on Feb 16, 2016
Today Sustainable Jersey announced that 400 schools have registered for the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. At the school district level, 155 districts have also passed a resolution to participate in the program. Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a certification program for New Jersey public schools that want to go green, conserve resources and take steps to create a brighter future, one school at a time. Review the list of the 400 schools participating.
Donna Drewes, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Randall Solomon, said, “I’m impressed with the New Jersey school boards, principals, staff, teachers, students and parents who have stepped up to make their schools more sustainable. In the first year of the program, Sustainable Jersey for Schools certified 59 schools. In 2016, we have already received 93 certification applications from schools in the first of three submission cycles for 2016. The program is really resonating with the schools.” Participating schools can choose from 87 actions, such as performing energy audits, integrating sustainability into student learning, and boosting recycling efforts, to earn points for certification.
In 2015, Egg Harbor Township School District supported all of the schools in its district as they successfully achieved certification. Superintendent Dr. Scott McCartney said, “I am very proud of our school family for their hard work to create environmentally sound and sustainable practices in all aspects of our operation. The fact that all of our schools were recognized is a testament to the dedication we have to this cause. Our sustainable practices not only save money for our taxpayers but they educate our students to be good stewards of the environment and conserve valuable resources. We are very appreciative of the recognition and for the work Sustainable Jersey is doing across New Jersey with schools and communities.”
To support the efforts of these pioneering schools, Sustainable Jersey for Schools provides grants and technical support. To date, the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grant Program has committed over a half-million dollars in small grants for school and school district projects. The funded projects are inspiring; for example, energy teams will be created in all Atlantic City Public Schools to educate students on environmental issues, energy literacy will be incorporated into the K-12 curricula for Princeton Public Schools, West Cape May Elementary School will create a winter greenhouse space to serve as an outdoor classroom and Egg Harbor Township School District is creating a No-Foam Cafeteria Zone Project.
Program partners include: New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA), New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA), New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO), New Jersey Parent Teacher Association (NJPTA), New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), New Jersey School Buildings and Grounds Association (NJSBGA) and The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ.) These partners were an integral part of a comprehensive coalition of educational organizations and academic, business and state agency partners that helped develop and vet the certification program actions.