Living Learning Sites and Climate Ready Schools 

Sustainability Mission Statement: Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD) will provide all students quality environmental literacy education, equal opportunities to access outdoor education, and living campuses that promote land stewardship and sustainability practices. 

Equity and Inclusion Statement: CUSD is committed to the acceptance, acknowledgement, and value of all students, staff, and families to support each individual's realization of their full potential.

CUSD cares deeply about its impact on the environment. This care is embedded into the fabric of the coast side due to the importance and proximity of the Pacific Ocean. Comprehensive sustainability actions that contribute to a safer and healthier future for students and community has never been more crucial. Rising sea levels, polluted stormwater runoff, and the increasing number of climate related challenges such as droughts, wildfires, flooding, power outages, etc., impact each and every individual in our beloved community; therefore, CUSD is taking action to mitigate and adapt to these impacts. 
ocean school
CUSD’s environmental efforts are guided by the principles of sustainability, social equity and inclusion, and education. These actions and initiatives are envisioned by students and district and site level administration in partnership with the district-wide sustainability committee and the community at large, that have impacts across all aspects of school life (facilities - buildings and grounds - and operations), curriculum and instruction, community and culture. 

To learn more about these efforts explore details below and check out the 2023 commitment statement for the environment: Earth Day Proclamation (pdf) .


Are you a green business who wants to support local youth and offer opportunities for civic action or internship training? Please reach out to Matthew Spigelman at [email protected] for more information.

CAELI Partner Portal: The Portal promotes environmental literacy by building educator awareness of community-based partners (CBP) and their products and services and fosters educator-CBP relationships for increased student enrichment and engagement.

The goals of the Portal are to increase the visibility and access to environmental education community-based partners and be a reliable central repository for districts, schools, and teachers to identify programs that align with their local needs and meet educational standards.

Youth Programs

Today’s young people will be most impacted by a changing climate and therefore need opportunities to be a part of taking climate action.

The California Youth Climate Policy (CYCP) Leadership Program empowers ninth- to twelfth-grade students to take climate action into their own hands.

Students will participate in a summer retreat (July) and monthly workshops (August - December) that focus on foundational knowledge and skill-building activities related to environmental and climate action. Students will then apply their knowledge and skills on leading a campaign that passes climate policies (or builds on existing policies) in their school or district. 
Throughout the program, participants will receive mentoring from adult coaches, as well as support in developing and implementing a personal leadership plan. Students who complete all program requirements are eligible to receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the program.

Apply to the CA Youth Climate Policy Program here.

The Youth Climate Ambassador (YCA) Leadership Program brings 9-12th grade students from across San Mateo County together to empower youth to take climate action into their own hands. Through the program, students will develop projects designed to drive change within San Mateo County and gain a diverse set of skills related to sustainability and climate action. This program includes a mixture of learning opportunities and experiences.

Learn more about the YCA program and learn when the next application cycle begins. 

The Teacher's Corner

A space for educators to find resources and lessons when teaching their students about sustainability and environmental literacy. Organized by grade bands :0

Grants & Funding

Field Trips and Community Partners

Solutionary Teaching and Learning involves the process of students analyzing "wicked" problems, identifying the inhumane and unsustainable systems that perpetuate them, and then developing solutions that do the most good and least harm for all.

+ WebQuests (WQs) are self-directed learning tools that support students in constructing their own meaning while exploring at their own pace and discovering what is most interesting to them.

+ Field Research Activities (FRAs) provide students with hands-on activities to investigate a specific environmental topic in a local context (home, school, or community).

Elementary (K - 5):

Project Learning Tree; Teaching Materials

Foss Environmental Literacy Curriculum Connections 


Energy WebQuest

Land-Based Ecosystems WebQuests

Waste WebQuests

Water WebQuests

Intermediate (6 - 8):

Outdoor Ed Solutionary Project Based Learning 


Energy WebQuest

Food WebQuest

Land-Based Ecosystems WebQuests

Transportation WebQuests

Waste WebQuests

Water WebQuests

High school (9 - 12):


Energy WebQuest

Food WebQuest

Land-Based Ecosystems WebQuests

Transportation WebQuests

Waste WebQuests

Water WebQuests

District-Wide Initiatives

District-Wide Sustainability Committee

The district-wide sustainability committee has representation from CUSD students, teachers, administrators, staff, board members, and community based partners. This committee meets once every two months to plan, implement, and supports sustainability initiatives that take place across the campuses (facilities - buildings and grounds - and operations), curriculum and instruction, community and culture. To contact the sustainability committee please reach out to Joseph Centoni by email. 

green group

Campus Sustainability Dashboard

In order to better support students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members understanding and management of the ecological footprint of CUSD’s facilities and operations, CUSD worked with the San Mateo County Office of Education to develop a Campus Sustainability Dashboard that provides data on utilities such as energy, water, and waste. Thank you to Peninsula Clean Energy for sponsoring this dashboard project, and helping us to achieve our environmental literacy and sustainability goals!


