Stouffville District Secondary School

In June 2006 Stouffville District Secondary School (SDSS) began the journey to reinvent itself through the Lighthouse School Project. This school is located at the rural/urban fringe with significant environmental pressures created by urban sprawl. The transformation taking place at SDSS uses sustainability as an integrating context for teaching, learning, decision-making, civic engagement, community partnerships and operational practices, to foster the creation of responsible citizenship. This mulit-year project is a partnership between Learning for a Sustainable Future and York Region District School Board and supports the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Sustainability Initiatives at SDSS:


  • Vermicomposting of lunch and snack waste
  • Fair trade coffee sold in the cafeteria
  • Biodegradable plates and cups supplied by the cafeteria
  • Reduction of paper use through electronic submission of assignments and re-use of single-sided paper
  • Pursuit of EcoSchools certification

School Culture

  • Inaugural Sustainability Achievement Award at awards ceremony
  • Sustainability project launched by LEAD program students
  • Creation of quilted banner displaying students’ answers to the question “Why bother?” to respect all people, animals and plants, near and far, now and in the future
  • Presentations by students at EcoLeague forums on sustainability at SDSS
  • Cultural diversity appreciation programs
  • School blog to facilitate communication and connect with community


  • Resources for Rethinking database training for teachers
  • Sustainability units integrated into diverse subject areas, including:
    • Science: Life-cycle analysis of electronic products
    • Geography: Independent study unit focused on taking action
    • Hospitality: School Bistro focus on “slow food” movement, waste reduction through reusable containers for take-home meals, and healthier vegetarian options
    • Civics: Active citizenship

Physical Surroundings

  • Electricity reduction campaign using the newly installed energy monitor
  • Outdoor classroom plans
  • Design for inspiring and peaceful seating area for main hallway drafted by University of Toronto engineering students with input from SDSS students

Latest Resource

Connecting the dots

Key Strategies that Transform Learning
From Environmental Education to Citizenship and Sustainability

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