Getting Started in the ECA
The ECA (EcoSchools Certification Application) may seem like an ominous beast, but truly it is much less onerous to complete than our previous system. All it takes is getting used to what it wants, and that is easy enough! Let's take you through the basics.
Quick Links for Getting Started:
- EcoSchools tips during COVID
- Get Inspired Guide (PDF)
- Certification Guide 2021-22 (PDF)
- Sustainability Review document (PDF - helps you choose Actions)
- Plan Pathways 2021-22 (PDF - the "curated" Actions)
- List of all Actions (PDF - and connections to SDGs)
- EcoSchools Canada Calendar 2021/22 (PDF)
- TDSB EcoTeam Timeline Planner (PDF - help your team plan for each month)
This step is required each September to indicate your interest in being certified. There is no deadline, per se, but the sooner you and your team get started for the year, the better. The first time you register requires entering a bit of basic info on your school, but after that it's just a button click. A teacher must do the registration part. Watch the EcoSchools Canada Registration video, too. You register and log-in at https://app.ecoschools.ca. Bookmark it!
Adding your Team
The ECA has been designed to be easy enough for students to jump in and help fill out the questions. In fact, that's the expectation, especially for grades 5 and up. The ECA doesn't want any personal student info, but they do want one account per person. You can give student accounts animal names, initials, first names or whatever. They have a video on adding people you can watch.
Making a Plan for the year
Unlike in our old application, each school can now have a completely different plan of "actions" - it really depends on what your team and school want to do. There are 2 compulsory Actions that all schools must do, but that's it. Right after you register for the year, you can choose from a set of "curated" plans that have themes, or you can simply pick and choose from scratch. But no matter what, you are able to add or remove Actions at any time. The number of Actions that you complete does affect what level you can certify at - you can't get Platinum from doing only 5 Actions, for instance. And, there is a video all about making a plan.
We also have our own timeline/planner your team can use for school events and other monthly activities you want to keep track of.
Completing an Action
It's all well and good to have 20 Actions in your plan, but then what? Time to roll up the ol' sleeves and get to work! (Remember to get your ecoteam and other students to help out - delegate!) Luckily those EcoSchools Canada folks have a video on the subject of Actions. The thing you'll quickly notice is that each Action has the same structure, so it's easy to find the resources and worksheets you might need. Even the questions have a similar structure, so you and your students will get the hang of it fast.
Quick Links for EcoSchools Cananda