Explore the Cabrillo Campus Sustainability Dashboard

Water Resilience

In partnership with Flows to Bay, CUSD is moving forward efforts to have water capture, stormwater pollution prevention, and reuse on every campus. Rain barrels have already been installed at Farallone View Elementary, El Granada Elementary, and Half Moon Bay High School. 


Zero Waste

District administrators, teachers, and the HMBHS Environmental club collaborated to roll out a TriBin waste sorting system at the high school campus. This project built upon the school’s efforts to recycle in classrooms, and is being used as a model for the other schools in the district. TriBins are now installed at Cunha Intermediate, Farallone View, El Granda, and Hatch Elementary. Every school site is in compliance with California law to service green waste pickups. Additionally, water bottle refill stations have been installed on multiple campuses and have contributed to the reduction of single use plastics across the district. 

Check out these student made videos to learn about how to sort your waste :)


Living Schoolyards

District leadership expanded upon the partnership with The HEAL Project (THP) in order to ensure equitable access to sustainable agriculture and health education to all four elementary schools. In School Year 2021-22 THP established garden spaces at both El Granada Elementary and Kings Mountain Elementary, and continued to grow the gardens at Hatch and Farallone View. The HEAL Project will host the Intensive Garden Program, which includes 26 weeks of hands-on garden and nutrition lessons in the garden spaces, for all 2nd and 3rd graders in CUSD. 


Living Classroom

Hatch School Garden; Rain Barrel

Green Transportation

CUSD works with Safe Routes to School to encourage walk, roll, bike and carpool to school. CUSD currently has about 30% of its students utilizing SRTS transportation.

CUSD is applying to state and federal grants to transition the current diesel fleet to an EV school bus fleet. Additionally, CUSD is expanding access to EV Charging Stations to promote the transition to clean energy.


Environmental and Climate Literacy

The Coastside Land Trust collaborates with local elementary schools and HMBHS students to promote environmental literacy and stewardship of local ecological resources. CUSD is partnered with ELSI to offer environmental literacy to all of our students. 


Site Level Highlights

Kings Mountain Elementary 

  • All-Electric Campus
  • Recycling bins in the classrooms and office
  • The School garden has been a place to learn about food, and the natural world, as well as on-site composting. 

Hatch Elementary

  • Lunchtime TriBin arrangement providing students with recycling, compost, and landfill options.
  • Hatch hosts Oceans Week every year. Students are immersed for two weeks studying the nature of the oceans. Students participate in an assembly/presentation, book readings, drawings/art, and presentations about oceans.

El Granada Elementary

  • Lunchtime TriBin arrangement providing students with recycling, compost, and landfill options.
  • 5th graders participate in environmentally-focused field trips: Sea Odyssey out of Santa Cruz, where students learn about navigation, microbiology, and ecology; and Skyline Ridge/Daniel’s Nature Reserve, where students learn about the local watershed, local flora and fauna, and local ecosystems.

Farallone View Elementary 

  • Students participate in and promote various events sponsored by the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) such as International Walk & Roll to School Day, Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, and more.
  • Farallone View became an Ocean Guardian School in 2021-22. They are participating in various projects to help protect our local watershed such as beach cleanups and promoting reusable products rather than single-use plastic options. Farallone students are becoming Watershed Warriors!

Cunha Intermediate School

  • 2020/2021: Creation of an Agriculture Science elective for 6th grade students and an outdoor classroom space
  • 2022: Creation of the Little Cunha Farm
  • On-site Solar energy installations at Cunha

Half Moon Bay High School

  • 2012: Creation of an Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science course, driven by an increasing interest by students in environment and sustainability
  • 2016 - present: Students created an environmental club to focus on sustainability efforts
  • 2018/2019: environmental club students began working on improving waste management system at HMBHS and worked on a grant for new recycling bins (implemented in 2019/2020)
  • On-site Solar energy installations at the High School



CUSD is proud to have now been formally designated as a 2023 California Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Honoree. After several years of school and district action to operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner, CUSD now has been recognized for these actions with Silver Level recognition, joining a select group of other California districts who have been similarly acknowledged for state recognition of their efforts.

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