The page below is ARCHIVED information related to a past initiative of Global Source Education, the parent organization of EduCulture. Though these are not current projects of EduCulture, we feel there are valuable resources and information for educational purposes.
The Sustainable School Project is a Professional Development Program that will transform K-12 ecologies by reviewing school resources and operation. Through this process, the school community can be renewed from curriculum to landscape.
About the Sustainable Schools Project
The school itself shall be made a genuine form of active community life, instead of a place set apart in which to learn lessons. – John Dewey
To change ideas about the land is for is to change ideas about what anything is for. – Aldo Leopold
The Sustainable Schools Project aims to prepare schools and their communities for the future by re-imagining and re-designing classroom, school, and community ecologies to be contributors to abundance, health, vitality, and long-term durability. We seek to empower individual schools and districts to play an active role in evaluating their local needs and resources and developing projects and priorities for sustainable practices as part of classroom curricular activities.
The Sustainable Schools Project is grounded in the belief that schools can design and use applied curriculum to deliver:
• Integrated Systems for successful low-energy living:
• Food & Water & Low/Zero Waste Systems
• Green Construction, Facilities, and Materials & Appropriate Technologies
• Biodiverse Internal and External School Landscapes, Healthy Settings in All Aspects
• Sustainable Economic Systems
• Cooperative Teaching & Learning & Living Systems
The Sustainable Schools Project addresses:
• Organizing principles for transforming our school ecologies
• Resource abundance
• Economic stability & flexibility
• Ecological design
• Curricular relevancy (for schools and communities)
• Promoting and protecting cultural democracy
• Enriched and revitalized learning in all dimensions of human potential and fulfillment
• Bridging Classroom and Community
• Building a learning community
Stages and Phases of Educational Development
The project guides schools and districts to review and revise their practices in terms of their environmental impact. This work is done through seasonal retreats, on-site consultations, curriculum development, implementation and assessment, resource development, and other professional learning and community building activities.
The project will assess the school’s sustainability practices and ecological footprint by engaging educators, school staff, students, community and operations at curricular and practical levels. Using school curriculum to effect school change, teachers and students will work to initiate a series of planning steps and evaluations, aimed at finding authentic and meaningful ways to raising awareness, building knowledge and fostering engagement that build scholarship, citizenship and stewardship.
The process is democratic, participatory, critical and whole systems-minded, and inclusive of local and cultural perspectives. Our approach speaks of nested ecologies rather than a single ecology of anything. Any single ecology is multi-part in nature and internally indivisible so that longevity and reproduction is ensured. The essential elements are physical, bio-environmental, and human-cultural.
How can a school curriculum inform and affect a school’s ecological footprint?
In collaboration with Jonathan Scherch and Ed Mikel from Antioch University Seattle, we are launching this project to help teachers and students transform their schools into sustainable living and learning centers that conserve energy and accommodate climate transitions with competence and confidence.
The Sustainable Schools Project at Global Source Education with Breidablik Elementary School
Transforming school ecologies through scholarship, stewardship, and citizenship.
Planning Retreat : July 15-17, 2008
Global Source Education invited members of the Breidablik community to join us for three three days of professional learning centered around how transforming school ecologies can strengthen what we, as educators, already feel responsible for in our curriculum and schools. At the July planning retreat, educators and community members explored a variety of methods for schools to develop as sustainable living and learning centers that conserve energy and accommodate climate and resource transitions with competence, confidence, imagination, and great pleasure.
Our 2008 Summer Retreat offered dialogues and resources with a focus on specific school and community resources and needs. Assessments and solutions were based on whole systems thinking while addressing specific topics such as energy conservation, waste management, increased water availability, habitat creation and enhancement, and growing varieties of food and ornamental plants. We learned to evaluate how a physical ecology based on managing resources and waste can actually create abundance that expand opportunities and the quality of learning and experience.
