Sustainable and Climate Ready Schools Efforts at CUSD

Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD) cares deeply about its impact on the environment. This care is embedded into the fabric of the coastside 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, sea level rise, etc., impact each and every individual in our beloved community; therefore, CUSD is taking leadership action to mitigate and adapt to these impacts. 

CUSD’s environmental efforts are guided by the principles of sustainability, social equity and inclusion, and education. These actions and initiatives are being guided by district and site level administration in partnership with the district-wide sustainability committee, and are focused on taking action across all aspects of school life within the campus (facilities - buildings and grounds - and operations), curriculum and instruction, community and culture. 

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


District-Wide Sustainability 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 at least once every two months, and plans, implements, and supports sustainability initiatives that take place across the campus (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. 

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 tri-bin 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. CUSD has plans in place for all other school sites to begin sorting organic waste next school year. Additionally, water bottle refill stations have been installed on multiple campuses and have contributed to the reduction of single use plastics across the district. 

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. 

Green Transportation

CUSD has applied to Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to receive funds 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.


Site Level Highlights

Kings Mountain Elementary 

  • Safe Routes to School efforts underway
  • 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

  • Provides students with five garbage bins during lunch time in the cafeteria: three for recycling and another two for trash.
  • 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

  • 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 Middle School and 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)
  • 2020/2021: Creation of an Agriculture Science elective for 6th grade students and a school garden space
  • On-site Solar energy installations at Cunha and the High School


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