In 1998-99, the VT EFS Project in collaboration with Cultivating New Partnerships* organized a series of focus groups across Vermont where over 300 participants — parents, educators, farmers, business people, school board members, students, scientists, and others — discussed the skills and knowledge that people need to live sustainably in this new century.
Ideas generated at the public focus groups were categorized according to common themes, then compared with the first edition of the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities. Many of these important themes were already represented by existing standards in the Framework but several concepts were omitted.
These concepts form the basis of the Sustainability and Understanding Place standards that were written by VT EFS Project & partners, revised according to input from an Advisory Council and public hearing, and unanimously adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education in March 2000.
3.9 Sustainability (Personal Development): Students make decisions that demonstrate under - standing of human and natural communities, the ecological, economic, political or social systems within them, and awareness of how their personal and collective actions affect the sustainability of these interrelated systems.
4.6 Understanding Place (Civic & Social Responsibility): Students demonstrate understanding of the relationship between their local environment and community heritage and how each shapes their lives.
*The organizations in Cultivating New Partnerships are - Vermont Statewide Environmental Education Programs, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Vermont Agriculture in the Classroom Partners, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont Department of Education, University of Vermont, Vermont Institutes.