School-community collaboration for sustainable development: tools and publications

CoDeS is a Comenius Multilateral Network funded by the Lifelong Learning Program from EU, with a focus on school community collaboration addressing sustainability issues. The activities of the network aim at providing a European perspective on the processes of learning, models, values and tools for successful collaboration. Based on partners’ wide range of experience and background in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), the network has produced, published and disseminated a range of products useful for school and community stakeholders to engage into successful practice:

Travelling Guide for school-community collaborations for sustainable development
CoDeS_Travelling GuideThe publication ‘Travelling guide’ is meant to instigate new collaborations and encourage those already on the way. It will inspire readers to reflect on some aspects of the learning journey schools and communities take when engaging in a collaboration for sustainable development. The book is organised around basic questions: what, who, why, how, when, where. These chapters each include a ‘Theory Box’, highlighting one specific point from research that could probably enhance collaboration practice. ‘Benefits and Challenges’ elaborate on practical details to consider, illustrated by an ‘Exemplar case’, which presents experience from collaborations within CoDeS multilateral network. All contributions have been provided by CoDeS partners, illustrating the important link between taking action and reflective, critical thinking.

Toolbox for school and community collaboration
CoDeS_ToolboxThe Toolbox includes a compilation of methods and techniques providing inspiration and motivation for school-community collaboration. All tools are based on practical experience out of the work from CoDeS partners. You will find activities suitable to formal or informal education, involving pupils, students and parent’s organisations, local committees and groups of neighbours, stakeholders from the public and private sector, NGOs, Centres for Research and others. The aim of the toolbox is to make school-community collaboration accessible and feasible in order to achieve common objective of sustainable development sharing responsibilities, respecting diversity and relating horizontally.

Digital Handbook for local authorities
CoDeS_Digital HandbookThe CoDeS Digital Handbook for local authorities aims to contribute towards a deeper understanding on how to improve the transition towards sustainable local communities through effective schoolcommunity collaborations. Municipalities can make a valuable contribution and positive difference based on their core competence – which is to govern and steer the future development of their community. The Handbook provides guidance and impulses for interested local and regional authorities regarding their unique role(s) as policy-makers and decision-takers. Moreover, it gives illustrative examples of ‘real life’ activities based on the rich experience of CoDeS partners and other sources.

Key Stones on school-community collaboration for sustainable development
CoDeS_key stonesThe “CoDeS Key Stones” provides a tool for reflection on the quality of school community collaboration for sustainability ready to be used by schools and communities that want either to initiate or to improve their collaboration. The publication is the result of CoDeS partners’ first hand work on collecting successful cases worldwide. You will find eight quality dimensions in the “CoDeS Key Stones” such as participation, communication, action, learning, vision, mandate, resources and research. For each key stone a conceptual statement, questions to promote reflection, references, and concrete examples are provided so that potential users can engage into reflection by bridging their own experiences with CoDeS.

Case Book – Survey on collected cases
CoDeS_Case BookThe publication constitutes a report on the process of building a collection of cases on successful school community collaboration for sustainable development based on first hand direct experience of CoDeS partners. The ongoing collection of cases in blog format can be found in: The report is organized in three parts: (a) CoDeS Methodological Case Study Approach; (b) CoDeS Case Survey; and (c) Collection of CoDeS Case Studies on school community collaboration for sustainable development. The work included in the “CoDeS Case Book” and the blog has been used as a background information for other CoDeS products along the development of the network.

Profiles of isolated communities and ways into integration
CoDeS_Isolated CommunitiesThe report includes the theoretical framework, results and discussion of a study on school-community collaboration in European remote and isolated communities. Main characteristics, type of linkages, outcomes as well as constraining and facilitating factors of several projects were investigated with regard to insular and mountainous communities. A questionnaire consisted of open-ended and closed questions and interviews were the research tools. Findings reveal that although there are some cases that essentially contribute to local sustainable development, most of them are in a very early stage of maturity. Developing partnerships is situational while the progress of some cases depends entirely on charismatic persons. It is obvious that teachers working in such communities need methodological support to plan and implement effective collaborations. The role of ICT is very crucial to support the development of a community of practice among practitioners and experts.

CoDeS Interactive Website for school-community collaboration
CoDes interactive website is a technology-based tool for schoolcommunity collaboration in education for sustainable development. The site includes five activities; Extreme weather, Check the schools energy use, Tree phenology, CO2 on the way to school and Climate change in the classroom. Each activity includes guidelines for teachers and students on how they can investigate, discuss, and communicate their results within the given topic. During the activities students come in contact with potential partners (government departments at local authority or county level, NGOs, external experts etc.) to discuss relevant issues, gather information and work out possible collaborative tasks. The results of students’ work are entered into a database at the website and shared with others schools and researchers from all over. All activities have guidelines in English and Norwegian, in addition also several other languages depending on the activity.

All publications are available at CoDeS secretariat and for free download at

Your questions and feedback are very welcome!


The CoDeS project has been funded with support from the European Commission. These publications reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


3 responses to “School-community collaboration for sustainable development: tools and publications

  1. Pingback: Designing a Sustainable Future through School Community Collaboration | sustainable higher education·

  2. Pingback: New book on research and innovation in education for sustainable development | sustainable higher education·

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