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Better World Day 2021

Better World Day 2021: Friday May 7, 2021

Each year thousands of students from the EL Education network take action on Better World Day to contribute to their local communities, connect with each other, and celebrate meaningful student work. It’s a day where we get to experience school the way our students do every day: as a place where learning is the key to changing the world. In past years we’ve watched students successfully lobby state representatives to pass greater protections for foster care children, launch a woman’s history exhibit at a local museum, come together virtually across seven states to create a nationally recognized video, and more.

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What’s New for Better World Day 2021

Better World Day Media Grants

EL Education is sponsoring Better World Day Media Grants. These three (3) $2,000 Better World Day Media Grants will offer selected schools the opportunity to work directly with the EL Education media shop to create high quality Better World Day media! Schools will be selected by EL Education’s Student Advisory Council and their original Better World Day media will be featured and celebrated at the EL Education National Conference 2021.

Student Advisory Council

The Student Advisory Council (SAC) engages EL Education students as thought partners in the planning of key national events like Better World Day. This year, SAC will consult on Better World Day broadly including:

  • Serve on the Selection Committee for Better World Day Media Grants
  • Design the nationwide Opening and Closing Circles

Nationwide Virtual Gathering on Better World Day

EL Education will host a virtual Opening (11 am EST) and Closing (5 pm EST) Circle on Friday, May 7, 2021 to bring together participating schools nationwide in celebration. Designed by the Student Advisory Council, these two events will feature student speakers, performances, and expert guests, and are live streamed and open to any participating school.

FAQ for School Partners

2020 Events

In 2020, thousands of students took action for Better World Day by creating videos, paintings, sidewalk chalk creations, letters, and cards of appreciation for those who were demonstrating courage and kindness by helping others during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic—and posting them on social media with #BetterWorldDay. Follow hashtag #BetterWorldDay here and across social media to see how students took action in communities around the country!

2019 Events

From homeless outreach and advocacy in Bemidji, Minnesota, to trail maintenance in Kettle Falls, Washington, students at EL Education partner schools made their mark on the world in 2019! Below is a peek at the student-led events, representing just a handful of the 100+ activities that took place across the country.

Students and communities posted updates across all social media channels with hashtag #BetterWorldDay.

Brooklyn, NY: Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School

Middle school students work to end hunger in their community by planting at two Brooklyn farm sites, stocking a local food pantry, and creating packages for area children experiencing homelessness for the Campaign Against Hunger.

Detroit, MI: Detroit Public Schools Community District

Fifth-grade students at eight schools in the Detroit Community District are working to make literacy a civil right for their city. After studying The Universal Declaration of Human Rights through the EL Education K-5 Language Arts curriculum, they'll apply their knowledge to building and painting Little Free Libraries, hosting a book drive to stock them, and donating them to deserving local aid organizations.

Chicago, IL: Polaris Charter Academy

Students from kindergarten through 8th grade conduct research, engage partners, and complete community-improvement projects to address the abandoned properties and disinvestment surrounding their school.

Bend, OR: Realms High School

Tenth-graders advocate for humane and thoughtful treatment of the people living in a homeless encampment near their campus. Their "Power and Privilege" expedition culminates in students presenting a well-researched action plan to local agencies and to the community during an unveiling and donation drive.

Sturbridge, MA: Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School

Students lead a community-wide tree planting, starting on their own campus with a ceremony and celebration. Then, students spread out to other district communities to perform identical plantings throughout the region.

Muncie, IN: Inspire Academy

Students help clean up the polluted White River as part of an expedition titled "Sustaining Ecosystems," based on the EL Education Language Arts curriculum texts, "A World Without Fish" and "Flush."

Alpharetta, GA: Amana Academy

Younger students beautify community spaces by creating seed pods, bird feeders, and decorative planters; older students work to combat flooding at a local park and help build a tiny house for a local person in need.

Dorchester, MA: Codman Academy Charter Public School

Older students partner with local organizations to address hunger and homelessness in Boston, while younger students create pollinator gardens at six sites in nearby Codman Square.

Kettle Falls, WA: Kettle Falls High School

Students partner with the city of Kettle Falls, the National Park Service, and the Kettle Falls School District to complete service projects including trail maintenance, campground cleanup, and landscaping for the local library.

Kenosha, WI: Vernon Elementary

Elementary students help provide for local children in foster care by creating "Sweet Cases" filled with blankets, activities, and stuffed animals. Their collaboration with Together We Rise, a nonprofit for Foster Children, helps children going to new homes.

Bemidji, MN: Schoolcraft Learning Community

Students create first-aid kits for people experiencing homelessness as part of their expedition "How To Save a Life." This follows their study of CPR and first-aid training and research on how natural disasters and weather affects communities.

Check out all 100 student events that took place on Better World Day 2019 here.


More than 50,000 students, educators, and community members, and counting! These citizens are stepping up to serve their communities. With so many involved in one day of service, imagine the impact 1,000,000 EL students have had every day throughout 25 years of "getting smart to do good."

Better World Day in Flint, Michigan: A Catalyst for Contribution (Subtitled) from EL Education on Vimeo.

In the News

Better World Day caught fire last year! See highlights of 2019 media coverage from across the country:

Better World Day in Portland, Maine: A Higher Purpose from EL Education on Vimeo.