Roots of Success for High Schools

Download a One Page Description of Roots of Success for High Schools and Youth Programs


I believe that the Roots of Success curriculum has the ability to be a powerful resource for teachers in low-performing schools across the country who are providing instruction to a diverse group of students that for various reasons are struggling to be successful and complete their degree. From the perspective of a student, the course content is not intimidating and promotes success through an engaging, multi-media, relevant approach. The curriculum captures students’ attention and gets them interested so that they want to learn, which as an educator I have found to be the secret to success.
-Don Davis, Superintendent of the Waterford Unified School District

Roots of Success for High Schools is an empowering environmental literacy and work readiness curriculum that prepares youth from communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment for environmental careers. The curriculum is aligned to the nationally recognized Common Core English Language Arts College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards and meets state environmental literacy standards.

Specifically designed for students that are struggling in school, Roots of Success increases knowledge about environmental problems and solutions, strengthens core academic skills, inspires behavioral change, and familiarizes youth with jobs and career pathways in multiple sectors of the economy.

Roots of Success for High Schools is built on a dynamic and flexible pedagogy that champions collaboration, problem solving and student leadership. The focus is on student success, making learning relevant, building on student’s prior experience, and connecting education to employment. The curriculum works because it is engaging, adaptable, affordable, easy to teach, and works well for students with different learning styles and from diverse backgrounds.

Teachers combine multimedia presentations with classroom discussions — using videos, visuals, group work, oral presentations, academic exercises, and activities to stimulate student engagement and retention. Videos feature youth and focus on examples of young people having a positive impact in their schools and neighborhoods. Activities and exercises challenge students to apply what they area learning in the classroom to real world problems. Each module includes information on environmental careers and career pathways across multiple sectors of the economy.

Career Technical High schools (CTE) can integrate Roots of Success into hard skills courses as well as courses focused on Small Business Management, Problem Solving in the Workplace, and Career Exploration: Charting Your Future, among others. The curriculum, which has a module on Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship, can be taught in a number of CTE curriculum pathways, including: “entrepreneurship pathway,” “careers in the clean energy economy pathway,” and a “STEM pathway.”

The curriculum includes 10 modules; teachers can teach as many or as few modules as they choose:

  • Fundamentals of Environmental Literacy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Transportation
  • Energy
  • Building
  • Health, Food & Agriculture
  • Community Organizing & Leadership
  • Application & Practice
  • Financial Literacy & Social Entrepreneurship