Session 2 of School Community Sustainability Transformation (SCST) at UNIS Hanoi

Hi from Bangkok and Jakarta! We are writing to give you an exciting update about the latest development from the Leadership/School Empowerment section of Compass Ed. 

Since we last wrote, UNIS Hanoi has now completed the second session of our Compass Education: School Community Sustainability Transformation (SCST). Scott and Teresa got to work with the team again from March 3-4 to delve into systems, innovations, and strategies and reach the capstone of the Pyramid process!

Based on the vision they developed in October, the UNIS sustainability team spent the last few months gathering evidence of “What is happening?” in the community with respect to their adapted School Community Sustainability Framework. During our work together in session 2, the team:

  • Synthesized their evidence into ‘node cards’ that provided the raw material for their systems mapping process
  • Engaged in some of our favorite systems thinking experiences – drawing toast and systems diagramming a Dr. Seuss story – to develop systems mapping skills
  • Applied the systems mapping skills to generate four systems maps of sustainability at UNIS; a smaller team is now working on using Kumu to create a shared digital version of their school systems map
  • Identified four key leverage points for transformation, and developed innovations at each:
Leverage PointInnovation(s)
Communication networksPhoto series, assembly, building static content for UNIS Hanoi landing page
Professional development / trainingUpdating recruitment questions to include sustainabilityCreating resources for teaching sustainability and systems thinkingT.I.A.iBlock sustainability integrationSTEAMfest booth
ServiceBuilding on a strength of an already strong service learning program, creating a service hub for all stakeholders – students, staff, parents, teachers – to engage in meaningful service.
Data and policiesComprehensive Data Tracking Comprehensive Policies for Sustainability 
  • Considered the Gilman’s Equation to think of strategies for diffusing the innovations
  • Used the GIlman’s Equation, Amoeba, and Iceberg to develop their action plans!

WHEW! It was a jam packed, super invigorating, and awesome process to be part of. We will stay in touch with the learning community as they move into implementation, and hope that we will have more to share in the coming months and years about their sustainability transformation.

Thanks for your interest and support, and we are thrilled to have had UNIS Hanoi be our pilot school. We are also engaged in the same process with Green Shoots International School in Hoi An, Vietnam. We hope to engage more schools in the coming years (and their city names don’t have to all be anagrams of each other …)

In the meantime, we are really desperately trying to create a snappier, catchier, more innovative name for the process than “School Community Sustainability Transformation (SCST)” as neither of us can ever quite get out all the words without stumbling over them. So, any suggestions are more than welcome!

We’ll keep you all updated, CE crew!

Teresa & Scott

Compass PD: In-Service Learning for All Teaching Staff and Librarian

Whole-School Professional Development: Introducing Systems Thinking

All Staff Training: Introduction to Sustainability and Systems Thinking

Pioneering Compass Education’s School Community Sustainability Transformation (SCST) at UNIS Hanoi

Grade 5 Social Studies (Global Issues) Lesson Plan, Service Learning Project and Whole-school PD with Sustainability Compass Tools

7 Elements to Building a Sustainability & Service Learning “Ethos” at International Schools

School is not a Building: Sharing Economies and the Low-carbon School of the Future

Level 1 Workshop at Dalian American International School, February 2016

Prem Tinsulanonda International School (PTIS) Using the Compass to Support Strategic Planning

Prem Tinusulanonda International School (PTIS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has sustainability at the core of its vision: ‘We are a caring international community living and learning together for a sustainable future.’ Prem is proud to be the first Compass School and aims to prepare students for a future of increasing cross-cultural independence, rapid technological change and critical environmental challenges. Global issues, the importance of international cooperation to address them, and knowledge of sustainability concepts are imparted through all disciplines.

Use of the Compass tool extends beyond the curriculum; the PTIS Executive Team recently used it when creating a new five-year strategic plan named ‘FuturePrem.’ This process included asking various members of the school community “What will Prem of the future be like?” It was decided Prem will be:

  • a school where Learning and the learner are central
  • a school committed to expanding Leadership
  • a school at the heart of a learning Community where sustainability matters
  • an amplified school that embraces Technology
  • a school that embraces Creativity
  • a school that is Connecting to local, regional and global networks

Each of these themes was then examined through the lenses of N = Nature (the natural systems on which all life depends), S = Society (the social and cultural systems that provide cohesion, identity, security and freedom), E = Economy (the economic systems that provide humanity with goods, services, and meaningful work), and W = Well-being (the health, happiness, and quality of life for individual people and their families), which encouraged the exploration of different viewpoints and interconnectedness.

Goals were then created and organized in a matrix organized by themes and Compass Points. For example, here is an overview of the goals for the theme ‘Learning’:


  • We take full advantage of the unique natural environment and outdoor learning spaces
  • We have systems in place to support the sustainable growth of facilities and resources for the learning programs
  • We have a flexible and expanding range of learning opportunities, accessible via a variety of media and locations, to meet students’ learning needs and to prepare them for continued learning in an increasingly complex society
  • Students make their learning visible to enrich their learning experience and to contribute to the learning of others
  • Students are principled and take their responsibility to themselves and society seriously, mindful of their actions and the possible consequences
  • Mindfulness is integrated into learning activities

Outcomes were then developed for each of the goals, again using the Compass Points as lenses for exploring multiple viewpoints. The Sustainability Compass was useful as a tool for setting direction towards living and learning more sustainably and it helped PTIS look at its community from different viewpoints in order to learn, make decisions and take action in sustainable ways.

Submitted by: Karrie Dietz, 2013, while serving as Junior School Principal, Prem Tinsulanonda International School (PTIS), Chiang Mai, Thailand.