Elements of Successful Engagement Efforts

“Successful engagement programs often incorporate four main elements. These elements include: education, empowerment, a strong call to action, and recognition.

  • Educate. The audience must be aware of a problem and/or the opportunity for action before any engagement can occur. Providing accessible and credible information will help avoid dismissal or skepticism, and ensure understanding.
  • Empower. Audiences can respond positively to a call to action if they have the capacity and permission to engage. If there are obstacles to action, the program should seek to empower by illuminating options and setting out a clear path forward.
  • Issue a call to action. A successful call to action is inviting, clear, and well-communicated.
  • Recognize. Recognition is a critical element of successful engagement programs. In our feedback-driven culture, people stay more engaged when they have an indication of the impacts of their actions and are given positive reinforcement for changing their behavior.”

-excerpt from Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Best Practices in Sustainability Engagement

Is your school planning a project this year? Register the project with Green Apple Day of Service by March 15, 2019 to be eligible for mini-grants and Green Apple Awards.

Green Apple Day of Service unites parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations for volunteer projects that transform our schools into safe, healthy and sustainable learning environments. (All school volunteer projects should also register with PartnerBPS.)

Green Apple project ideas include school beautification and clean-ups, gardening, recycling, energy audits, and more!

Green Apple Day of Service is sponsored by the Center for Green Schools and US Green Building Council.

Green Apple Poster


  • Interested in representing your school through a sustainability leadership role? Fill out the BPS Healthy & Sustainable Schools Interest Form. Opportunities include:

    • School Zero Waste Coordinator
    • Member of the district BPS Zero Waste Committee
    • School Energy Conservation Coordinator
    • Member of the district Healthy School Environment Committee, a sub-committee of the District Wellness Council
  • Now in its tenth year of existence, the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network is an afterschool environmental club comprised of middle and high school students at the oldest public school in the US. The student members are the leaders of YouthCAN, a coalition of youth who seek to address the problem of global climate change in our communities and beyond and to promote education for sustainability. BLS YouthCAN is pursuing incredibly far-reaching initiatives. Students founded a youth network that now has 20 member groups at other schools in Massachusetts.

    YouthCAN does extensive educational outreach, maintains numerous community partnerships, and organizes free events that serve dozens of schools and community organizations every year. For example, we hold an annual fall kick-off event and an annual youth climate summit, both of which are free to all. Students launched a statewide “education for sustainability” campaign to incorporate sustainability lessons across subjects for grades 7-12 and organized annual teacher trainings, culminating in the development of the sustainability curriculum that is now in use at Boston Latin School.

    Interested in starting a similar student organization at your school? Contact Katherine Walsh, kwalsh4@bostonpublicschools.org or 617-635-9576.

  • Youth on Board co-administers the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) with the BPS Office of Engagement. BSAC is a citywide body of elected student leaders representing most BPS high schools. BSAC organizers work to identify and address pertinent student issues, thereby putting students at the center of the decisions that affect them the most. BSAC acts as the student union of the district, leading organizing efforts, forging relationships with district and city-leaders, impacting policy change, and transforming school culture across the board.

    BSAC began work around climate and environmental justice after students were moved and angered by the disproportionate impact climate change has, and will have, on young people, people of color, and low-income communities. In 2013, BSAC headed to Washington DC to rally in support of the Reject and Protect movement, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline. The following summer, BSAC students worked as part of a Climate Team, then joined 400,000 people in New York City for the People’s Climate March- the largest demonstration calling for climate solutions in history. Energized by the massive action, BSAC spread the word about why combating climate change is a major priority in their lives.

    Collaborate with Boston Student Advisory Council and Youth on Board on using the new Climate Curriculum, advocating for solar panels on school buildings, or leading a Meatless Mondays or Power Down Fridays campaign. Contact BSAC Student Engagement Manager Maria Ortiz at mortiz@bostonpublicschools.org to connect.

  • Alliance for Climate Education‘s mission is to educate young people on the science of climate change and empower them to take action. By empowering youth to take action within a frame of justice and optimism, ACE is growing and strengthening the climate movement, and shifting the national discourse on climate in ways that are proven to affect public opinion and policy.

