Environmental Education » K-12 Environmental Education

K-12 Environmental Education

headshot of Ms. Valenza, the environmental education coordinatorFull-time Environmental Education Coordinator
Ms. Chandra Valenza moved from Kindergarten teacher to Environmental Education Coordinator in 2017.  She says, "I want to teach about environmental and sustainability topics so that our future decision and change makers will make choices that are best for the planet and humanity. I want to make environmental and sustainability education a part of all subject areas and show others how easy it is to do alongside other curriculum."  She is passionate about teaching and passionate about the environment.  
Ms. Valenza graduated with a Masters of Education with an Environmental and Sustainability Endorsement from Antioch University in 2014.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education and Teaching in 2010 from the University of Northern Colorado.
Six Acres of Outdoor Space
When Westgate moved to this site in 2012, we owned ten acres of undeveloped land along with two buildings.  Over the years, we pursued funding opportunities and persisted in realizing most of our vision for the outdoor space in 2020.  A majority of the funding came from grants along with donations from our community and matching money from the school.  We are still looking for a partner to help us complete our solar classroom!  Please contact communications if you can help.
Outdoor Classrooms  - click the link to the left to see the classrooms
  • Owl's Nest
  • Westgate Amphitheater
  • Pollinator Gardens
  • Pavilion
  • Solar Plaza
  • Gardens
  • Cats
  • Goats
  • Chickens
  • Bees
  • Eight planting beds
  • Student and volunteer maintained with lots of help from Ms. Valenza
  • Includes vegetables, herbs and flowers
Service Learning
  • Weekly in grades K-12
  • An outlet for students with different skill sets to shine
  • Students become an expert on a topic and present their project to the community
  • Past projects include:  recycling, wild animal habitats, wildfires, systemic racism, homeless populations, goats and gardening
Benefits of Environmental Education (Environmental Education) for K-12 Students

  • Academic Skills - critical thinking, decision-making, systems thinking
  • Academic Performance
  • Student Engagment
21st Century Skills
  • Lifelong learners
  • Lifelong skills
  • Problem solvers
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Independence
  • Teamwork