Sustainable Systems College

Year Round Training  |  4 Ps of Professional Develoment  |  Annual Rhythm  |  Sustainability Coaches  |  Program Elements | College Credit

Year Round Professional Training 

Our year-round Ambassador training program is called "Sustainable Systems College" because we do college level work in preparing ourselves to analyze and report positive sustainability trends. Ambassadors develop skills in systems thinking, policy analysis, performance assessment, project management and public speaking so that we are as professional as possible in working with our community to solve problems.

The Four P Syllabus of Professional Development

We train ourselves in Policy Analysis because it is important to understand the framework for sustainability decision making in our local government, school districts, communities, and businesses.


We train ourselves in Performance Assessment because it is critical to know if our school district, community or local government is making progress towards the sustainability policies they have adopted. And we need to assess our own projects against these larger policy and performance frameworks.  


We train ourselves in Project Management because, as we assess the larger policy and performance frameworks, we can see where the gaps are and then develop projects to drive collective impact. We develop professional work plans, build teams, and practice facilitation skills to set goals, manage time and resources effectively, and measure progress.


We train ourselves in Public Speaking because once we understand the policy frameworks and performance measures, and develop projects to fill in the gaps, we need to communicate our results to people who need to know…. including our peers, parents, teachers, community stakeholders and local policymakers.


The reason we are called “Ambassadors” is because we work as professional diplomats with a portfolio to connect ideas and people, from school green teams to student government, from school districts to local government, from local nonprofits and civic groups to business associations, from our generation to older generations, from the present to the future.


Annual Rhythm  Download infographic of Annual Rhythm


Sustainable Systems College meets for three sets of week-long training sessions in June, July and August and once a month during the academic year to share progress on our work plans and continue building our professional skills. 


Just before school starts each year we facilitate the 2050 Workout, engaging 100 student leaders in a sustainable systems thought experiment to forecast what it would take to achieve 100% sustainability in our own communities by the year 2050, backcast, then develop action plans for the new school year. 


Each fall we facilitate Student-to-Student Sustainability Kick-Off events in each district to coach our peers on leadership strategies for green school projects, data collection and community reporting. 


During April, student Ambassadors lead school-wide Earth Month Assemblies to update our peers and faculty on data-driven, positive trends in sustainable community conditions, including reports on current developments within our schools, school district, city and county government, and at the regional and global scales.  .

 

In the late spring of each year we co-convene a series of Community Sustainability Summits to report progress and design a collective impact strategy across generations, sectors and jurisdictions.  


Coming full circle in the summer, Ambassadors deliver our Annual Collective Impact Report to policymakers and community stakeholders.

Annual Rhythm

Sustainable Systems College meets for three sets of week-long training sessions, June, July and August and once a month during the academic year to share progress on our work plans and continue building our professional skills. 


Just before school starts each year we facilitate the 2050 Workout engaging 100 student leaders in a systems thinking experiment to forecast what it would take to achieve 100% sustainability in our own communities by the year 2050 and then backcast to develop action plans for the new school year. 


Each fall we facilitate Student-to-Student Sustainability Kick-Off events in each district to coach our peers on leadership strategies for green school projects, data collection and community reporting. 


During April, student Ambassadors lead school-wide Earth Month Assemblies to update our peers and faculty on data-driven, positive trends in sustainable community conditions, including reports on current developments within our schools, school district, city and county government, and at the regional and global scales.  .

In the late spring of each year we co-convene a series of Community Sustainability Summits to report progress and design a collective impact strategy across generations, sectors and jurisdictions.  


Coming full circle in the summer, Ambassadors deliver our Annual Collective Impact Report to policymakers and community stakeholders. 

Sustainability Coaches

Our Sustainability Coaches support us in establishing sustainability profiles, tracking trends and communicating results in a continuous exchange of learning across generations, jurisdictions and community sectors. Through the modeling and advice of our Coaches, Ambassadors develop a deep understanding of current policy frameworks and performance measures for tracking and reporting improvements in sustainable community conditions.

Integrated Program Elements

Project Management: Sustainability Ambassadors develop professional work plans to help middle school and high school students gain real-world skills in project management including goal setting, role definition, timelines and performance measures. 


Problem Design Lab: Teachers and student leaders work together to integrate real-world curriculum materials into existing or new units of instruction. Using primary source material such as local sustainability indicators, city comprehensive plans, annual reports, policy frameworks and visionary initiatives, ensures that learning about real work, doing real work, and measuring impact become the foundation for 21st Century learning.


Community Sustainability Summits: Sustainability Ambassadors convene leaders from school, city, business and non-profit stakeholders to annually compare assessment data across sectors and develop Collective Impact Projects based on three criteria:


  1. Easy to accomplish in 12 months
  2. Engages the greatest number of diversity of people.
  3. Generates the biggest measurable impact on one or more STAR objectives.


Sustainability Updates: Through project design and data tracking, Ambassadors are able to update positive trends and communicate results in a continuous exchange of learning across generations, jurisdictions and community sectors. Sustainability Ambassadors use multiple communication tools to update local decision makers and key stakeholder groups on what’s working, who’s leading, and how collective impact can be enhanced. Communication strategies include social media campaigns, case study publication via professional networks, blog posts, classroom seminars, community presentations, conference keynotes and video production. 

College Credit

Juniors and seniors can receive 3-5 college credits as part of Bellevue College’s Academic Internship Program. This is a great way to strengthen your college application materials and start building a strong college GPA while you’re still in high school. Learn more on our Internship Page.