Teachers host discussion on climate change for Brookline residents



On May 13th, educators of Brookline Public Schools held a Zoom meeting with residents to discuss the importance of including content on climate change in the science curriculum of Brookline schools.

The climate crisis is a growing problem in the world today. In the face of this crisis, many believe schools are not doing enough to educate students.

A small group of Brookline residents banded together to discuss climate change in a discussion held over Zoom on May 13. The event brought together people from a wide range of backgrounds, from middle school students to high school teachers, with all of them passionate about fighting for environmental protection and spreading awareness about climate change.

The program was led by Roger Grande, a social studies teacher at the high school, and was broken up into two sections. Grande spoke first and discussed the importance of teaching the severity of the climate crisis and possible implementations of climate activism in school curriculum.

Grande believes the community needs to come together to effectively combat climate change.

“Tonight is about empowering ourselves and taking control. It’s a vision for creating something great together,” Grande said.

History teacher Roger Grande hosted the discussion on May 13. Grande has long been an advocate for educating students on the issue of climate change. (PETER FINNERTY/SAGAMORE STAFF)

According to Francesca Stark, a fifth grade teacher at Driscoll, while many praise the high school for its progressive thinking, climate change is still not required to be taught to students. Stark also questioned the lack of administrative leadership in the matter.

“Kids expect environmental protection,” Stark said. “Why don’t curriculum coordinators or the superintendent?”

Stark said that teachers are struggling to teach climate-related units in addition to the provided curriculum. She wants curriculum coordinators to add more topics related to climate change to the curriculum.

“If I go to other teachers and say, hey, why don’t you do this, or put this in, the teachers have so much curriculum and they’ll say I’d love to do this but it’s extra,” Stark said. “I had to create a Keep Club because it’s not in the school day. It’s extra.”

Proposed climate change programs included having a designated practicum that would test students’ abilities to handle global issues to help students be more prepared in playing an active role in society.

Anjali Mitra, a senior at the high school, plays an active role in climate activism both locally and nationally. She suggested teaching students about the impact of polluting. For example, many people do not fully understand the rationale behind using less straws. She says it isn’t just to protect the turtles from clogging their nostrils but also because plastic isn’t biodegradable and can sit in the ocean for many years.

Teachers and students can only do so much without interfering with the provided curriculum. For Mitra, getting the support of people in power is crucial to make a significant change.

“Ultimately people in higher positions or positions of more power can act as change makers but also as role models,” Mitra said. “So if there is somebody at the top who’s willing to take bold climate action in regard to the school system they will hopefully inspire others to do the same.”