    ACE teaches climate science that puts teenagers at the center of the story. Their dynamic classroom teaching resources are award-winning and proven to work.  

    Second, ACE gives every student a chance to take action. For some, it’s a small lifestyle change. For others, it’s hands-on preparation for a lifetime of leadership.

    EDUCATION and ACTION resources available for both teachers and students.

  • Register your school for The Green Team, an interactive educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation and pollution prevention. Participating classes receive certificates of recognition and are eligible to win awards. In 2017-2018, 25 BPS schools registered as Green Team schools. (Registration is required annually.)

  • Join the Green Schools Alliance community by creating a profile and exploring GSA resources, which includes curriculum and lesson plans, apps, best practices guides, and recommended green partners.

  • Check out the Center for Green School’s green school programs or the Every School Can Be A Green School: Getting Started Checklist. Visit the Center’s resources page for a full list of research papers, case studies, and green school reports.

  • Greenovate Boston is Mayor Walsh’s initiative to get all Bostonians involved in eliminating the pollution that causes global climate change, while continuing to make Boston a healthy, thriving, and innovative city.

    Greenovate Boston offers a number of ways to get involved, from volunteering, to joining programs and events, to applying for climate leadership positions.

    The Greenovate Boston Leaders Program aims to increase understanding of the climate impacts in Boston and the actions required to mitigate the impacts. We want to involve Bostonians as part of the collective action needed in advancing the citywide initiatives. The program gives you the materials and support you need to lead conversations about climate change and climate action.

    This program is a great opportunity to network with a wide variety of leaders, learn how to format community discussions around climate change, and to make a positive impact on Boston.

    If you are interested in a more intensive program, consider applying to the Ambassador Program, a six-month community engagement, networking, and learning program.

    The Ambassador program is an extension of the Leaders program with a greater emphasis on community engagement in around climate action. This program is open to those interested in doing more projects and initiatives around the intersections of climate change and other social issues. This program will examine the interconnections of climate change and prevalent topics affecting Bostonians, such as housing, food access, and more. With the mindset that climate change is happening now and it has a tangible, observable impact on Boston residents.

  • Register your school for the OnAir Campaign, “an educational initiative of Green Schools Alliance that inspires students to take actions that improve our air quality.”

  • Project Green Schools is finding and supporting tomorrow’s environmental leaders today.

    MISSION: Developing the next generation of environmental leaders through education, project-based learning and community service. 

    BELIEFS: Students must be engaged at the intersection of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), energy, environment and public health to develop: sustainable solutions, employability, college and career readiness knowledge and skills.

  • Each year, thousands of volunteers dedicate time and resources to making Boston Public Schools healthier and more sustainable places to learn, and BPS is truly grateful for the support of volunteers.

    If you or your group is interested in leading a volunteer project at a Boston Public School, please refer to the following steps and resources for ensuring a safe and successful volunteer project.

    Are you a school in need of volunteers? Contact the BPS Office of External Affairs to be matched with volunteer groups. 

    Are you a volunteer or volunteer group interested in supporting BPS schools? Register with the BPS Office of External Affairs to be matched with a school.

    Required Project Forms

    All volunteer projects taking place at Boston Public Schools must have support from the school leadership, sign-off from BPS Facilities Management, and a project organizer assigned to be onsite during the project.

    Before beginning a volunteer project, the project organizer must submit all forms found in the Superintendent Circular FMT-17 Facilities Management Volunteer Projects to BPS Facilities Management. Volunteer projects cannot be approved if any forms are missing.

    1. Review circular.
    2. Complete Boston Public Schools Facilities Management Volunteer Project Permit
    3. Complete Boston Public Schools Facilities Management Permit Request
    4. Review of Terms & Conditions
    5. Review of Allowable and Non-Allowable Projects
    6. Complete Volunteer Release of Liability and Indemnity Contract- every volunteer must sign

    All completed forms must be sent to Maria Lew-Houston, mlewhouston@bostonpublicschools.org.

    For more information, contact:
    Maria Lew-Houston
    Facilities Management Mailing
    1216 Dorchester Avenue, Boston, MA 02125


Facilities Management
1216 Dorchester Ave.
Boston, MA 02125