on Oct 24, 2016
Today, Sustainable Jersey for Schools announced the recipients of the 2016 Sustainability Champion award, the Green Team Collaboration award and the Sustainability Makes $ense award. This year, three schools in Atlantic County received the Sustainability Champion Award: Reeds Road Elementary School, Alder Avenue Middle School and Egg Harbor Township High School. Long Branch Public School District in Monmouth County and the South Orange and Maplewood Public School District in Essex County also received special awards. Representatives from these schools and districts will accept their awards tomorrow night at a reception during the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) Workshop 2016 on October 25, 2015 in Atlantic City.
2016 SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION AWARD RECIPIENTS
The Sustainability Champion award recognizes schools that have made significant progress toward sustainability and have been certified with the most Sustainable Jersey for Schools points in one of three categories: elementary, middle or high school. These schools far exceeded the minimum requirement of 150 points for bronze-level certification.
“Nothing in life is difficult, things only take time. And most people have a tendency to equate putting in time with something being difficult. At Reeds Road School this was our approach to earning the silver-level certification. Yes, it took time but everyone worked as a team to produce this wonderful sustainable program. The K-6 students were so excited to place their compost in the bins at lunch and record which composting bin was working the best. The knowledge that the students gained through this initiative will be long lasting and will certainly carry over as the years unfold at our school. We were truly fortunate to have had this opportunity to make our world a little bit greener.” – Principal Dr. William Zipparo, Reeds Road Elementary School
“I think I can speak for everyone at Alder Avenue Middle School when I say we are extremely proud, honored and humbled to be named among the state's leaders in sustainability. But the real champions and movers and shakers are our students. Without them and their passion and commitment to the environment, none of this would be possible. I also have excellent staff who help the students transform their vision and passion into service projects that make a genuine difference in the community. I'm lucky to have staff members who are willing to come in early, stay after hours and work through their lunch periods to make sure that every student is engaged and succeeding -- regardless of their learning level. All of our sustainability efforts involve project-based learning that is first introduced in the classroom and then put into action by the students. Students identify a need in the district or the community and then under the guidance of their teachers, design a plan of action to address that need. The students set timelines and goals, measure their outcomes, adjust their plans based on those outcomes, and work together as a team to accomplish those goals. It's a win-win-win-win for the students, the environment, the community, and the school.” – Principal Joseph Marinelli, Alder Avenue Middle School
“Winning this award for the second year in a row shows our school’s commitment to sustainability at a high level. It takes continual efforts by every student and staff member and the knowledge that we are supported from our district administration and Board of Education.” – Principal Dr. Terry Charlton, Egg Harbor Twp. High School
2016 SPECIAL AWARD RECIPIENTS
In 2016, the second year of the program, two new awards were added. The Green Team Collaboration Award recognizes municipal and school green teams working together to advance sustainability in their schools and communities. The Sustainability Makes $ense Award recognizes the district that has demonstrated exemplary progress in sustainability which results in cost savings to the school district.
“On behalf of the entire school community, we are extremely proud to receive the Sustainable Jersey Collaboration Award. All of the schools in the district participated in the district-wide green team and the resulting increase in sustainability programs and projects was evident. Participants trace this success to collaboration. The schools worked together to complete the required sustainability actions and shared resources. Collaboration with the municipal Maplewood Green Team played an important role in developing the school district green team.” – South Orange Maplewood School District Superintendent Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.
“Long Branch Public School District is honored to receive the Sustainability Makes $ense Award. This initiative is imperative as we must exhaust our efforts and thoughts to develop sustainable systems so that we do not compromise our future.” –Michael Salvatore, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools, Long Branch Public Schools
To date, 520 of New Jersey’s schools have demonstrated their leadership and commitment to sustainability by registering with the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. “The Sustainable Jersey for Schools awards recognize the outstanding work being done at the local level,” said Donna Drewes, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Randall Solomon. “We’re impressed by the sustainability programs and initiatives of these schools and districts. They deserve to be commended for their accomplishments and we’re looking forward to sharing their work at the awards reception.”