Written by Gülay Erol, Merve Ünal, and Cansu Özpir. Global Schools Advocates from Turkey
Erenköy Işık Primary and Secondary School, under the umbrella of Feyziye Schools Foundation has been providing contemporary education to international standards since it was established. As emphasized in the foundation’s mission statement, the school enlightens the past, present, and future through education.
In line with the principles of Atatürk, our strong awareness of and sensitivity to the environment led us to be a part of the Global Schools Program, as its vital aim is to empower students to create a better world through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
How we started our journey
As an IB PYP School, we wanted to challenge our students through an inquiry-led, transdisciplinary framework to take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues and opportunities in real-life contexts. Since we believe in a collaborative approach, we combined the IB PYP and GSP under the same perspective. In addition, as an implementer of the Eco-Schools Program run by the Turkish Environmental Education Foundation, we aim to raise generations that show eco-friendly behavior, respect the balance of nature, and see themselves as a part of the same.
After our school was accepted as a member of the Global Schools Program, we completed our advocate training, and this incredible journey prompted us to take sustainable initiatives. We introduced this program at the beginning of the Academic Year 2022-2023 to the school community. Following the introduction, we dedicated ourselves to raising our students’ awareness for the future while empowering them to create a better world. This enabled us to integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our school curriculum. Each academic department started to work on its curriculum to implement the SDGs.
After the implementation, each department chose a representative teacher who was willing to be a department advocate working for the development of ESD. Department
advocates started to observe academic studies related to SDGs at each department level. They documented and reported on them monthly to the official advocates Gülay Erol, Merve Ünal, and Cansu Özpir. This process enabled us to gain sufficient evidence for learning and tracking our progress school-wide. We have also been using this invaluable data while completing our monthly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
In addition to this monthly follow-up, we created an action plan which aims to focus on each SDG on the basis that promotes experiences in arts, sports, and social activities, as well as academic studies. The action plan mainly includes club activities, fairs, school trips, drama performances, interviews, panel discussions, student projects, school campaigns, debates, and competitions. With these activities, we aim to integrate Sustainable Development Goals implicitly and explicitly to ensure knowledge transfer.
We are a school community that believes in collaboration. We know that when teachers work together, great things can happen—Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!
By working together, we share our knowledge and experiences that advance learning for improvement and positively affect student awareness. We will keep up the good work and continue enlightening the future through education to overcome the most significant challenges of the 21st century together.