We're hiring! Explore opportunities to join our Crew.
Header image

Students Plan Civic Action at 100+ Events on Better World Day 2019

  • Date

  • Author

    EL Education

  • Photo

    Genesee Community Charter School students created a mural for last year's Better World Day

Across the country, tens of thousands of students are planning food drives, fundraisers, plantings, collections, and other acts of civic contribution on Better World Day, 5/3/2019. These aren't just service projects, but snapshots of the kind of learning happening in EL Education schools every day, where students draw on academic studies to make powerful changes in their communities. Learn more about their inspiring work below.

Attend Events 

From homeless outreach and advocacy in Bemidji, Minnesota, to trail maintenance in Kettle Falls, Washington, students at EL Education partner schools are preparing to make their mark on the world on May 3—and every day thereafter. Below is a peek at the student-led events, representing just a handful of the 100+ activities taking place across the country. If you’d like to attend one of these, send us an email to RSVP.

If you can’t make it to one of these events, follow along on our Facebook page to catch live streams from events throughout the day, or check the live social media feed below. Students and communities will be posting updates across all social media channels with hashtag #BetterWorldDay. 


Sierra Expeditionary Learning School

Truckee— Students from kindergarten through eighth- grade create a better world by helping those impacted by the recent CampFire. Pennies for Paradise, their student driven fundraising effort, will include creation of money collection jars, fliers, promotion, collection and accounting, and a final trip to Paradise to deliver their proceeds.

Conway Elementary

Escondido— Students kindergarten through fifth grade share deep learning and make important contributions to a better world in diverse and compelling ways including creating literacy information door hangers connected to “A book’s purpose expedition”, doing release of trout and park clean up, and working with Escondido Creek Conservancy to build owl boxes for school to support a healthy habitat. 

Lodestar: A Lighthouse Community Public School

Oakland— Two hundred students from kindergarten through second- grade go out into their local community to make the environment cleaner and healthier for all by cleaning up nearby San Leandro Creek which borders their East Oakland neighborhood.

Rosemary School

Campbell— Students kindergarten through fifth- grade participate in Better World Day in a colorful myriad of ways including creating a rainbow river of rocks, completing an extensive project on diversity, and volunteering at an Alzheimers Day Center.   


Adventure Elementary

Denver— Three hundred and fifty students from kindergarten through sixth- grade make and donate blankets for Project Linus, which provides blankets to children experiencing trauma in their community.

Bea Underwood Elementary School

Parachute— Students in second to fifth grade celebrate their Year of Service to their community with a combination of trash clean-up, open space beautification, local park restoration, service to their elderly neighbors, and garden clean out and prep for their local retirement home. Students then host an inclusive picnic to celebrate their service to others and the local service organizations who contribute so much to their community throughout the year.

Center For Family Learning

Parachute— More than three hundred preschool, kindergarten, and first- grade students gather to celebrate Better World Day. Creating a Pinwheels for Peace display in the front of their school, painting kindness rocks for their community, and making cards for our firefighters, nurses, and clinic staff.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School

Glenwood Springs— Eighty fifth- grade students focus on what it means to be a citizen, and how they can lead social change by working together to design and implement service projects in their community. These confident and capable leaders of social change share personal reflections and statements in a public display at their local county courthouse on Better World Day.

Glenwood Springs Middle School

Glenwood Springs— Four hundred and fifty students from sixth- through eighth- grade head out into their local community to beautify public spaces in town, create care packages for public service workers, and restore small structures around their school campus.

Grand Valley Center for Family Learning

Parachute— More than three hundred preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade students will create a Pinwheels for Peace display in front of their school, paint kindness rocks for their community, and make cards for firefighters, nurses, and clinic staff.

Lumberg Elementary

Edgewater— Students from kindergarten through sixth- grade will hold a community-wide celebration to showcase student learning projects based on one of their ELA modules with city council members, collective members, parents, and community partners.

Park Elementary School

Durango— Fourth-grade students open their original Colorado Women’s Suffragist Movement Exhibit at the Glenwood Historical Society on Better World Day. This interactive museum exhibit features recorded interviews between students and a range of women who made a difference in Colorado.

Summit View Elementary School

Littleton— Students engage in Fitness Friday, a fifth- grade Bike Safety Expo, and a sixth- grade Hexathlon all focused on contributing to a better world through raising awareness around health and wellness. 

Welby Community School

Denver— Fourth-grade students advocate for issues they feel are worth fighting for including refugee safety/asylum seekers, school safety, pay equality, bathroom laws in original Public Service Announcements at the Bloomberg Cohort Better World Day event in downtown Denver.

Bloomberg Cohort Better World Day Event

Denver— Twenty schools gather to share learning, celebrate success, and connect around expeditionizing modules including fourth- grade students from Welby School who advocate for issues they feel are worth fighting for including refugee safety/asylum seekers, school safety, pay equality, and bathroom laws in original Public Service Announcements. 

Silverton School

Silverton— Students lead a Walk for Water involving kindergarten through twelfth- grade students and community members with a recruitment goal of 60% of the total town population. The community walks together from the river to the school (.5  miles) with 1, 2 or 5 gallons of water to simulate the experience millions of African children, and especially African girls, have to go through every day just to have water to drink.


Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS) 

Hartford— Pre- kindergarten through fifth- grade students paint a Compass For Learners mural, clean up their school community, plant flowers, and celebrate their ongoing Project Playground, an initiative to create an inclusive play space students of all abilities. 

McDonough Middle School 

Hartford— Students address issues of access to books and literacy in their city by creating a Little Free Library for their local community center. 


Kuumba Academy Charter School

Wilmington— Seventh- and eighth- grade students contribute directly to their own community by creating small care packages and distributing them to the people experiencing homelessness in Delaware.


Amana Academy

Alpharetta— Kindergarten through eighth- grade students act together as change makers on Better World Day. Younger students beautify community spaces including creating seed pods, bird feeders, and decorative planters while older students work to combat flooding at a local park and help build a tiny house for a local person in need.

Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy

Atlanta— Students pre-K to 7th grade participate in service learning projects including creating original letters, poems or raps thanking veterans for their service, playing games and serving food to seniors, and hosting a bottled water collection contest across all grade levels. The EL Education Better World Day Culminating Program at Hollis will be a celebration of these diverse and extensive efforts to contribute to their Atlanta community and beyond!

Winnona Park Elementary School

Decatur— Students work to conserve an indigenous culture, the Kichwa community in Otavalo, Ecuador. Students design, create, and sell original artwork in their own market inspired by the Otavaleños people in Ecuador and proceeds made from their product sales will go to the Museum of Kichwa Culture in Otavalo. 


Sunnyside Elementary

Idaho Falls— Students build little libraries for their community at each grade level. The stocking and maintenance is ongoing work at locations where the public library, and other educational materials are not easily accessible.   

Pocatello Community Charter School

Pocatello— Three hundred and fifty students from kindergarten through 8th grade work to raise awareness and share learning in a community-wide clean water campaign. Collaborating with local grocery stores, students advocate for reusable shopping bags and help equip their community members to make a difference.

Palouse Prairie Charter School

Moscow— Students beautify their school neighborhood and build community by planting trees, cleaning up streets, and greeting new neighbors with encouraging words of kindness. Students design, plan, create, and install a mural for the community to enjoy together.


Polaris Charter Academy

Chicago— Four hundred and fifty students from kindergarten through 8th grade address a critical challenge that surrounds their school: abandoned properties and community disinvestment. Working to determine an actionable solution, students conduct research, engage community partners, and complete strategic community-improvement projects.

Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School

Elgin— Students lead a school- wide recycling effort in collecting plastic lids to be recycled into a bench for their school community.  Students also collaborate to create a collective art piece exploring individual identity as part of a community for display in their school. 

Butterfield Elementary School

Lombard— More than one hundred fifth- graders collaborate with kindergarten friends to create Kindergarten Readiness Kits for the district’s at risk early childhood program. On Better World Day students visit the John Schroder Early Childhood Center to distribute the kits and introduce engaging activities to pre-kindergarten students. 

Marquette School of Excellence

Chicago— Fifth- grade students lead community members in a clean up of Marquette Park, where Martin Luther King Jr. led the marches for fair housing rights including a lesson on the significance and history of the marches, and a picnic to celebrate a dedication of their “Little Free Library” for their community.


Inspire Academy

Muncie— Students lead White River Clean Up Day as part of an expedition focused entitled “Sustaining Ecosystems” based on the EL Module texts, “A World Without Fish” and “Flush.”  Their city’s river suffers from pollution, and while the city holds clean up days, more are needed and students are ready to help!  

East Chicago Lighthouse Charter School

East Chicago— Students first to fifth- grade orchestrate a school wide day dedicated to cleaning up the community park a block away from their school. Students remove trash, plant flowers, raise community awareness, invite their city’s mayor to get involved, and work to connect with other residents in East Chicago Indiana. 

York Elementary

Bristol— Students kindergarten to third grade will head out of their school building and over to their local park to spend the day giving back. This park is the site for much of the fieldwork these students conduct throughout the year and they will work to plant, install bird feeders, mark and label trees to maintain and improve this important area. 


Monarch Academy Public Charter School

Baltimore— Students engage in a range of activities to help contribute to a better world including middle school students exploring “Is it OK to Say: That’s Gay?,”  schoolwide participation in the GLSEN National Day of Science, and National No Name Calling Week school wide.


Mohawk Trail Regional 

Shelburne Falls— Seventh-grade students plant an edible school yard including apple trees around campus for future generations of students to enjoy and care for.

Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School

Sturbridge— Students spark a community-wide tree planting by beginning on their own campus: a living history museum, Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts. Following this ceremony and celebration, students spread to each of their district communities and along with their families, come together to perform identical plantings throughout the region as they examine the guiding question of “What do we have in common?”

Codman Academy Charter Public School

Dorchester— Students kindergarten through twelfth- grade participate in Better World Day! Older students partner with local organizations to address hunger and homelessness in Boston, while younger students create pollinator gardens at six sites (libraries, local cafe, school playground, etc.) in Codman Square, the immediate neighborhood of the school.


St. George School

Tenants Harbor— Students host a Celebration of Service to recognize  actions such as creation and donation of birdhouses in the community during Bird Expedition, making “kindness cards” to hand out at places in the community, and other schools, and working with Pre-K to build outdoor kitchen and play area.

Casco Bay High School

Portland— Students host a march and rally with a 1000 Portland kids and their adult allies to raise attention and funds for students’ push to have solar arrays installed on the roofs of school buildings.  

West Bath School

West Bath— Students kindergarten through fifth- grade work with Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) as our community partner, to devote our time and service to giving back to this organization that provides so much to their community. Work conducted by students includes trash and brush clean up, tree surveys, pollinator inventories, water quality measurements, invasive species surveys, bridge repair, and sign building and installation. This service work leads to field guides, informational brochures, grant writing opportunities, the creation of new trails, and a new preserve to the community of West Bath.


Schoolcraft Learning Community

Bemidji— Students create first aid kits to be handed out to people experiencing homelessness as a part of their  expedition “How To Save a Life”. This is culminating longer study such as CPR training, First Aid training and research on natural disasters/weather and the effects it has on communities.

Open World Learning Community

St. Paul— Students install a Little Free Library for our school community in celebration of their Little Free Libraries interim course project as well as their ninth- and tenth- grade picture book project. This celebration of long term, deep learning around literacy includes community members, artisans, and experts who supported this important work.


Old Mission Peninsula School

Traverse City— Students kindergarten through sixth- grade take action to be more responsible for their environment by getting outside and onto the beach! Students work with their township and the Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse Committee to clean up their community’s beaches. 

University Prep Middle School 

Detroit— Sixth- through eighth- grade students build community and demonstrate kindness by participating in a neighborhood clean up including planting beautiful flowers around their school’s campus.  Students then extend friendship and caring to senior citizens and residents in the neighborhood by delivering fresh bouquets of flowers to local homes.

