• Environmental Literacy in Wicomico County Public Schools 

    Wicomico County is truly a special place, and an environmental gem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Our students and citizens live, work, and play in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and it is essential for our future that all citizens develop the knowledge and habits that will promote environmental sustainability. 

    To that end, WCPS is committed to a multi-prong approach to promoting environmental literacy in all of our schools.  This includes

    • Green SchoolsAs of 2019 seven of our twenty-four schools have been certified as Maryland Green Schools. All seven have been certified within the past three years, and our goals is for all schools to become certified Green Schools.  Nationally recognized, the Maryland Green Schools Award Program (MDGS) allows schools and their communities to evaluate their efforts in environmental sustainability. Participating schools empower youth to make changes to reduce environmental impact, encourage sustainability and foster environmental literacy.  Our current Green Schools and their year of certification are:
      • Beaver Run Elementary School (2019)
      • Fruitland Intermediate School (2018)
      • Fruitland Primary School (2017)
      • James M. Bennett High School (2017)
      • Parkside High School (2017)
      • Westside Intermediate School (2018)
      • Willards Elementary School (2017)
    • Environmental Literacy Program WCPS is committed to meeting the E-Lit requirements set forth in COMAR and has developed systemic programs of environmental education within each grade band (elementary, middle, and high school). Currently a mixture of partnerships, grants and local funds are being used to support systemic programs in kindergarten, grades 3, 6, & 7, and high school.
    • Engagement in Student-Environmental Action Projects – WCPS students have investigated local, regional, and global environmental issues and developed/implemented actions to address these.  Often times, these action projects also help students meet Maryland's Student Service-Learning graduation requirement. Actions taken in recent years include:
      • Planning and installing native-plant reading gardens
      • Stormwater drain painting to educate the public about the watershed
      • Constructing and placing bat and bird boxes
      • Production of environmental Public Service Announcements for school closed-circuit television broadcast


    It is the vision of WCPS that all Wicomico students graduate as environmentally literate citizens who are active, engaged citizens with the knowledge and attitudes required to care for the local, regional, and global environment.  To meet this, students will be engaged in a rigorous plan of environmental literacy from kindergarten to high school.  The WCPS curriculum includes a full alignment to Maryland’s Environmental Literacy Standards and meets the requirements set forth in COMAR. 

    Curriculum Connections

    Much of WCPS’s curricular response to the E-Lit standards and requirements take place in the science classroom.  WCPS has fully adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and has rewritten its  science curriculum to align with NGSS.  NGSS includes connections to environmental issues across all domains, and our curriculum updates take advantage of these to include environmental connections at each grade level.

    WCPS recognizes that our vision of environmental literacy extends beyond the classroom, and is committed to incorporating E-Lit standards in a multi-disciplinary manner as appropriate.  To support this, teachers from K-12 in areas including mathematics, social studies, ELA, Gifted & Talented, and others have participated in the annual Environmental Literacy Professional Development workshop organized by the Supervisor of Science and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  As part of this program, teachers have used the Environmental Literacy Model Planning Tool to develop model instructional sequences that incorporate E-Lit standards across all content areas.


    Youth Environmental Action Summit

    In April 2019, the Ward Museum and NOAA co-sponsored the first annual Youth Environmental Action Summit (YEAS).  Dozens of students from elementary, middle, and high schools across the lower Eastern Shore participated in YEAS by identifying a local environmental issue and planning a solution.  At the YEAS conference, groups of students presented their proposals in an environment similar to TV's Shark Tank - making pitches to local funding agencies to receive the money required to carry out their projects.  WCPS was very-well represented at YEAS, with students from six schools earning over $7,300 to implement projects in schools and the community.  Funded schools include:

    • East Salisbury Elementary
    • Pinehurst Elementary
    • Salisbury Middle
    • Wicomico Middle
    • Parkside High 
    • Parkside CTE
    • James M. Bennett High

    The photos below are three of our student groups making their presentations at YEAS 2019.







    WCPS is proud to partner with a number of outside organizations that assist us in meeting our E-Lit goals.  These partners include: