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Students Plan Civic Action at 100+ Events on Better World Day 2020

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    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, 5/1/2020. 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 1—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

Students educate their local community on the importance of recycling, reducing, reusing, and refilling, with the hope that they can inspire people to begin new daily routines that support the environment through sustainability.

Conway Elementary

Over 600 elementary school students will walk together to a local park for a range of community service projects aligned to grade level expeditions that promote making the world a better place.

Manor Elementary School, Fairfax, CA

Elementary students take action alongside their families to stop global warming by planting native trees on their school campus and at local areas around their local community.

Orange County Educational Arts Academy, Santa Ana, CA

Elementary students in three grade levels lead projects including kindergarten students advocating to protect trees in their city considered a “hot island” due to limited green space and an overabundance of buildings and fifth grade students working to raise awareness about  deforestation of rainforests and how they can help.

Pine Unified School District, Big Pine, CA

Students create a sustainable, less waste environment in their own school by switching over to reusable trays, silverware and cups, and banning styrofoam and plastics in the cafeteria.

Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, Nevada City

High school seniors combat ageism and cynicism in the world by hosting an intergenerational Homecoming Celebration for local citizens of all ages to come together and connect in various ways including the viewing of student- created documentaries for and about elders in their community.  

Vallejo Charter School, Vallejo, CA

Students plant fruits and vegetables for community beautification, help those in need, and more.   


Adventure Elementary School, Denver, CO

First grade students care for local birds displaced by their own new school building by creating safe living spaces and alternative nesting options.

Columbine Elementary, Denver CO

Elementary students build strong community bonds as they build an outdoor study space and repair their playground including painting, planting, placing stones and other ‘naturescape’ elements, and repairing memorials for teachers.

Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, Denver, CO

Elementary students broaden their community and engage the city of Denver as their campus  by supplying local businesses and community organizations with copies of their student- created book of quotes and examples of what it means to display the following character traits:  tenacity, self-discipline, courage, compassion, and craftsmanship.

Dutch Creek Elementary, Littleton, CO

Fourth grade students foster equity for pre-readers by creating an interactive pamphlet to be used by their community and other Denver, metro communities, to further an early love of Art.

Explore Elementary, Thorton, CO

Students develop a plan for meaningful contribution on Better World Day.

Fox Creek Elementary, Highlands Ranch, CO

Elementary students educate their community about global warming issues, host a local plant sale that will generate funds to support local conservancy organizations, and partner with their local ranger district to plant trees and other seedlings in their open space areas.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School, Glenwood Springs, CO

Elementary students serve their community and natural world in different ways that connect to their Learning Expeditions or Crew focus including kindergartners planting native trees, first graders building bird houses, and third graders sharing appreciation with caregivers at the hospital.

Glenwood Springs Middle School, Glenwood Springs

Middle school students take the lead in planning and organizing a wide range of ongoing service projects in their community including car washes, animal shelter volunteering, helping local college students transition to school, and spending time with local elders.

Joe Shoemaker School, Denver, CO

Elementary students lead the way as Kid Captains for Better World Day’s Literacy For All Team.

Lumberg Expeditionary Elementary, Edgewater

Elementary students are currently working on designing and implementing a school- wide service project.

Mapleton Expeditionary Elementary School of the Arts, Thornton

Elementary students design and implement a project.

North Routt Community Charter School, Clark, CO

Students clean up and connect with their community by participating in the eleven year old, school-wide tradition of Spring Cleaning Choirs to benefit the elders in their community.

Park Elementary School, Durango, CO

Elementary students work to reduce social isolation in their school community by designing and leading a Kindness Fair with a range of activities and initiatives including encouraging community members to reach out and “Say Hello” to one another.

Peak Expeditionary School at Pennington, Wheat Ridge, CO

Fourth grade students raise awareness and support for citizens who are experiencing homelessness in the greater Denver Area by designing and installing a large mural map highlighting free resources and supports for the homeless community including shelters, food banks etc. 

Stevens Elementary School, Wheat Ridge, CO

Elementary students lead a full day of environmental conservation efforts including planting flowers in their community pollinator garden, building and hanging bird feeders, and painting a mural on our property with a conservation message to inspire action.

Summit View Elementary; Highlands Ranch, CO

Fourth grade students team up with the Colorado Parks department to protect and improve the health of local endangered or threatened species including planting native plants the animal might eat, helping with animal pattern observation, and creating a PSA to raise awareness and support. 

The Silverton School, Silverton, CO

Students wrap up a full year of social justice and economics expeditions by participating in social activism and service in San Diego in the areas of homelessness, migration, and the environment.

West Park Elementary, Leadville, CO

Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students lead projects that have personal relevance and benefit both locals and visitors to their remote mountain town.

William Smith High School, Aurora, CO

High school students educate their community and advocate around re-introduction of the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park including canvassing for the upcoming November election.


South Elementary School, Windsor Locks

Fifth grade students shape new and shared understandings of empathy in their school and local community by leading a school- wide Empathy Camp which features experiential activities and student-led discussions.


Amana Academy, Alpharetta, GA

Students support and care for local citizens experiencing homelessness by creating and donating a livable hut, artistic quilts, and essential care boxes- all while documenting their work through social media,  film and podcasts.

Brighten Academy Charter School, Douglasville, GA

Third grade students lead a Market Day Expo to raise funds and awareness for a school named Brighten Academy (same name!) in Ethiopia including creating a PSA to address access to water and education.

Glennwood Elementary, Decatur, GA 

Elementary students educate and advocate within their local community by hosting a library card drive to ensure every student/family has equal access to books. 

Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy, Atlanta, GA

Students in Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth grade work with the City of Refuge, their local homeless shelter, to provide important services including making goody bags and craft projects for the families, preparing meals, cleaning, updating, and fixing low maintenance items. 

Oakhurst Elementary School, Decatur, GA

Elementary students promote and celebrate literacy in their community by collecting, wrapping and donating  365 gently used children’s books (one for each day of the year) to two local homeless support organizations: Hagar’s House (shelter for women and families) and Our House (daycare center for children experiencing homelessness who are not yet in school). 

Westchester, Decatur, GA

Elementary students care for Wolfpack Creek and Hidden Cove Park, which are both adjacent to the school campus, in a range of ways including cleaning and beautifying the spaces, planting spring produce, and making sure the trails and streams are clean of debris.


Anser Charter School, Boise, ID

Students use design thinking to develop a plan for Better World Day. 

Palouse Prairie Charter School , Palouse, ID

Students work towards equity in their community by addressing food insecurity (their county ranks second to last of the 44 counties in Idaho) in various ways including conducting a food drive, building tiny food pantries, and installing them in low income areas of need.

Pocatello Community Charter School, Pocatello, ID

Students collaborate with their city to protect the local Portneuf River and celebrate this important work with a community wide day together.

Sunnyside Elementary, Idaho Falls, ID

Elementary students build relationships with students from a range of other local schools and beautify their city by hosting a clean up of their city parks in Idaho Falls.


Elgin Math and Science Academy, Elgin, IL

Students care for the forest preserve that their school stands on by tending to the trees, some that are hundreds of years old. 

Marquette School of Excellence, Chicago, IL

Students lead environmental stewardship in their community by hosting a community clean up, planting trees around the school community, and working with community members to create a mural within the school.

Polaris Charter School, Chicago, IL

Students develop a plan for celebration and service in Chicago.


Edgewood Elementary, Michigan City, IN

Elementary students combat food insecurity in their own neighborhoods by creating and stocking “food boxes” filled with non-perishable food items to help families in need.

Marsh School, Michigan City, IN 

Students work towards equity for all school community members by creating resource packs for those among them in need- basic school supplies, a school shirt, and some reading materials- to support success for all.

Pine Elementary School, Michigan City, IN

Sixth grade students support and raise excitement for their local parks by providing cleaning and planting services for all to enjoy.

York Elementary School; Bristol, IN

Elementary students improve their community by helping to manage and maintain the popular, paved, multi-use nature trail in their neighborhood.


Monroe Elementary, Des Moines, IA

Elementary students give back to their community support organization, Meals From The Heartland, in multiple ways including packing meals and making blankets for a local shelter.


Casco Bay High School. Portland, ME

Tenth grade students explore the overarching questions of Crew: Who am I? How am I doing? What are my plans for the future? and create unique community service initiatives ranging from cleaning trails to working with elementary-age children to spending time with the elderly. 

West Bath School, West Bath, ME

Students develop a plan with the nearby homeless shelter to improve the lives of citizens experiencing homelessness.


Lillie  May Carroll Jackson Charter School, Baltimore, MD

Students give back to their community by working with local community associations to beautify the neighborhood around their building. 

Monarch Academy Public Charter School, Glen Burnie, MD

Students work for social justice by revitalizing the play areas in local homeless shelters for the children living there as well as serving hot meals and bagged lunches to those who are hungry. 


Baystate Academy Charter Public School, Springfield, MA

Students take action to improve food deserts in their city by developing blueprints for a city-wide garden and presenting these proposals to the mayor of their city.

Christa McAuliffe Charter School, Framingham, MA

Eighth grade students organize a community-wide day of action to encourage people who live and work in their community to find a lower-emissions way of traveling through their city. 

Codman Academy Charter Public School; Boston, MA

Middle school students work to end homelessness in the Boston area by continuing to strengthen their relationship with multiple community partner organizations, and spending time doing on-site work at shelters.

Four Rivers, Greenfield, MA

High school seniors initiate, advance and support community action and activism in their city with Project Do One Thing which includes a range of activities such as cooking for the local community meals program, working on a Pioneer Valley Habitat build this spring, leading a “No Idling” initiative, or working with Climate Action Now. 

Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School, Sturbridge, MA

Students host activities in their school’s living museum common area and in the adjacent historic houses that promote awareness and justice for those experiencing homelessness including a food drive and educating visitors about those displaced by weather disasters in Puerto Rico.


Burns Elementary, Detroit, MI

Elementary and middle school students develop a plan to promote literacy in their community.

Chrysler Elementary School, Detroit, MI

Elementary students develop a plan to contribute to a better world.

Detroit Achievement Academy, Detroit, MI

Students build inclusive and equitable communities in the city of Detroit by introducing their community to resources that will help them connect with their environment and lead healthy lives including the Detroit Audubon Society, Bees in the D, Big Green and the Department of Natural Resources. 

Detroit Prep, Detroit, MI

Students develop a plan to promote environmental stewardship in their city.

Flint Cultural Center, Flint, MI 

Elementary students work towards food justice by opening a Seasonal Pantry for local citizens in need and advocating for equitable food access with their mayor and state senator.

Greenfield Union Elementary and Middle School, Detroit, MI

Students lead a school- wide clean up and introduce composting and increased support for classrooms in their efforts to recycle paper, plastic and glass.

Nichols Elementary-Middle, Detroit, MI 

Fourth grade students lead their school’s  library revamp including raising awareness, securing support funds, cleaning and organizing the space,  and adding high-interest graphic novels to their collection. 

Old Mission Peninsula School, Traverse City, MI

Students lead a school-wide effort to support local people experiencing homelessness in a range of ways including gathering supplies to make personal hygiene packs, hosting a can drive to collect food, and making tie blankets. 

Ralph J. Bunche Preparatory Academy, Detroit, MI 

Students share their love of reading with the elderly by spending time in person as well as creating care baskets for their new friends.


Schoolcraft Learning Community, Bemidji, MN

Students spread awareness and create safe spaces for pollinators by building pollinator houses and a pollinator garden in their community. 

Open World Learning Community, St. Paul, MN

Students hold a community-wide food packing event providing highly nutritious meals to people experiencing hunger around the world including producing 30,000 packed meals on Better World Day.  


Francis Street Primary School, Jackson, MI

Students promote kindness in their school, their neighborhood, and throughout the local community in many ways including making cards to give to our local police officers, hosting a lunch for the officers, leading a local parade to promote kindness and wearing bright yellow shirts to promote the message,” Be More Kind”.

New York

Brooklyn Collaborative School, Brooklyn, NY

Students raise awareness about hunger and community service by helping to cook and home-deliver nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves. 

Brighton Academy, Syracuse, NY

Seventh grade students build relationships while supporting local citizens by teaming up with Expeditionary Learning Middle School seventh grade students to create bagged meals to help feed people experiencing homelessness in their city.

Channel View School for Research, Rockaway Park, NY 

Sixth grade students team up with the department of environmental conservation to plant trees and shrubs around their community and schools grounds to continue learning in their expedition on Earth’s Changing Climate.

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School, Rochester, NY

Junior high and high school students raise awareness and support their bilingual community.  

Expeditionary Learning Middle School (ELMS), Syracuse NY

Seventh grade students build relationships while supporting local citizens by teaming up with Brighton Academy seventh grade students to create bagged meals to help feed people experiencing homelessness in their city.

Genesee Community Charter School, Rochester, NY

Students develop a plan to contribute to a better world.

Launch Charter School, Brooklyn, NY 

Students lead a school-wide collaboration with local aid organization,  The Campaign Against Hunger to help end hunger in their community by working in the food pantry, working on farms and in community gardens, and more.  

Leaders High School, Brooklyn NY

Students lead work on building inclusive, equitable communities by raising awareness for LGBTQ+ Histories, doing community gardening and food justice work, and promoting restorative practices. 

Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School; Staten Island, NY

Students contribute from a wide range of projects including raising awareness for social isolation in their direct school community to foster a culture of belonging and acceptance, partnering  with Staten Island Giving Circle’s Backpack food program to collect and donate nonperishable food items for disadvantaged students in need, and engaging in outdoor beautification work.

Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School, Queens, NY

Ninth grade students fan out across New York City to engage in a service project derived from their research and application of the design process during the expedition: Great Power, Great Responsibility.  

MS 839, Brooklyn, NY

Students work to help people stop using single-use plastic bottles in their Zero Single-Use Water Bottle School Campaign which includes creating a podcast, creating a sculpture (out of recycled bottles) or a poster (to put over the water fountains throughout the school), contacting various news outlets, elected officials and other stakeholders who can help make change, and planning a neighborhood rally to raise awareness and gather support for this issue.

Niagara Charter School Niagara Falls, NY 

Students support people with developmental disabilities by working alongside them and holding a school wide can/bottle drive to help provide the materials needed to sustain their paid work.

Pelham Lab High School, Bronx, NY

High school students lead a whole school, full day service learning day to multiple sites including the Bronx River, local parks and soup kitchens. 

Ripley Central School, Ripley, NY 

Students work with the Town of Ripley, to complete a community clean up to beautify their local area.

Silver Creek Central School District, Silver Creek, NY

Sixth grade students work to improve social emotional health in their school community by creating PSAs to be recorded and broadcast on our school website, creating displays to showcase their research and demonstrate ways that students and the community can benefit from teaming together and how to calm anxious hearts.

Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo, NY

Students develop a plan for contributing to a better world.

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), New York, NY 

Students volunteer with “Habitat for Humanity, Little Builders” and contribute by creating  care packages with snacks and hand written notes for volunteers on site as they grow their understanding of advocacy for the homeless in their community.

West End Secondary School, New York, NY

Tenth grade students build relationships and help ignite a passion for literacy by partnering with local elementary students as reading buddies with a culminating activity of creating a short story to publish and share with their community.

World of Inquiry School 58; Rochester NY

Students lead their community to environmental stewardship by  hosting a myriad of events including a Mother’s Day plant giveaway,a kitchen composting workshop, a clean sweep in the neighborhood, and a mindfulness event in our peace garden. 

North Carolina

Aversboro Elementary, Garner, NC 

Students propose strategies for combatting the effects of natural disasters to local legislators including ways to decrease the carbon footprint throughout the state, how to learn from responses to the Australia fires, and their reflections on responses to recent local disasters such as Hurricane Matthew.

Evergreen, Asheville, NC

Students team up with students from Franklin School of Innovation in Asheville to complete an education/restoration project in connection to the French Broad River watershed.  

Huntersville Elementary School, Huntersville, NC

Kindergarten students develop compassion as they work alongside their parents to create Summer Literacy bags for local kids in need. 

Rogers Lane Elementary School, Raleigh, NC

Elementary students work for equity and bring the EL Education curriculum to life by leading grade level initiatives including creating a pollinator garden, crafting remembrance rocks, and educating their community about water conservation.


Citizens Leadership Academy, Cleveland, OH

Students host a celebration of active citizenship to highlight a wide range of service projects from each Crew.

Citizens Leadership Academy Southeast- Cleveland, OH

Students help create a cleaner world for all of us to live in by designing and proposing a reduce, reuse, recycle plan to their school administrators, working to increase recycling in their school community by 100% by Spring 2021, and protesting at the Cleveland City Council its recent decision to opt out of the county’s recently passed plastic bag ban. 

Graham Elementary and Middle School, Columbus

Eighth grade students build local connections and deepen intergenerational understanding with public presentations of their original stories of the 2020 Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame inductees at their community- wide Celebration of Learning and Food Truck-A-Thon event. 

Mt Washington School, Cincinnati, OH 

Students lead a school wide contribution to their community that spans several topics including kindergarten and first grade students beautifying landscaping around their school building, second and third grade students competing in a penny war to raise money for the Cincinnati Zoo Pollination and Amphibian Programs, and fourth and fifth grade students partnering with the local American Legion to identify and connect with local Veterans in hopes of getting them involved in the school.

The Graham School, Columbus, OH

High school students contribute to a better world with a wide range of service projects including creating a pollinator garden on school grounds, helping families of people with disabilities, creating murals, and creating clean, welcoming spaces for the Graham community.


City View Charter School, Hillsboro, OR 

Students lead a school wide day of service to clean up a local park together.

Realms High School, Bend, OR

High School students put the learning from their “Power and Privilege” expedition to work with the large number of people experiencing homelessness in their local area by partnering with several aid organizations.

Realms Middle School, Bend, OR

Middle school students host a tour of their school’s garden and food waste composting systems  for community members, stakeholders, and parents to build awareness and support for their new food recovery program which donates food to local citizens experiencing homelessness or marginalized housing.


Propel Charter Schools-Braddock Hills, Pittsburgh, PA

Seventh grade students work to supply clean water to a community in Ghana, West Africa by funding the building of a water well there (inspired by  EL’s Module 1: Unit 1: Guiding Text; A Long Walk to Water). 

Propel Montour Middle School, McKees Rocks, PA

Eighth grade students apply their learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by advocating for human rights in their own community in a range of ways including installing large scale murals, leading community-wide clean up days, and creating a social media campaign that tackles racial division.

Rhode Island

The Greene School, West Greenwich, RI

Eleventh grade students team up with middle school students from across the state to lead a Call- To- Action promoting engaged citizenship and active leadership around global changes in biodiversity and the impact it has on their local communities.  

South Carolina 

Gilbert High School, Gilbert, SC

High school students lead a celebration of Crew Community Service projects and Decision Day, recognizing the post-secondary decisions of students, including College, Military, and Trade School. 

Meadow Glen Elementary School, Lexington, SC

Elementary students make their world a better place by being stewards of the environment  and helping to identify problems on campus and stewardship opportunities (ie., littering and waste management). 

Meadow Glen Middle School, Lexington, SC

Students address issues surrounding water quality, pollution, urban sprawl on their local Lake Murray in multiple ways including planting trees on nearby Dreher Island.  


Magna, Kearns, UT

Students from upper grades collaborate with students from younger grades on multiple service projects from the local Food Bank including creating blankets, and making upcycled beds out of grocery bags.

Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning, Perry, UT

Seventh and eighth grade students increase access to books in their rural community where many people have limited access to the nearby public library and rely on the Book Mobile or the school library by building and stocking Little Free Lending libraries. 


Kettle Falls Elementary, Kettle Falls, WA 

Fourth grade students lead multiple service projects on Better World Day.  

Kettle Falls High School, Kettle Falls, WA

High School students partner with the National Parks to complete park clean up projects in the Lake Roosevelt National Parks area of Old Kettle. 

Kettle Falls Middle School, Kettle Falls, WA 

Students partner with a wide range of community partners to complete a needed project including  Kettle Falls Senior Citizens, American Legion and Grandview Cemetery, Say Hello Campaign, Seventh Day Adventist Church, and Colville National Forest for trail clean up.

Washington, D.C.

Capital City Public Charter School

Eighth grade students engage and educate their local and school community on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with an exhibition including human rights stories from students, art work,   

Two Rivers Public Charter School- 4th Street Campus, Washington D.C. 

Fourth grade and sixth grade students put their knowledge of the local Anacostia Watershed and climate change to work by teaming up to clean up nearby Kingman Island.

Two Rivers Public Charter School-Young Campus, Washington, D.C.

Fourth grade students give back to their local community by conducting a clean up of Anacostia Park or Kingman Island.

West Virginia

Grandview Elementary School, Charleston, WV

Students head up an initiative entitled “Save Our Space”  (SOS), which works to beautify the local neighborhood especially reducing litter.


Arbor Vitae Woodruff Elementary School, Arbor Vitae, WI

Fourth grade students and their seventh grade buddy crews lead their community towards equity by transforming their school’s traditional playground space into an inclusive play space for all students. 

Atwater Elementary, Shorewood, WI

Students disrupt systemic inequities through the power of literacy by hosting an all school read-in, community discussion, and book drive.

Frank Elementary, Kenosha, WI

As Kid Captains for Better World Day’s Building Inclusive Communities Team, students promote the “Say Hello” campaign spreading the word and philosophy of widespread kindness and intentional community. 

Harborside Academy, Kenosha, WI

High school students build a Kenosha that is nicer and more equitable, “one hello at a time” through their  “Say Hello” campaign which includes creating original PSAs and collaborating with local businesses and schools as well as teaming up with elementary school students to work with Kenosha’s Park Department to prepare parks for summer use. 

Jefferson Elementary, Kenosha, WI

Elementary students build a friendlier and more inclusive environment by collaborating with local schools to promote the “Say Hello” campaign as well as teaming up with high school students to work with Kenosha’s Park Department to prepare parks for summer use. 

Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Academy, Milwaukee, WI

Students advocate for equitable access to literature by acting as reading buddies to engage and motivate their youngest peers. 

St. Joseph Academy Milwaukee, WI

Students give back to their community by attending a beach clean up in downtown Milwaukee at Bradford Beach and participating in a discussion on the impact of the climate crisis on their city.

Vernon Elementary, Kenosha, WI

Elementary students create a school- wide recycling initiative to better their community and the world.