Welcome to the Green Academy at WHSTop of Page

What is the Green Academy?Top of Page

WHS ‘Efficient Use of Water and Energy Academy,’ or Green Academy

Vision: To build a lasting small-school academy within Woodside High School that will prepare the school’s next generation of leaders for careers in the Green Technology and Environmental Sustainability field.

Mission: Students in the Green Academy will be inspired both in and outside the traditional classroom to become stewards of their environment, leaders in their communities, and innovators in the field of green technology.

As a 'school within a school' we offer:

  • Science-based, project-oriented learning and an interdisciplinary approach to subjects
  • Cross-curricular focus within four core Academy classes
  • Collaboration among academy teachers to support student learning
  • Smaller class size, making instruction more intimate and personal for students
  • Numerous extracurricular and field trip opportunities
  • Specific green career and college readiness focus
  • Closely monitored attendance and academic progress, and regular communication with parents
  • Access to representatives from local green industries and professions who serve as mentors to students
  • Special graduation ceremony in addition to school-wide graduation

Green Academy Course DescriptionsTop of Page

All courses are A-G Approved, including CTE Courses

 CORE ACADEMIC COURSES-Include emphasis on environmental issues

Social Studies: Modern European History, US History, Economics and American Government

 Science: Environmental Biology and Environmental Chemistry

 English II, III and IV


Environmental Horticulture Science (GA CTE I)

This course serves as the first year elective/CTE course for students enrolled in the Green Academy. It addresses sustainability and the use of natural resources in the context of agriculture, biology and horticulture. It offers a course of study focused on aspects integral to the study of environmental science, including energy and alternative energy sources, use of natural resources, soil science, food production and distribution, plant identification and topics related to climate. As part of the curriculum students maintain a large on-site organic garden, complete with dozens of fruit trees, nine raised bed gardens, two greenhouses, a composting system, five bee hives, 17 chickens and an outdoor classroom. Additionally, students travel off site on curriculum-related study trips twice per semester.

Water: California’s Liquid Gold (GA CTE II)

 This course serves as the second year elective/CTE course for students enrolled in the Green Academy. This course continues to build on energy and concepts concerning use of natural resources as Environmental Horticulture: GA CTE I. This class provides in-depth exploration of the fundamentals of water resource use, management and conservation, as well as the economic, political, and scientific controversies that surround water use in California and the Western United States. After a foundation of basic concepts (natural systems, watersheds, water rights, and resource use), students examine how local, State and Federal Government projects (LA Aqueduct, Central Valley Project, State Water Project, the Hetch Hetchy System and the Colorado River Aqueduct) have influenced the growth of agribusiness and population within California. The class concludes by examining current events affecting the status-quo of California's water use (drought, San Joaquin River Restoration Project, the Peripheral Canal plan, the environmental health of the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River Delta). For reference and perspective, students also study water use and scarcity in a variety of other countries. In this way concepts of human geography are studied in relation water consumption, distribution, and management.

As part of this course, students are paired with industry professionals in a yearlong mentorship relationship.  Course content supports connection to water-related environmental fields through field trips to the local wastewater treatment plant, creek monitoring and testing labs, and visits by mentors who work in energy and natural resource-related fields. Through this course students have the opportunity to become officially certified with the US Environmental Protection Agency in Watershed Training.

Sustainable Design (GA CTE III)

This course serves as the third year elective/CTE course for students enrolled in the Green Academy. This course continues to build on concepts and controversies covered in GA CTE I and GA CTE II. The core of the first semester is Strategic Energy Innovations' Sustainability Certification Course: Green Building.  Students explore the benefits and general concepts behind green building design and features, government programs and initiatives, and the implementation of green building measures to reduce social, environmental, and economic impacts.  Topics covered are sustainable living, the science of buildings, the construction process, energy and water conserving residential systems, and sustainable materials.

The second semester implements Project Lead the Way's Introduction to Engineering Design curriculum to provide the students with an understanding of the engineering design process and the basic sketching skills used to communicate their designs. The students are given a working knowledge of Computer Aided Design, with which they design and build a model home.

The focus of instruction is on providing students with a foundation in green building concepts and practices. Through this course, students gain skills directly applicable to the expanding green trades, gaining an ability to identify and evaluate green building sites and features and opportunities for improving the functionality of a building in order to reduce resource consumption and improve indoor air quality. The course addresses areas of workforce growth in California and provides the necessary context for students as they move towards such fields. Career pathways in a variety disciplines are discussed, and are the topic of individual student research. The course also provides them with a theoretical background as they pursue academic studies and careers in environmental and science.