University Prep, Mark Murray Campus

Detroit— Fifth- grade students use their learning in the Athlete Leaders For Social Change module to beautify the nearby William Clay Ford Little League Field. Students create a Jackie Robinson flower garden behind home plate and are joined by Garrett Street, director The Legends League a community sports organization supporting over 1,400 young athletes in Detroit.

University Prep Science & Math Elementary, Miller Campus

Detroit— Students work to end stigmas attached mental health issues by sharing their learning at the Ohio State Oval. Their expedition, “Minding Your Mind” prioritizes mental health and they will share strstegies for staying mentally healthy!

Burns Elementary School

Hutchinson Elementary School

Edison Elementary School
Noble Elementary School
Palmer Park Elementary School
Spain Elementary School
Maybury Elementary School

Detroit— Fifth-grade students prove that literacy is a civil right! Seven EL Education schools work together to move Detroit from being a “book desert” to a more literate city and the little free library capital of the world. Students apply rigorous academic learning about The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to impact their local community as they build and paint 4 little free libraries, host a book drive to stock them, and donate them to deserving local aid organizations including Brilliant Detroit, Detroit Hives, We Found Hip Hop, and Caught Up Project Re-Entry. Students host a Celebration of Learning and Library Dedication Event for their local community on Better World Day!

Detroit Prep

Detroit— Students conduct a neighborhood clean up in their new neighborhood, Pingree Park, including planting trees, constructing a butterfly garden, creating bird feeders, and setting up rain barrels. Students host a celebration to build community with neighbors on Better World Day.

New Jersey

ECO Charter School 

Camden— Students reimagine how to utilize their outdoor space to learn based on learning around insect and selected mammal habitats, inspire their school community to develop beautiful spaces, and complete much needed repairs to their grounds.

New York

Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School

New York City— Middle school students work to end hunger in their own community. Planting in two Brooklyn farm sites, stocking a local food pantry, and creating packages for local children experiencing homelessness are just a few of the ways these sixth- and eighth- grade buddies contribute to Campaign Against Hunger. 

Brooklyn Collaborative

New York City— Students sixth- through twelfth- grade build on the individual Crew projects that nearly 700 students and 100 staff created last year including cleaning up their neighborhoods, serving food at soup kitchens, visiting senior citizens, planting trees and flowers, writing letters to politicians about community issues, reading to elementary school students, making Mother’s Day gifts, and more. 

Leaders High School

Brooklyn— Students kick off service learning for their Spring Intensives week!

Middle School 839

Brooklyn— Middle school students celebrate their year- long Better World Projects of partnerships with local elementary students by leading activities and hosting games, a live puppet performance, and time building relationships over favorite titles with a reading buddy.

Niagara Charter School

Niagara Falls— Students team up with neighbors, families, staff, and local community leaders to complete service projects to beautify and improve their city, from painting to cleaning up neighborhood streets.

The Kurt Hahn School

Brooklyn— Students leading the Kurt Hahn School’s Climate Club facilitate a community art project that captures the school’s vision for a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future for the planet.


Manhattan— Eleventh- graders design community service projects in their crews to address problems they want to solve in the world around them. Students reach out to different organizations, partner with them, and design projects to make a difference in the world. 

Genesee Community Charter School

Rochester— Kindergarten through sixth- graders lead a School-Wide Community Service Day to make an impact on their environment.  Students study birds and their habitats, advocate for the importance of pollinators, conduct water quality research, and explore how to reduce garbage and food waste.


Staten Island— Sixth- grade students lead the Kindness Rock Project while seventh- grade students focus on Giving Back to MAELS Community and eighth- grade students work on Creating Alumni Association to Support the Future of MAELS!


Forest Hills— Ninth- grade students engage in a day of service learning focused around the expedition topic related to making an impact.  Students use design thinking to determine how they can make an impact and engage in direct service to their chosen issue.


Syracuse— Sixth- grade students complete service work around Onondaga Lake to maintain clean green space and water.  This work is part of their case study surrounding the history and necessary stewardship surrounding the lake that sits in the center of their city.  

