Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Guidelines for Excellence: Affiliate Level Coordination Pilot Program
***This post is the first in a series from four state affiliates that participated in a pilot program during 2019 that explored how affiliates could take the lead role for Guidelines for Excellence programs within their states. Funding for the pilot came from ee360. Look for posts from the other three states in future blog posts! - RLS
In 2015, the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education conducted a survey with over 200 environmental education providers and only 31% of respondents reported that they were using the Guidelines for Excellence in their programming. We have been interested in increasing that number and so the last several years we have been conducting trainings for the Guidelines for Excellence and working with Bora Simmons to offer an additional virtual training opportunity for those who were interested in becoming members of the Trainer’s Bureau and conducting their own trainings. However, all the administration of the Bureau happened at the national level and we had no formal way to track what trainings were happening in the state and if the number of environmental education providers using the Guidelines was growing. When we were presented with the opportunity to work with Bora Simmons and representatives from Oregon, Kentucky, and North Carolina to create a framework for Affiliates to sponsor a local Guidelines for Excellence Trainer’s Bureau, we were excited to be involved!
By working with the small team of affiliates, we were able to develop roles and responsibilities at the National Level, Affiliate Level, and at the Facilitator level. We were able standardize some of our data collection to make reporting between affiliates and NAAEE easier. We were also able to share potential forms, evaluations, and facilitator websites. At the same time, CAEE has been working with our Board of Directors to review our professional development opportunities and examine all the ways our members can build their professional skills in environmental education. Traditionally, we have always thought about professional development and training from the perspective of the participant. Now, we are looking for ways to provide opportunities to both individual participants and to environmental education organizations. An individual participant might be looking for workshops to attend on the Guidelines for Excellence, while an organization may want their managers and program directors to attend a train-the-trainer to be able to train their staff and volunteers, year after year.
In November, we introduced our existing trainers to the new formalized structure. We also launched a new professional development committee, made up of our members, with the goal of creating a new recognition for organizations who are incorporating the Guidelines for Excellence into their training and programming. We look forward to sharing more as the Colorado Guidelines for Excellence Trainer’s Bureau continues to develop!