School 21

School 21 is a project geared to improve senior secondary education programs through the development of a cross-subject learning method that helps students understand the contribution of the various subjects to the analysis and solution of problems, with focus on environmental issues. Due to their complexity, environmental issues easily lend themselves to be taken as a ‘paradigm’ in which the different fields of knowledge converge and directly engage students to find shared solutions to the problems at hand.

School 21 is a project that falls within the Action Plan titled "Promote education for the development of the individual within the community"  whose goal is to change the attitude of younger generations toward key subjects, increase their knowledge and skills and translate all this into behaviors.  

The initial project spanned a number of years and was organized into different successive steps, i.e.:
- planning of cross-subject learning paths by teachers and experts, including the preparation of learning material  (school year 2008-2009)
- pilot implementation and assessment of learning paths in the schools of the teachers (school year 2009-2010)
-  preparation of tested and fine-tuned educational materials  (School 21 educational kit)
- project roll out across the region.

Science and humanities teachers from 20 high schools in the provinces of Milan, Pavia and Sondrio, developed programs focused on:

- biodiversity ("A bio-diverse world")

- local environment ("Environmental quality in local communities")

- energy ("Energ-ethically aware")

- climate change ("Climate is changing, we are changing").

The project teams adopted a participatory planning approach involving experts and former students in addition to the teachers. Starting from a review of the senior secondary school curriculum, the project teams defined a cross-subject learning method for the development of environmental projects at school. The results of their work were gathered and edited into four  "School 21 Handbooks".

The pilot projects carried out in the various schools were monitored to assess their achievements in terms of development of "good citizenship" skills by students and the actions taken under the projects.

Steps 3 and 4  of the School 21 Projects:

Step 3 (school year 2010-11) entailed:

- final review of the materials tested in schools during step 2, production of the School 21 educational material kit and its publication on the Foundation’s website at www.fondazionecariplo.it/Scuola21
- pilot testing of the climate change program (Climate is changing, we are changing) in four schools
- consideration of the potential involvement of other school grades in the project.

Step 4 (in 2011) entailed:

  • preparation and launch of the School 21 call for proposals as well as subsequent assessment of proposals received;
  • beginning of a new School 21 initiative.


The activities in the schools and the programs are coordinated by a Scientific Committee made up of experts in environmental matters, cross-subject learning, education & training, representatives of Lombardy’s Regional Education Department and Fondazione Cariplo.


For information:

Andrea Trisoglio
School 21 Project
Tel +39 02 6239266 Fax +39 02 6239235
e-mail: andreatrisoglio@fondazionecariplo.it