Education & Schools

The Office of Sustainability Schools Program, previously under the RecycleWorks Program, is proud to work with students, teachers, and administrators throughout San Mateo County for over fifteen years. Our primary mission is for students to take action to conserve resources and help protect our environment.

UPDATE (1/7/19) – The OOS is now accepting applications for the next cycle of the 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – Compost) Grants Program! For additional information, including the grants guidelines and applications, please click here!

Free Services

We offer schools and youth programs in San Mateo County the following free services, which reach out to approximately 5,000 educators and students per year. School-wide and grade level assemblies on the 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot/Compost).

  • School-wide and grade level assemblies on the 4R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot/Compost).
  • Classroom presentations and workshops on worm composting, backyard composting, and reuse projects such as making colored spin wheels from old CD’s or reusable bags from old t-shirts.
  • 4R’s classroom field trips to local transfer stations, material recovery facilities and/or closed and open landfills (please note – a limited number of classroom field trips are awarded per year and teachers must apply through our lottery system via application found in our annual schools newsletter).
  • Assistance with setting up a Be Seen Keepin’ It Clean school-wide event in coordination with the San Mateo County Office of Education and local garbage and recycling companies.
  • Technical assistance to teachers on ways to connect resource conservation / environmental education curricula into their classroom lessons.
  • Assistance to green teams, environmental clubs, and school staff on conducting school and district-wide waste assessment to analyze ways in which to improve recycling, composting, and reuse on school campuses.
  • Teacher / youth leader training workshops integrating the following topics into classroom lessons aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards: Litter Collection Event, the 4R’s Games, Building Solar Ovens and Colored Spin Wheels out of Reusable Materials, and Making Paper out of Recycled Paper.
  • Resources for educators to create interactive project-based lessons by checking out our paper making kit, solar oven kit, 4R’s Game kit, and CD colored spin wheel kit, and worm composting kit.
  • To request one of these free services please email:

Kids Make a Connection

Kids can learn about the connection between natural resources and their daily consumption and disposal habits by visiting the Office of Sustainability Schools Program Kids web page.

Green Star Schools Program

Certify your classrooms, schools, and districts under our Green Star Schools Program through five environmental pathways: waste, transportation, energy, water, and schoolyard. To learn more about this dynamic program for schools in San Mateo County please visit the Green Star Schools Program website or, for technical assistance on this certification program, please email We are also happy to help via classroom visits.

Curriculum Resources

Here we have compiled a variety of grade level NGSS correlated teacher lesson plans and activities. These activities compliment the OOS school programs and can be used for pre and post activities as well as stand-alone curriculum for any teacher wanting to explore these concepts.

YESS (Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science)

The YESS (Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science) curriculum is available to middle school and high school teachers throughout San Mateo County. Resources provided to teachers for this program includes field trips, interactive classroom lessons, and assistance with a community project. To learn more visit


Click here to view or download the most recent version of our schools newsletter, where you will be able to find tons of informational resources for your school and classroom.

Student Project Highlights

We are so fortunate to get to interact with so many students in San Mateo County around the 4Rs and sustainability! Here are some of our favorites for you to enjoy!