Sustainability Institute for Educators

  SIE Summary  

SIE  history in photo

June 21-23, 2016: "Whole School Sustainability: A Framework for Organizational Change"

Join us for the 6th annual Sustainability Institute for Educators to discover how to integrate sustainability into all aspects of your organization. The Institute will feature a mix of special guest speakers, tools and resources, and hands-on workshops.

 Hosted at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, St. Louis, MO

$150 registration fee includes speaker fees, breakfast and lunch for all three days. Graduate credit is available!


Sustainability and What it Means for Educators

The assurance of a productive, safe, viable future is marked by the interconnectedness of the human and environmental systems. At this Institute we will not just build awareness…we will discuss the nuts and bolts of bringing about organizational change.

What is the Sustainability Institute?  Since 2011 the Sustainability Institute for Educators has helped prepare educators to understand the science, economics, and social implications of our world. This three-day Institute challenges participants to examine current issues in sustainability while considering how people and schools are connected to these issues.

How can we create sustainable educational institutions? Educators across the country are trying to answer this question. Some are approaching this pursuit by incorporating sustainable practices into their physical environment - composting and recycling, rainwater collection, green cleaning, and lights-out campaigns. Others are integrating sustainability into their educational programs and curriculum. Truly integrating effective sustainability into a school system requires more than implementing single programs and initiatives. Researchers at Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment have found that institutions successful in this endeavor have one major component in common: they are engaging sustainability from a whole-system perspective.

A whole-system approach requires individuals from across an organization to work together to integrate sustainability into an institution's long-term operational and educational practices. Organizational change (accepting a new vision for the organization, establishing new practices and policies, changing responsibilities and roles of members, etc.) is required, and can be challenging.

This three-day institute will guide participants through the Whole-School Sustainability Framework, a system framework that is organized into three components for creating the conditions necessary to journey toward whole-school sustainability: organizational culture, physical place, and educational program.  Stephanie Barr, co-author of the Whole-School Sustainability Framework, will keynote the institute.

Who Should Attend?  The Sustainability Institute for Educators is designed for educators from all roles and environments. With that, K-12 School Administrators, Curriculum and Facilities Directors, teachers and student leaders from public, independent, and informal learning environments should attend the Institute. While individuals are welcome to participate, we recommend recruiting a team or partner from your school.

What Will I Gain by Attending?  Each participant will leave with a better understanding of how to build awareness and
understanding around the issues, principles and science of sustainability; understand how to construct learning environments that connect to real-world problems; and discover how and when to take action and effect change in school communities.

In addition, this year each participant will leave with Green Classroom Professional certification. This certificate program developed by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council is designed to equip educators and other school stakeholders with the knowledge needed to make their classrooms and schools healthier, greener places to teach and learn. Upon earning the certificate, educators and other professionals will be able to identify features that support or impede environmentally healthy classrooms and foster an attitude among future generations to appreciate and model green practices.

 barr keynote

2016 Sustainability Institute Keynote Speaker:   Stephanie Barr, M.S., LEED AP BD+C
Research Associate & Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment

As a Research Associate and Projects Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment, Stephanie leads organizational sustainability projects for real estate investment trusts, school districts, municipalities, and corporations. Her expertise includes sustainable building design, integrative project planning, existing building operations analysis, and corporate sustainability reporting. She is a skilled communicator and public speaker, possessing a unique ability to translate technical information into visually engaging and informative media. Through her research at Colorado State University, she developed and published an organizational change framework specifically for schools called The Whole-School Sustainability Framework, which is now used nationally by the USGBC Center for Green Schools. Stephanie applies this research in organizational change management to sectors beyond the education, assisting organizations in operating in a transparent, accountable, and restorative manner.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand and face the challenges of community issues as part of the school culture
  • Recognize local resources that can support curriculum and changes for sustainability
  • Collaborate with others to empower young citizens
  • Create a community of advocates for sustainable schools and communities
  • Setting a foundation for whole school sustainability

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, June 21

The Big Picture of Whole School Sustainability

Overview of Whole School Sustainability Framework

  • Organizational Culture
  • Educational Programs
  • Physical Place
Green Schools Quest Presentations
Rainbow of Sustainability

Wednesday, June 22

Integrating Whole School Sustainability at Your Site

Green Schools Quest Presentations

Integrated Project Planning for Whole School Sustainability

Green Classroom Professional Certification Orientation

Resource Fair & Planning Time

Thursday, June 23

A Few Tools to Help You Along on Your Journey


  • Green Classroom Professional Certification 
  • Making your Case: The Art of Storytelling

Moving Forward & Next Steps
  • Sharing Resources: Other frameworks and tools
  • Discussion: Having the Difficult Conversations
  • A goal setting reality check

Event Information

Registration Information

The cost of the 3-day Institute is $150. This includes breakfasts and lunches.  For more information, contact

Graduate Credit

The Institute may be taken for 3 hours of graduate credit through Webster University for an additional $480. To register for credit, please contact

Event Location

The event will take place at MICDS, 101 N Warson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63124, 8am – 4pm.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE!! The organizers for the 2016 Sustainability Institute for P12 Educators are offering up to 15 scholarships to cover 2/3 of the entire registration fee (value of $100) for teachers and administrators, courtesy of Madison County Green Schools of Illinois and USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter.

For those seeking scholarships, please contact Kim Petzing before registration at

Preference for scholarships will be given but not limited to:

  • Schools with 75% free and reduced lunches
  • Schools/Districts sending multiple participants
  • Schools participating in the Green Schools Quest
  • Participant agreement to attend all three days of conference

If you plan to take the Institute for graduate credit contact to register.

The Sustainability Institute is hosted by:

  • Webster University, School of Education
  • EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Green Schools Council of Madison County, Illinois
  • US Green Building Council–Missouri Gateway Chapter
  • Saint Louis Zoo, Education Division
  • Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School

Madison County Planning and Development MICDS Missouri Botanical Garden Missouri Gateway St. Louis Zoo Logo Webster University