Encourage alternative modes of school commuting in coordination with school community and/or the Safe Routes to School program.
- Teach energy, water, and waste-related curriculum in the outdoor classroom and make connections to sustainability efforts on campus.
- Support opportunities to reduce utility use via Shared Savings program.
III. Leadership Development
Corps members will be involved in ongoing training and professional development throughout their term of service. Corps members will:
- Build internal capacity for schoolyard-based education and sustainability at their school sites over their two-year term of service.
- Demonstrate active leadership at their school sites, engaging the community in schoolyard-based education and sustainability.
- Learn to collaborate with diverse groups such as parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, Education Outside staff, the school district, and other Corps members.
- Participate and engage in Boot Camp and Friday trainings.
- Be expected to test new knowledge and skills at their school sites daily.
- Be expected to rise to the challenges that await them in the urban public school environment.
- Develop skills to become dynamic outdoor educators in science and garden-based activities.
Track and Showcase All Outdoor Classroom and School Greening Activities
Corps members will serve as ambassadors for the program by documenting and sharing their work with Education Outside, future Corps members, school communities, and the public. Corps members will:
- Learn to communicate effectively about Education Outside and work to spread awareness of the program and its components.
- Effectively document and disseminate teaching and learning in the outdoor classroom through photos, video, blogging, newsletters, and print materials.
- Input lessons taught into an online curriculum tracker called the Root Cellar.
- Create and manage program displays at school using bulletin boards, newsletters, and other communication vehicles.
- Provide feedback to Education Outside staff in order to continually refine the Corps member program.
- Participate in and collaborate with the larger school garden and green schoolyard community.
The successful candidate will possess:
- College degree
- Experience teaching and working in urban areas and with groups of students, especially ages 5-12
- Background working with children and adults from diverse backgrounds
- Personal commitment to social justice
- Previous experience effecting behavior change within communities
- Previous work in public schools (a plus) or other educational setting
- Previous experience with environmental education and/or gardening or farming
- Comfort speaking in front of crowds and working with groups
- Competency in a second language (especially Chinese or Spanish)
- Ability to thrive in an environment that is characterized by significant growth, diversity, and constant change
- Ability to handle ambiguity, juggle many tasks at once, and quickly shift from one situation or task to another
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
- Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
- Strong computer skills, proficiency in MS Word, Excel, and Google Apps
- Passionate commitment to Education Outside's mission and vision
- Must pass district-mandated background tests and fingerprinting
- Commitment to the two-year program
- Ability to lift 30 lbs or more
Corps members receive an experience that both challenges and rewards. Members gain lifelong friendships, a deep understanding of the public education system, exposure to a new and fast growing field of education, and a sense of fulfillment because of their commitment of two years of service in San Francisco. Corps members receive a stipend of $25,000, plus medical, dental, and vision insurance for each yearly term of service, as well as extensive hours of paid professional development throughout their experience.
How to apply
Please visit our website for more information on the Corps for Education Outside. Download this job description as well as the application questions. The online application form will be live on our new website in mid-January. The deadline to apply is February 28th, 2014. No phone calls, please.
We strive for a Corps that reflects the diversity of the students and communities we serve, and we strongly encourage applications from people of color, as well as men and other underrepresented populations in the public education system.
135 Van Ness Ave., Room 408, San Francisco, CA, 94102, US