Skip To Main Content

Project-Based Learning for Community Impact

A mural depicting a woman and a man painted on a wall, showcasing their vibrant colors and expressive features.
Logo for National Ocean Guardian School, featuring a stylized wave and dolphin, symbolizing marine conservation efforts.

Korematsu Discovery Academy has been recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an Official Ocean Guardian School since 2021! What does that mean?

An Ocean Guardian School:

  • commits to propose and then implement school - or community-based conservation projects.
  • provides project(s) for students related to the conservation of local watersheds, the world's ocean, and/or special ocean areas, like national marine sanctuaries.
  • provides opportunities for students, teachers, parents and friends to participate in a range of environmental and sustainable activities.
  • provides learning programs and opportunities that reflect environmentally sustainable practices that enable all students to be environmentally active and committed "Ocean Guardians."
  • provides ways for classrooms to promote best environmental practices within local communities, while at the same time projecting a positive image of the school itself.

If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up.”

Fred T. Korematsu

East Bay Roots

In response to rising gun violence, the fourth grade and kindergarten classes shared experiences with grade level partners at several schools throughout the East Bay. Students hoped to strengthen their social root system while enhancing their communities by learning about and planting trees that will, in turn, restore their environment. We have a tradition of planting trees in Oakland while learning about how our Earth’s systems work together through our emphasis on STEM education. We were excited to have officially partnered with Growing Together Bay Area to make our annual community experience a Bay Area-wide opportunity after having planted over 1,000 trees in the last 4 years.

Watch Our Video

The Faces of E Street

Second grade students proposed a unique solution to trash being left near their school. Through this project, students took part in celebration of identity through creating self portraits to highlight the beauty of this community and to encourage others to think twice before illegally dumping. These self portraits still hang on E Street years later as a reminder that this is a community to be cherished and protected.

Watch Our Video

Plastic Pollution

Kindergarten students wondered, “What happens to the garbage by our school and where does it go?” They were shocked to discover most of that garbage ends up in the San Francisco Bay. Students worked to map hotspots on our school site, developed ideas for catching pollution in the drains, and even planned a community clean up and awareness campaign to teach people about the animals that are negatively harmed through plastic waste.

Clean Air Tree Planting

Fourth grade students worked together to learn about the importance of trees. They noticed there was a lack of green space and trees in our surrounding neighborhood and decided to take action to change that. Students worked together with local non-profit, Planting Justice, to bring trees to East Oakland families and residents. This has become a tradition at Korematsu Discovery Academy as we continue to build out our impact!

Watch Our Video

Helping Animals Get a Second Chance

5th graders noticed many stray animals around our neighborhood. They wanted to find out ways to support animals in finding homes. Through a partnership with Cat Town Cafe in downtown Oakland, students volunteered with some of the most vulnerable cats up for adoption. These cats are working on socialization, so the students learned ways to help the cats open up to human interaction through reading books, playing, and safely handling. After, they started a campaign to help these cats get adopted and collected donations for local animal shelters!

Learn More About Cat Town

A Day of Solidarity Across Borders

KDA students worked to address issues faced by newcomer families through immigration. Through lessons on immigration policies and learning from our Oakland newcomer communities, they developed a day of action to keep families together and advocate for immigration reform that included a mural with artist Pancho Pescador, letters to the governor, and even inviting students from Montclair and Esperanza Elementary.

Watch Our Video

Honoring Essential Workers During COVID-19

During the 2020-2021 school year, KDA students partnered with local organization, Planting Justice, to support families in choosing a fruit tree for their yard. In one of the biggest partnerships ever at our site, KDA students invited six additional sites to join in honoring essential workers by planting a tree in their name. Green air is clean air, and students learned the correlation between polluted air and asthma rates in their city. Through this project, KDA students were even able to deliver to essential healthcare workers in Oakland!

Read Our Story

Kindness Begins With Me

In response to youth mental health and witnessing instances of violence, students wanted to create a Kindness Campaign to help students start their day with a kind word, a smile, and a feeling of being welcome. They greeted students on the way in, passed out stickers to younger students, supported conflicts at recess, and created positive mantras to hang up around the neighborhood for people to take. For two days and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, students worked with artist Molly Keen to design a mural to serve as a symbol of kindness and compassion. Artist Molly Keen compiled all of their ideas into one collective piece.

Watch Our Video

Beach Clean Up

5th graders identified an issue facing our local oceans. They realized human impacts were negatively affecting marine wildlife and wanted to take action. Through a partnership with 4Ocean, students learned from scientists in the field who are working to clear the ocean of plastic waste. They were inspired to challenge the community to support in a beach cleanup to protect the local sea life. It was inspiring to see over 40 people join the efforts! Each student chose a marine animal to highlight in an awareness campaign going forward and received a 4Ocean bracelet to represent that animal.

Join the Clean Ocean Movement