This summer’s retreat at Breidablik will be followed by season phases of educational development focusing on observation, design planning and implementation. During the school year, the project will assess the school’s sustainability practices and ecological footprint by engaging educators, school staff, students and operations at curricular and practical levels. Using school curriculum to effect school change, teachers and students will work to initiate a series of planning steps and evaluations, aimed at finding authentic and meaningful ways to raising awareness, building knowledge and fostering engagement that build scholarship, citizenship and stewardship. We will come full circle in summer 2009 to reflect on the year’s progress and renew plans for the following school year.
Given the urgent need for a sustainable future, what are the roles of our K-12 schools?
How can we re-design our schools ecologically, collaboratively, and systemically to achieve resource abundance? Can we find the fun(ds) for doing this?
How can we engage our school communities in answering these questions?
How do we see schools serving as “the commons” ?
Day 1: Raise Awareness: Create Vision and Culture of Curriculum
Explore visions, learn concepts and skills, and review opportunities for sustainable development. Utilizing films, discussions, guest speakers, and small group collaborations for a day of stimulating insight.
Day 2: Build Knowledge: Practical Demonstrations
Turn concepts and imagination into practice regarding the underlying contexts and conditions for school sustainability. Identify and assess school assets. Explore how to deepen social, economic, civic and ecological values.
Day 3: Foster Engagement: Program Design and Curriculum Framework
Apply structure to your visions for sustainability. Using practical design techniques, participants will apply their learning to their respective schools.
Facilitated by Ed Mikel and Jonathan Scherch from Antioch University Seattle, and Jonathan Garfunkel, Founder and Managing Director of Global Source Education
Sustainable Schools Project Stages and Phases of Educational Development
Summer: Planning Retreat
Fall: Observation & Assessment
Summer: Reflections and Renewal
These seasonal retreats are for school staff and SSP Core Advisory Team and will be supplemented by on-site consultations, curriculum development, implementation and assessment, resource development, and other professional learning and community building activities.
The Journey to Becoming a Sustainable School
Summer 2006: Global Source Retreat Citizenship In a Global Age (focus on place-based education, teaching about the commons, and education for sustainability)
Summer 2006: J. Scherch invited to Breidablik
2006-07: Curricular Experimentation at Breidablik
Fall 2006: Global Source invited to work with Breidablik on 4 R’s
Fall 2006: Global Source launches Food, Farming, Culture & Education Program
Fall 2007: Global Source launches the Sustainable Schools Project (SSP)
Spring 2008: Breidablik signs to be our first SSP pilot school
July 2008: Breidablik SSP Retreat
August 2008: Breidablik Staff Inservice (connections & calendar across curriculum)
2008-09: A Year of Learning Locally at Breidablik
Fall 2008: Curricular Projects, Salmonpeople Program at Breidablik, Breidablik joined the Kitsap County & Agriculture Alliance, Stillwaters Sciences 3 day program
Winter 2009: Curricular Projects, Ron Hirshi 2 day visit to Breidablik, Breidablik joined the Mutt Mitt program, Breidablik hosts “Brush Out and Garden Clean up” work party, Breidablik established a composting site
Spring 2009: Curricular Projects, Ron Hirshi: All School to Hood Canal watershed survey program
Summer 2009: Curricular Projects, Sierra Club/Nan Woodman Rain Garden project, Pheasant Hill Farm assist in the creation of the garden at Breidablik, Kitsap County Master Gardeners, Jon Garfunkel Global/Local Presentation, 3-day summer planning and retreat The Work Continues.
Resources & References
A team from our Sustainable Schools Project at Breidablik Elementary (Poulsbo, WA) was invited to present at the Annual EEAW Conference, November 20, in Wenatchee, WA. Global Source Project Director, Jon Garfunkel, Antioch University project advisor, Jonathan Scherch, and Breidablik Elementary teacher, Gail Davis presented: “A Journey Towards Becoming a Sustainable School”, which focused on the origins of this pilot project and lessons learned during our first two phases of development and growth. For more information on the EEAW Annual Conference, visit: http://www.eeaw.org/.