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Environmental Charter Schools        September News 2012
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ECS New logo
You may not have mentioned it, but we knew... we needed a makeover! We’re excited to officially present our new school branding in the form of this new-looking newsletter. 

Our entirely new website launches soon and our new logo - don’t you love it?! - has been seen showing up at events, on campus, on student uniforms and staff gifts already.

(story continues...)  We hope you like how our logos ‘grow’ from Middle to High School and ‘culminate’ in the ECS network of schools mark.  As our network of schools grows, we are creating powerful expressions and structures to support our mission.

The new look, new web presence and our new Middle School campus (coming in 2013!) are benchmarks for our moving forward toward a bright and big future.  Stay tuned for our website launch and more news on our new Middle School site ...

Thank you to Haily Zaki, Sarah Shewey and Alli Takido - our brand development consulting team - for your work and support through this new branding process!

Not Just Another Day at the Beach
Among the many “How I spent my summer vacation” stories heard on campus when students returned to classes this fall, 14 seniors related tales of life-changing experiences. Slideshow and KPCC radio story follows...

(story continues...)  Month-long internships with The Nature Conservancy’s LEAF program took 11 seniors to Santa Cruz Island (click to link to: KPCC slideshow and radio story) and Montana -- far from their comfortable, urban lifestyles to remote areas where they participated in important scientific and environmental projects.

Four others traveled to Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas to participate in the prestigious Earthwatch Institute Fellowship program, which brings together global scientists, corporate and nonprofit partners, teachers, students and volunteers to engage in scientific field research and education aimed at promoting a sustainable environment.

“It’s amazing to see how much these students have changed in such a short period of time,” shared Vice Principal Mandy Breuer. “Their eyes have been opened to all sorts of new opportunities and now they’re on fire to do something amazing – to really make a difference in the world.”

The Nature Conservancy LEAF Program

We’re proud of our ECHS seniors who earned coveted spots in The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program: Keira Adams, Alejandra Bautista, Justice Davis, Stephanie Echeverria, Alfonso Macias, Ashley Rios, Glenda Sanchez, Sharon Tam, Patrick Valenzuela, Lenie Ventura and Mohamed “Mo” Younes.

How’s THIS for resume-building experience? Paid, to boot! During the course of the month-long internships, the students worked alongside Conservancy scientists to protect and restore habitat, save endangered species and remove non-native plants while learning about careers in conservation.  In addition to completing four paid work weeks, the interns visited three colleges and enjoyed camping, kayaking and swimming.

Earthwatch Institute Fellowship

Keira Adams (yes, she was accepted to both programs!) Esteban Gonzalez, Felipe Ontiveros and Sophia Cortes - congratulations on your fellowships!

Earthwatch’s mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education in order to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. As Earthwatch Student Fellows, our four seniors joined a diverse and prestigious community of scientists, educators, students, and businesspeople working together to find creative ways to respond to the defining challenges of our generation.

“The experiences have been huge confidence boosters, too,” Vice Principal Breuer added, emphasizing that for some of the students who previously had not been super-high-achievers academically, just being accepted into the programs has fueled a new drive and determination to excel in school – and beyond.
ECMS student graphs
All for One = Double for All: 5K Matching Grant is ON

With the new school year comes a heightened sense of urgency to overcome the financial challenge of losing our $300K after-school programs grant from the state.  At ECHS, challenges bring opportunities and we’re encouraged to have this great opportunity to share:

(story continues...) Help us raise at least $5,000 by this Oct. 31 and we’ll receive a matching grant of $5000 from the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation!

Our fundraising efforts won’t end here, but your donations will empower us on our road to recover losses for programs like summer school, test prep, family literacy and financial aid workshops, plus dances and field trips.

Please give today – and urge other friends of ECHS you know to give. For more information about the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation grant and to make your donation, visit

“Losing our after-school programs funding is devastating – above all, to our students,” said Alison Suffet Diaz, ECS founder and executive director.  “Some of our students’ greatest accomplishments don’t happen inside a classroom, so losing our after-school grant is a bitter pill to swallow.  We are urgently looking for ways to save our extracurricular programs and activities for the kids.”

While administrators, teachers and board of directors rally other fundraising efforts, ECHS is proud and invigorated to be part of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation matching grant challenge.  This “all or none” challenge inspires us to forge ahead in our community campaign.  ECHS must raise at least $5,000 in eligible contributions to qualify for the matching grant funds.

For those of you who donated during the summer and those who will donate today, we appreciate your commitment to innovative education and the students we serve.

For more information about the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation grant and to make your donation, visit
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Upcoming EVENTS
ECHS Dressed to Impress
Did you know?
Our Green Ambassadors Institute (GAI) offers UCLA accredited teacher-training.  Learn to implement our award-winning best practices and curriculum.  More info on this October's GAI class
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