Tools and Resources

Here are some tools and resources.  If you know of other great resources, please share them with us at

SSP Resources

The Education for Sustainability Starter Kit is a professional development tool that prepares educators and schools to start using sustainability as an integrating theme, and to catalyze school change with efficient use of existing resources through a series of self-guided learning opportunities.
The New and Updated Guide to Education for Sustainability (2015) provides an introduction and exploration of EFS practices and pedagogies. We are excited to share this FREE resource with you, follow the link to download the guide.
is a civic engagement and service-learning framework that can be used across K-12 grade levels as well as community settings.
Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability: A project-based resource for learners and educators to support distance learning.
As we have worked with schools and individual teachers over time we collaboratively created units of study, lesson plans, and activities to engage a diversity of students in education for sustainability. We have also developed tools to assist educators in curriculum development.
Read what teachers have to say about their experiences with SSP educational programs.
Headlines for EFS in Vermont post UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
The EFS Practice Profile is an evaluation tool for schools and educators to review their EFS work and set goals for future professional learning, school wide projects, curriculum and student learning.
Powerpoint presentation for EFS Summit 2013
Ten Promising Practices of Education for Sustainability
Download a copy of SSP's menu of professional development services.
Download a copy of SSP's menu of professional development services.
A one-pager on place-based learning. All of our one-pagers are great for helping educators understand the different pedagogies that are associated with EFS.
This one pager describes project-based learning using resources from the Buck Institute.
Service Learning is one strategy that we use in EFS. This one-pager has a definition and best practices from the National Youth Leadership Council

SSP Tools

This SSP curriculum mapping tool allows you to cross reference your Unit goals and assessments with the learning standards.
An example of the Curriculum Connection Map featuring a year-long overview of a first grade curriculum exploring "How are people and nature a community?"
This document provides examples of what EFS might look like in a variety of content areas.
This document provides examples of what EFS might look like in grades K-12.
Here is one example of what a K-4 EFS rubric might look like.
EFS Professional Action Planning Template
An example of an EFS UbD 2.1 template for our Sustainable Economics unit.
SSP has adapted (with permission) Wiggins & McTighe's Understanding by Design unit template to incorporate the lens of sustainability.
An example of an EFS Unit Snapshot for a Food & Farming/Informational Text unit.
This snapshot summarizes the goals, assessments, and key learning opportunities of a unit.
Definitions for common EFS terms.

Other Tools and Resources

Learn more about SSP’s partnerships with some of these organizations on our Partners Page.

BIE has some amazing project-based learning resources, including many free, downloadable templates, graphic organizers, and rubrics. Their Project-based Learning Handbook is a favorite with many of our teachers.
CELF has a large collection of resources for educators, students, and the community. SSP’s Jen Cirillo has also presented at CELF’s Summer Institute.
Best known for their pioneering work with school gardens, school lunches, and integrating ecological principles and sustainability into school curricula, the Center for Ecoliteracy has some great EFS publications , as well as a comprehensive listing of other resources.
Community Works Institute works to develop and promote exemplary teaching strategies, practices, programs and models that support students becoming caring, responsible and active members of their communities using a framework of service-learning. CWI is a Shelburne Farms' partner.
Creative Change Educational Solutions offers free sample lessons and unit outlines on multiple sustainability topics for K12 teachers. Visit and follow links to the Curriculum Resource Center (
This website provides teachers, parents, and volunteers with ideas for using children's literature to introduce economics to children. They review new books from leading publishers and makes selections for "Book of the Month" and "Top Five" categories. Unlike many of the existing websites on economics education, EconKids focuses on younger students in elementary school.
The online collection of EFS articles and resources is curated by Vermont Commons School's Mark Cline-Lucey. Contributors include SSP's Emily Hoyler and Tiffany Tillman.
Facing the Future, out of Seattle, has some great curriculum on global issues and sustainability. Most of their resources are targeted at middle and high school, and have an environmental focus (though the units are integrated across other content areas). They have some great free resources, as well as some available for purchase.
Lots of great links to curriculum and other educator resources.
Global Exchange has a fantastic Fair Trade elementary curriculum unit called Sweet Smarts that focuses on cocoa and chocolate.
Resource for Higher Education on Going Green
IDEA has a fabulous “Eduvation Library” where they share a wide variety of resources from a range sources.
Life Lab teaches people to care for themselves, each other and the world through garden and farm-based programs
Origins is the Midwestern regional provider of training in Responsive Classroom, as well as the creator of Developmental Designs, a framework for classroom management that extends the RC model to meet the developmental needs of students in grades 5-9. SSP believes that these practices are strongly aligned with EFS, and their use cultivates a strong sense of community and engagement for students.
The Orton Family Foundation website has a host of tools and resources. Check out the Planning Tool Exchange, which has some great community planning resources.
This website is a resource that provides inspiration and practical ideas for K-12 teachers who seek meaningful and authentic ways to embed learning in local places. This website offers a vibrant view of place-based education and curriculum design incorporates standards, Understanding by Design and transformational educational practice.
PEEC is aims to identify successful program characteristics that span place-based education programs. Their website has research, resources, tools, and reports on place-based education.
Project Look Sharp is a is a media literacy initiative out of Ithaca College, working to promote and support the integration of media literacy and critical thinking into curricula at all grade levels and across instructional areas. They have fantastic, free curriculum guides on a broad range of sustainability topics.
Responsive Classroom is an approach to elementary education that incorporate strategies for classroom management and democratic decision-making. SSP believes that this model supports many facets of EFS.
A primer for teachers on teaching with the Sustainable Development Goals by Manitoba Council for International Cooperation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance has a bounty of social justice curriculum, as well as a magazine and professional development tools, available free of charge.
The Cloud Institute prepares K-12 school systems and their communities to educate for a sustainable future. They provide professional development to teachers and school administrators, and facilitate programming that supports schools and communities learning together.
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe developed the Understanding by Design® backwards design framework that SSP using for curriculum design. They granted us permission to adapt their 2.0 template to incorporate the lens of sustainability (see Tools section, above).
The U.S. Partnership consists of individuals, organizations and institutions in the United States dedicated to education for sustainable development (ESD). It acts as a convener, catalyst, and communicator working across all sectors of American society. SSP’s Jen Cirillo is co-chair of the K-12 and Teacher Education Sector.
The US Partnership (Decade of Education for Sustainable Development) produced this White Paper that defines and explains what is means to be educating for sustainability.
VT-FEED works with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, the role of Vermont farms and farmers, and good nutrition. They have a variety of helpful resources available on their website, including A Guide for Connecting Farms to Schools & Communities, A Guide for Farm to School Community Action Planning, and A Guide for Using Local Food in Schools.
The Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education is a good friend of SSP. They've just completed a huge statewide visioning process to garner input on education for sustainability (EFS) in Wisconsin.
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