Teacher and crab. Photo by CBF StaffTeachers experience the Bay in all its forms during a CBF summer course. Photo by CBF Staff

Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership

The Partnership

    Map of Participating School Systems

Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership - Leading School Systems
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The Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership (MELP) was formed in 2012 in response to national educational reform efforts and Maryland’s environmental literacy graduation requirement.

The Partnership is creating robust curriculum resources and providing teacher professional learning and support to meet Maryland Environmental Literacy Standard 1 (environmental issues investigation and student action), as well as content standards in science and social studies.

As of 2014, teacher cohorts from nine school districts have drafted eight science and five social studies MELP curriculum modules for integration into existing science and social studies courses. The project goal is to integrate the MELP modules into the curricula of Maryland’s 24 school districts so that all high school students will directly engage in environmental issues investigations and related action projects, thereby fulfilling Environmental Literacy Standard 1.

The Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership is

  • Coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), in collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and nine leading Maryland school districts

  • Funded by grants from the Maryland State Department of Education (federal Math and Science Partnership funds), the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Partner Organizations

Maryland State Department of Education University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Chesapeake Bay Trust National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


    Issues Investigation Framework

Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership - Framework Process
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Education experts from around the state crafted the MELP Framework for Issues Investigation and Student Action to guide the design of professional learning experiences and curriculum development. The Framework includes a driving question, background for the teacher, a context setting activity (or hook), multiple investigative questions, lessons that include evidence, artifacts, and investigations, lessons to form and present conclusions, and a student action/civic engagement component.

The MELP science and social studies curriculum modules:

  • align with Maryland's College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the College Career and Civic Life (C3) Standards
  • build students' environmental literacy and skills proficiency through modules embedded with critical thinking, investigation, analysis, synthesis of information, and action
  • engage students in real world problem solving in their own community through interpretation of data and designing solutions to address environmental issues

Curriculum modules that illustrate the integration of these concepts into required courses, while addressing Environmental Literacy Standard One, and which are aligned to existing school system curriculum requirements will provide significant support for LEAs as they develop their environmental literacy plans. Maryland students need this critical instruction. The state needs informed, environmentally literate citizens who make good consumer choices and strive to protect our precious natural resources. Through the implementation of the MELP modules, Maryland students will be prepared for jobs and to be leaders in the new greener economy.

Professional Learning

Chesapeake Classrooms Teachers. Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Granberg/CBF Staff.Through a summer immersion program, independent work, and job-embedded learning opportunities, teachers gain the content knowledge and skills needed to effectively apply the Framework to locally relevant issues investigation lessons that are aligned with state and national environmental literacy, science, and social studies standards.

Teachers participate in an outdoor, five-day summer institute to become familiar with the Framework, the modules, content, and pedagogical skills for teaching the MELP curricula modules. The teachers then complete individual and group work during the school year to modify the MELP modules to fit their local curriculum and integrate resources from their school area into the lessons. The teachers also participate in district-wide "professional learning communities" to support implementation of the MELP modules in the classroom. Teachers trained in 2015 will be the lead teachers in their high school to support colleagues who will be implementing the locally differentiated MELP modules adopted by their county.

The project goal is to integrate the MELP modules into the curricula of Maryland's 24 school districts so that all high school students will directly engage in environmental issues investigations and related action projects, thereby fulfilling the Environmental Literacy Standard 1. Ideally, the MELP model will be disseminated to other states in the region and nationally to increase student environmental literacy.

Click to registerSummer Institutes for High School Teachers

Chesapeake Classrooms Teachers. Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Granberg/CBF Staff.Hand-selected high school teachers from the twelve participating local education agencies are invited to represent their school system in an exciting statewide project to implement new environmental literacy curriculum modules for high school science and social studies courses. Lead teachers serving on this initiative will participate in a unique summer institute led by the University of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. You will investigate key science and policy issues facing Maryland's environment, work with leading experts in the field, explore unique Maryland ecosystems, and learn to lead inquiry-based issues investigation modules within their science and social studies content areas.

Who: High school teachers are invited by their districts to register and participate in summer institutes. Available courses are listed below.  High school teachers from any participating county may register for any date.

Cost: Teachers receive a full scholarship thanks to an MSP grant.  Upon completion of the orientation session, the five day summer institute, and the two days of independent work in the summer, teachers will receive a stipend.

2016 Dates and Location: All of the institutes will have the same structure of one day on CBF's Baltimore Harbor Boat Program, three days/two nights at CBF's Smith Island Education Center, followed by one day at a central Maryland schoolyard plus two days of independent work.

Summer Institute I  

  June 27-July 1, 2016

Summer Institute II  

  July 18-22, 2016

Summer Institute III  

  July 25-29, 2016

Summer Institute IV  

  August 1-5, 2016


Click to register

Partnership Lead Teachers commit to:

  • Participate in an online orientation session (two-hour conference call) in May or June 2016.
  • Participate in one five-day summer institute during the summer of  2016.
  • Pilot/implement the module chosen by your school district.
  • Support your district's efforts in implementing environmental literacy modules into curricular programs.
  • Provide constructive feedback through channels identified by your school district during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Partnership Lead Teachers will receive:

  • Five incredible days of summer field investigations and inspirational professional learning.
  • A stipend of $125 per day for completing the five-day summer institute.
  • Three MSDE recertification credits OR three graduate credits* for completing the summer institute final project.  
  • Access to professional learning, resources, expertise, and a statewide professional learning community of fellow teachers who have been through MELP training.

*Graduate credits incur an additional fee to the credit granting institution and require an additional project.

Credit and Reimbursement

3 Continuing Professional Learning credits from MSDE are available for summer institute participants. Details will be available during the orientation session. Graduate credit is also available.  Details are at www.cbf.org/credit.


Click to view photos from recent summer institutes. 

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