Schools need communities...And communities need schools. This symbiotic relationship is one that we must recognize as we think about the health, well-being and success of our schools. Schools are often a reflection of the communities they serve; so if we have economic, social or environmental challenges in communities, they will most likely be present in schools as well.
How do we build upon community assets such as cultural and religious institutions, values and beliefs, a sense of place, and community pride?
How can we leverage school resources to help and give back to the community?
What connections can we foster between schools and communities that create mutual benefit?
How can the community become an extension of the school, and allow learning to happen in the places where children live, play, eat and sleep?
The Academy believe that cultural mindsets are the basis for determining what people do and how they do it. If we want school administrators, teachers, and students to act in a different manner, will we be successful if what we ask of them is at odds with their values? Generally speaking: no. Thus, if we want schools, communities and citizens to embrace sustainability, we must foster dialogue about what is important and why.
We believe that once schools have the opportunity to reflect on their values, they will find that many of them align with the principles of sustainability.
If we can help pivot cultural mindsets towards sustainability, the specific strategies to reducing environmental impact, providing healthier environments, and integrating environmental education across the curriculum are recognized as critical success of the school and its students.
Read about our SCHOOL SUSTAINABILITY CULTURE PROGRAM to find out more about how we work with schools to explore their culture and values.