Being the Change with Bogaerts International School
Monday, 09 March 2020
Nestled into suburban woodland in Uccle, Bogaerts International School’s unassuming campus houses a learning community that is unlike many others.
Our small but mighty castle, boasting approximately 300 students, is the only I.B. (International Baccalaureate) continuum school in the Brussels area, offering a full primary and secondary programme (PYP, MYP, and DP). Our school exists with a single purpose: to guarantee an internationally-minded, forward-thinking, and truly unconventional educational experiences to students aged 3 to 18.
Our commitment to I.B. methodology is what sets us apart from many other, more traditionally organized learning institutions. Central to it is the idea of “student agency,” or student action. As Mohandas Gandhi once declared, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” No other educational philosophy demands this of its staff and students in the way that the I.B. does, and we are proud to put this at the core of our teaching and learning.
Now, B.I.S. is embarking upon a new initiative designed not only to mitigate the school’s environmental impact but also to involve our students in active planning and execution of a new environmental policy. This initiative is known around the world as “Eco-Schools.”
The Eco-School programme, followed by over 59,000 schools in 65 different nations, is “the largest global sustainable schools programme” in existence – “…it starts in the classroom and expands to the community by engaging the next generation in action-based learning.” (ecoschools.global, 2020) In order to earn the prestigious title of “Eco-School,” a learning institution must complete a rigorous and detailed programme of inquiry, planning, and implementation.
This process is externally assessed, and must be led predominantly by the students of a school. To this end, at B.I.S. we have formed our Eco-Schools council; this council is made up of students age 8 to 17, as well as staff representatives from across programmes and disciplines.
The council itself is responsible for “steering” the development of ecological objectives, as well as inspiring educators to incorporate enriching, contextual, and relevant learning experiences into the curriculum that align with those objectives. These experiences will include tasks, projects, excursions, and community outreach, and will contribute to the school meeting its ambitious sustainability targets.
The council is also responsible for interacting with Eco-School representatives, allowing students to see this process through – beginning, middle, and end. The B.I.S. Eco-School committee is already deep into the planning process, and has identified water usage and recycling policies as points of interest for improvement on the campus. The student leader of this committee is keen to explore these topics, and many more, as she spearheads the drafting of our very own “sustainability audit.”
This experience speaks directly to our vision – “…to develop students who can apply knowledge, skills, and principles to contribute to the global community.” Given the raw passion that young adults have in 2020 for the pursuit of a healthier world, we are so proud to be the first school in the Brussels area to help our students harness that passion and turn it into action through the Eco-School programme.
To learn more about the B.I.S. student-led community efforts, or more about the school in general, we invite interested parties to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org