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.
  • 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 the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Best Practices in Sustainability Engagement


  • BPS schools are highly encouraged to register annually with MassDEP’s THE GREEN TEAMTwenty-three BPS Schools participated as 2019-2020 Green Team Schools. Ellison Parks Early Education Center Teacher Donnie Lucente and his class were recognized as a 2019 Green Team Grand Prize Winner for their green team activities. 28 BPS schools, representing 35 BPS teachers, participated as 2020-2021 GREEN TEAM Schools. Blackstone Elementary School was recognized as a 2021 Grand Prize Winner for its school garden efforts. 24 BPS schools, with 27 BPS teachers registered, participated as 2021-2022 GREEN TEAM Schools. Chittick Elementary was recognized as a 2022 Grand Prize Winner for its recycling efforts.
  • Spring 2018, BPS Facilities Management partnered with City of Boston Love Your Block on volunteer school beautification days at the Trotter, Curley, Mozart, and Perry.
  • Hundreds of BPS students participated in the 2019 Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019. Boston Student Advisory Council co-planned and emceed the Boston City Hall Rally and Boston Strike. 
  • Two teams of students from Boston Latin Academy’s AP Environmental Science took part in the 2018-2019 Lexus Eco Challenge. The “Green Transport” team studied their commutes to school, used a carbon calculator to calculate their emissions, and built an app to educate fellow students about their own transportation footprints and to suggest alternatives. The “Keep Breathing” team measured particulate pollution in different areas of their neighborhood with homemade dust catchers, quantified the data with a microscope, surveyed community center members, and reported their results.
  • The use of BPS school buildings as living learning laboratories is also demonstrated by a number of student-led organizations across the district, for example the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN) and Recycling Club, the O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science Recycling & Environmentalism Club, and the Boston Student Advisory Council. Other schools may not have formal student clubs, but have classes advised by teachers who help with energy conservation or recycling, like Brighton High School STRIVE program’s recycling efforts.
  • The Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) is a citywide body of student leaders representing their respective high schools. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, BSAC was an active voice in addressing climate and sustainability issues citywide and statewide. Examples include 1) Hundreds of BPS students participated in the 2019 Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019. BSAC co-planned and emceed the Boston City Hall Rally and Boston Strike. For students who remained in school, many teachers acknowledged the strike by teaching climate science as part of the day’s lessons; 2) BSAC advocated for carbon neutral buildings in the City of Boston and was invited to speak at and take part in Mayor Walsh’s signing of the 2019 Executive Order that all new municipal buildings must be Zero Net Carbon; 3) During the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign season, BSAC led a #VoteClimate Campaign and hosted 3 weekly drop-in phone banks for volunteers to call voters; 4) When BPS turned to remote learning in spring 2020, the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Program collaborated with BSAC to create a resource list for safely celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. The list went viral locally and nationally.


Is your school planning a project this year? Register the project with Green Apple Day of Service 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 U.S. Green Building Council.


Facilities Management
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Boston, MA 02125