The WHS GardenTop of Page

Green Academy Student VolunteeringTop of Page

Community Service with an Enviornmental Theme
July 2015 - WHS Green Academy students traveled to San Allende, Mexico to install the SunSprings at Crisma, the rehabilitation center for disabled children. The center was in danger of being shut down. The center will sell the purified water to the community, for a discounted price, so they can remain open. Thanks to the help of Redwood City's Rotary and H2OpenDoors.
2013 - Present -WHS Green Academy students participate in Stulsaft Park Stewards program on Wednesday afternoons. They learn about local flora, fauna, nd park infrastructure. They help with trail mainetenance and removal of invasive species, and conduct outreach to local elementary schools. In addition, they conduct water quality testing by examining insect populations in the creek.
Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day - WHS Green Academy students help clean local creeks and estuaries in Redwood City and East Palo Alto each September.

Green Academy Students Make News!Top of Page

    Woodside partnered with Roary to deliver a solar powered water filtration
system to Ciudad Guzman, Mexico.
  • Which school is cool?
    The Almanac's Dave Boyce takes a look at two schools' respective approaches towards a Green curriculum and career pathways
  • WHS Green Academy on EcoCompany TV
    We were on national TV!
  • Green Academy students partner with 4-H for redwood tree planting project
    See WHS Green Academy students volunteer to plant redwood trees with the 4-H Million Trees Project
  • Green Academy Field TripsTop of Page

    Sustainable farming practices are studied in the Green Academy

    Students were trained in energy efficiency by Acterra representatives

    Teacher Josh Rubin brings Students to wind farm

    Academy Menor Program, Sponsors and Industry PartnersTop of Page


    “The Mentor Program was one of the best experiences I had in high school. I really got to see

    how things are out in the real world.”

    “My mentor and I had so much in common. It was great to know someone who had been

    to college and help me think it was something I could do.”


    Each year the Academy Mentor program pairs 11th grade Academy students with a professional adult from the community. Student career interests are widespread, and range from environmental design, business and technology to medicine and law enforcement.  The mentor provides guidance and advice in directing students toward a successful academic and professional career.  In addition, the mentor serves as a role model for students by demonstrating professionalism so students can understand what attributes are necessary to be successful in a career and in life.

    Time commitment: Serving as an effective mentor requires approximately 2-4 hours per month, from October through May. The mentor and student are expected to contact each other every two weeks via e-mail, telephone, or face to face meetings.  (The participants decide what communication method is most convenient.) With the guidance of the instructor, the student will initiate the majority of these contacts, and two of the face-to-to face meetings take place on Woodside’s campus at our Mentor Breakfast events. While the mentor-mentee relationship officially ends after 11th grade, most mentors and their students remain in contact through graduation.

    Objectives for the Student: Develop an awareness of business and career opportunities, improve self-esteem, increase knowledge of the relationship between school and work, establish relationship with a successful, working adult, develop a deepened understanding of how to make goals and to keep them.

    Objectives for the Mentor:  Make a difference in the life of a teen who needs your friendship and support, contribute to successful graduation rates, increase the number of responsible community members and employees in California.


    To volunteer, or for further information, please contact:

    Faith Velschow

    Director of Mentoring and Career Services


    Current mentors include representatives from: Adobe / Advocates for Athletes / American Express /  Business Travel / Apple / Arterra Landscape Architects / American Society of Landscape Architects / Buck’s of Woodside / City Living Expos / Cloudera / County of San Mateo District Attorney /David Thorne, Landscape Architect / Design Work / Environmental General Counsel LLP / Express Global Business Travel /Facebook / Google / Haus / Law Office of Mitri Hanania / Lucille Packard Children's Hospital / Lyngso/ Oak Grove Chiropractic & Wellness / O|CB Studio / Paradigm Design Group / Pentair Electrical / Pon & Associates / Redwood City Parks Department / Sage Cuisine / San Mateo County Office of Sustainability / San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office / San Mateo Credit Union / SAP Software Solutions / Seneca Family of Agencies /Sequoia Union High School District, Board of Trustees / Silicon Valley Clean Water / Stanford University, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Psychology Stanford’s Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWit) /  Torani / WL Butler Construction /Woodside Bakery & Café / Woodside Fire Protection District

    SPONSORS AND INDUSTRY PARTNERS - The Green Academy's many success are due to the donations and support of generous businesses and organizations: Sequoia Union High School District /  / San Mateo County Office of Education / Acterra / Buck's of Woodside / The Foundation for Youth / Investment / Grassroots Ecology / Grousbeck Family Foundation / Hidden Villa Ranch / Lyngso / Oracle / RecycleWorks / Safe Routes to Schools / The San Francisco Water Department / Silicon Valley Clean Water / South System Bayside Authority / The Swain Barber Foundation

    Green Academy PhotosTop of Page

    Green Academy Staff Members - Email us!Top of Page

    Akey, Ann  40602 globe symbol
    Environmental Chemistry and AP Environmental Science
    Green Academy Modern European History, Water Resources: CTE II & Green Academy Coordinator
      Green Academy US History
    Green Academy Economics, American Government
    Ortiz, Davina  40609 globe symbol
      Environmental Biology, Environmental Horticulture: CTE I
    Environmental Design: CTE III
    Hagler-Rizkalla, Monique 40306  globe symbol
    Green Academy English II, III, IV