• PGE partners with PPS to boost creation of comprehensive climate justice curriculum

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     PGE announcement

    Maria Pope, president and CEO of Portland General Electric, is joined by Victoria Lara (left), board chair of The Fund for PPS, and Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero in announcing PGE's partnership with the district. (Photo from Associated Press)

    Portland Public Schools’ creation of a comprehensive curriculum on climate change received a major boost last week. In a joint event at Bridger K-8 School, Portland General Electric announced that it is investing $250,000 in the effort.

    The three-year investment, made through The Fund for Portland Public Schools, will help PPS create a first-of-its-kind K-12 curriculum that explores the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as potential solutions.

    “With the growing global concern regarding climate change, PPS is taking an innovative approach and bold stance to support educators and students by developing relevant climate justice curriculum and activities,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said. “Making this curriculum easily accessible will help bolster our efforts in both curriculum development and with supporting our youth’s growing understanding and advocacy of this important topic.”

    The partnership came together as a response to student advocacy. In 2016, students and climate justice advocates reached out to the PPS Board of Education to ask for comprehensive climate literacy. The Board passed a resolution to develop and implement a plan, and the district and community have worked to create curriculum. The district hired Nichole Berg as Programs Manager for Climate Change and Climate Justice, believed to be the first such position in the country.

    The grant from PGE is the first major investment for The Fund for PPS, which was created to get businesses and the philanthropic community involved in the district’s work to fulfill its vision for students and educators.

    “What a great example of investing directly into a program that is so student centered and important to our community,” said Victoria Lara, board chair of The Fund for PPS.

    The curriculum, training materials and best practices will be open source, meaning they will be publicly available to other districts and schools.

    In addition to funding, PGE employees will serve as content experts, helping create supplemental classroom materials and project-based learning that will teach students the importance of clean energy in fighting climate change. They will join district staff, students, educators, frontline community members, government and community organizations, and industry leaders in informing the curriculum development.

    “It is essential that we work together, forging public and private partnerships to combat climate change and meet Oregon’s clean energy goals,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. “Our partnership with Portland Public Schools enables direct engagement with students and teachers that will explore real-world climate problems and innovative solutions.”

    Implementation of the K-12 climate change curriculum will launch in fall of 2021 in social studies and science classes. More information is available at the climate justice webpage.