Danforth Middle School

Syracuse— Sixth -grade students kick off their interdisciplinary project of school beautification including a long range plan to establish a local garden that will provide fresh produce for their community.  Students conduct fieldwork, create mosaic tiles, develop scale models of the project layout, and construct the raised beds for planting. 

Pelham Lab High School

Bronx— Students lead a school -wide service learning celebration throughout eight different sites around the Bronx. Students contribute in many different ways including park clean up and learning from experts about their environment in New York City. 

WHIN Music Community Charter School

New York— First- grade students make bird feeders per their Module 3 study while kindergarten students participate in the NY Restoration Project to learn about the importance of trees and second- grade students plant to support pollinators.

Discovery Charter School

Rochester— Students lead a new initiative designed to build awareness, show solidarity, and join in the positive practices of Ramadan. This “30 Day Gratitude Challenge” is kicked off with an original film by students featuring students who practice Islam and an  explanation of Ramadan.

North Carolina

Evergreen Community Charter School

Asheville— Students celebrate Better World Day, Earth Day, and their school’s 20th anniversary with a variety of campus and community-based service projects ranging from local, campus-based watershed projects to broader community-based projects done in partnership with local non-profits and Franklin School of Innovation. Students participate in a variety of learning workshops taught by local naturalists and middle school student leaders t reinforce their commitment to their community and planet.

The Franklin School of Innovation Charter School

Asheville— Eighth- grade students partner with Evergreen Community School, GreenWorks, and RiverLink to make a better world by learning about water quality in their region and taking action. Following an in-depth study of water quality in Hominy Creek, students participate in stream cleaning activities and propose solutions to improve water quality in their region. 


Citizens Leadership Academy

Cleveland— Students identify an aspect of their local community which they can support and better including providing enrichment to students in daycare, playing board games with seniors, cleaning up parks, supporting those in need at homeless shelters, and making hospital kits for pediatric emergency rooms. 

Graham Elementary and Middle School

Columbus— Students attend the Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, interview veterans to gather their stories (On May 1st), and create a final book honoring the individual stories. (On May 3rd), students host a big community gathering to build relationships and celebrate learning. 

Mt Washington School

Cincinnati— Students build on last year’s award- winning success for their 2018 Better World Day Project of a “Day of Peace” in response to gun violence in their area by “paying it forward” in their own community.  Efforts include making care packages for the Armed Forces, partnering with the  Mt Washington Care Center to delight their residents with performances and crafts throughout the year, making t-shirt bags filled with supplies for the homeless, and heading to thier local Rec. Center on Better World Day to complete beautification projects!

City View Charter School

Hillsboro— Students kindergarten through eighth- grade get out of their building to partner with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation, working to maintain one of our largest parks in their community. Younger students use soap and water to clean the playground facilities and benches while older students use wheelbarrows and shovels to spread mulch around the park and pull weeds. Students each bring a hand painted love rock to place in the park to help spread love and joy to park visitors. 


Realms High School

Bend— Tenth- graders advocate for humane and thoughtful treatment of those people living in a homeless encampment adjacent to their campus. A culmination of their “Power and Privilege” expedition, students present a well- researched, complete alternate action plan to local agencies including Central Oregon Veteran’s Outreach, our School District’s Homeless Liason, Central Oregon Homeless Coalition, the Bend Police Department, and several other local stakeholders.

City View Charter School

Hillsboro— Students kindergarten through eighth- grade and all staff clean and help maintain one of the largest parks in our community including cleaning the playground facilities and benches, using wheelbarrows and shovels to spread mulch around the park and placing hand painted love rocks to help spread love and joy to park visitors.

South Carolina

Meadow Glen Middle School

Lexington— Eighth- grade students become agents of nonviolent change for the purpose of improving the lives of others living things in their community. They ask “Why take a stand?” and “How can I, others, or organizations make a difference through taking a stand?” Their answers are shown in an original documentary on Better World Day. 

Gilbert High School

Gilbert— Students kindergarten through fifth- grade celebrate Better World Day through service and learning, including second- graders breaking ground on a new section of their pollinator garden as a product for their Secret World of Pollination Expedition and combined 4th and 5th grade crews camping off-campus on May 3rd to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of Transcontinental Railroad. 

Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning 

Perry— Students honor their community and care for the natural world around them in several ways including designing, building and installing an official sign for their beloved local waterfalls, “Easter Falls”. Students continue on to clean the park where the trail-head is located, the trail-head, and the trail adjacent to Easter Falls.


GreenWood Charter School 

Harrisville— Students kindergarten through fifth- grade celebrate Better World Day through service and learning, including second- graders breaking ground on a new section of their pollinator garden as a product for their Secret World of Pollination Expedition and combined 4th and 5th grade crews camping off-campus on May 3rd to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of Transcontinental Railroad. 

Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning 

Perry— Students honor their community and care for the natural world around them in several ways including designing, building and installing an official sign for their beloved local waterfalls, “Easter Falls”. Students continue on to clean the park where the trail-head is located, the trail-head, and the trail adjacent to Easter Falls.


Kettle Falls Elementary School

Kettle Falls— Kindergarten through fourth- grade students partner with Forest Service and National Parks to assist in spring cleaning, donating Peter Pan funds, and building tiny libraries.  

Kettle Falls High School 

Kettle Falls— Students partner with the Kettle Falls City Crew, the National Park Service, and the Kettle Falls School District to complete a number of service projects throughout their rural town in Northeastern Washington. Projects there include, trail maintenance, campground cleanup, pouring a new sidewalks, removing preparing a landscaping project for our local library, and compiling a highlight video to share with the student body.

Washington, D.C.

Capital City Charter School

Eighth-graders share work from their year- long interdisciplinary expedition entitled “Redesigning The Future” in an Eagle Talk (Capital City Middle School’s Version of Ted Talk) and head to the National Mall and Capitol to hand out their literature on Human Rights Awareness, their original buttons and “swag” from their MakerSpace.


Harborside Academy 

Kenosha— High school students partner with four local EL Education elementary schools and the City of Kenosha to help transform local parks and gardens, combat racism, and form community through their “Say Hello”. campaign. Students collaborate to create an original PSA and work to spread their message far and wide: community starts with a greeting and a common goal turns strangers into caring activists. 

Madison Elementary School  

Third- graders participate in One Great Day of Reading with community guest readers and performance of Reader’s Theater on water conservation to raise money for their local PADS program, which provides shelter and food for the homeless, Feed My Starving Children, and The Water Project. 

Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Academy

Milwaukee— Students pre-kindergarten through eighth- grade lead a school- wide beautification initiative including all school bathrooms and revamping our courtyard. Members of the community and families of staff and students roll up their sleeves and join in on the fun!

Vernon Elementary

Kenosha— Students kindergarten through fifth- grade help provide for local children in foster care by creating “Sweet Cases” filled with blankets, activities, and stuffed animals. Their collaboration with Together We Rise, a nonprofit for Foster Children, helps children when going to their new homes. 

Frank Elementary 

Kenosha— Students team up with other local schools to complete beautification projects for area parks and schools including planting, removing trash, and spreading mulch.  

Jefferson Elementary

Kenosha— Students collaborate with the other EL Schools in Kenosha to clean up and prep all park areas for the Spring/Summer season, including creating a rock garden around a larger boulder which will have EL Better World Day painted on it!  

Arbor Vitae Woodruff Elementary School

Woodruff— Students host a Community Literacy Day and travel to local nursing homes to build community through literacy.

West Virginia 

Grandview Elementary 

Charleston— Two hundred and twenty students from preschool to fifth- grade hold their 2nd Annual Community Outreach Fair to share their learning and final products from their spring expedition, “The Sustainable You” with the school community. This event promotes a healthy lifestyle, whether that be physically, mentally, or socially, including providing organic vegetables to the community and a tour of the student made nature trail and high tunnel powered by solar energy.  

Explorer Academy

Huntington— Students host a community wide celebration and sharing of learning at Ritter Park complete with a student created lemonade stand. Pre-K, first-grade and second-grade students will plant trees, hang biodegradable bird feeders and distribute student-created seed packets to the general public.